“This is now the design age.” James Noble, co-founder of award-winning UX agency Carter Digital, summed up the state of the creative community in one bold statement at Adobe’s MAKE IT event last week in Sydney.
Industry leaders all said that today’s creatives have the power to change the way we live, work, and communicate with each other. Noble said technology shouldn't be shocking to us anymore – it’s become an expectation. What’s new and exciting are the experiences we can now create and the empathy we can bring to our work. “It’s time to take technology out of the equation,” he said.
Over 2,000 UX designers, illustrators, photographers and more swarmed on the Sydney International Convention Centre last week for an update on the latest campaigns, tools and conversations affecting their industry – and what’s coming next.
Adobe tasked agencies Never Sit Still and Luxx to create a unique motion graphic to introduce each speaker. To the sound of thumping bass and swarming colour, the audience was taken on a journey through warped geometric shapes and designs, and that’s when the real show began. Check it out in the video below.
Some of the key takeaways from the day: Pro-bono work, or ‘passion projects’ as they are otherwise known, require commitment and resources, yet many speakers acknowledged them as a clear source of inspiration. As creative director of Buck, Gareth O’Brien has made a career out of evocative design that elicits emotion from his audience.
Recent passion projects with Woolmark and Ted X have experimented with 3D textures, different editing styles, new hires, mistakes and hard lessons – just a few of the creative bonuses Gareth values in volunteer work.
“Passion projects often win awards and get your work out there,” he said. “Do the work that you want to be asked to do.”
Sprinkled throughout the day were, of course, Adobe specialists to take the crowd through the magic of Adobe Creative Cloud.
Jon Barrie, Adobe’s strategic development manager for Pro Video ANZ, went step-by-step through new updates to the video tools features, including streamlined sharing and collaboration processes that can save videographers precious time.
Adobe principle evangelist Julieanne Kost took us through Photoshop’s new image-categorising features and Lightroom’s improved de-ghosting functionalities – designed to enhance clarity for photographers and their images.
Today’s creative tools have enabled us to bring thought-provoking ideas and images to life, and no one understands this more than photographer Nicola Tung. In 2011, she travelled to North Africa with her camera (and without a brief) to explore the conflict zones and capture stories of “the people left behind”.
Risking bullets to document the heartache of war, Nicola returned with images so powerful they’ve gained her international praise, sparked conversations and changed opinions.
So what was her message to a crowd far removed from war zones? That for designers, photographers and illustrators, images are a vital reflection of our culture and people, so don't forget the influence you have and your role in this world.
Harnessing this powerful advice, Adobe showcased the three winners of Project 1324, an Adobe initiative that challenged young designers to create a poster illustrating how climate change is affecting their world.
Kitiya Palaskas reminded us why hands-on experiences that engage the senses still hold an important place in a digital world. Kitiya is a crafts-based designer that specialises in ‘old school’ mediums – paper, scissors, pastels, colours and textures. Having made a career out of creating authentic handmade crafts, Kitiya shared her experiences on how to nurture your creativity and avoid burnout.
Building on crafting ‘real’ experiences, Adobe’s Zorana Gee discussed recent upgrades to 3D creation tool Project Felix. Zorana scrolled through Project Felix’s new options powered by Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence tool, to predict your next move.
Timothy Goodman then shared some hilarious and poetic life lessons. He is known for his unique ‘Sharpie’ design style which has seen him work for the likes of Target and Ford. Timothy is also one half of the viral romance experiment 40 Days of Dating, a couple that used digital storytelling to broadcast their ‘experiment’ to 300,000 daily visitors craving to find out what happened next. Timothy has a knack for working humanity into his art and compelled the audience to do the same. “The greatest joy you can have as a designer is connecting with someone else through your work, he said.”
Finishing off the day was creative icon James Noble. Known for the award-winning campaigns produced by his creative agency Carter Digital, James urged the creative community to recognise the impact that our designs and ideas can have on individual opinions, the environment, and humanity – and that this power should be harnessed for good.
“We will have a big impact on what people will find important, so we’ve got to think things through. We have a great responsibility.”
Adobe is proud to once again gather the creative industry of Asia-Pacific and continue the conversations evolving around design. As Noble said, designers can and will change history, and we’re excited to be empowering creatives along the way.