Key Takeaways From Adobe MAX 2020

Bailey ZelenaBlog

Every year, Adobe – a software company many creative teams use for everything from design to illustration to photo editing – produces Adobe MAX, ordinarily an in-person conference highlighting new products, software releases, tutorials and inspirational talks. 

This year, creatives from all over the world tuned in for a free, virtual conference to draw inspiration and learn from the best in the business.

Our team’s key takeaways from this year’s event:

1. Virtual collaboration among creative teams is more important than ever.

Creative people draw inspiration from being around each other. Whether in internal teams or with our clients, we are always collaborating. During this year, we’ve had to adapt to remote collaboration to keep things moving smoothly.

2. Walking boosts creativity.

Stefan Sagmeister, a New York-based graphic designer, led a session on how to generate ideas. He referenced a study by Stanford in which those who walked regularly generated up to three times more ideas than those who didn’t.

I guess my colleague Alex Perez is onto something with his daily “jaunts” around the neighborhood.

3. Build a diverse team with diverse perspectives.

Diversity is very important in building a successful team. In order to create compelling concepts, you need a variety of perspectives to question norms and develop new ideas.

4. Design with intention.

Design has a purpose, whether it is to inform, inspire or change. Stay true to the purpose, make the idea clear to understand, and be intentional. These make what you design stronger and more powerful.

5. Challenge yourself to find new creative approaches.

“Work with constraints rather than against them.”: wise words we heard from Woodkid, a French singer-songwriter and music video director.

See his creativity come to life in one of his recent music videos. 

6. Humility is the key to success.

A recurring theme throughout the Adobe MAX conference was humility. Stay humble in your craft and keep yourself mentally set on the idea that you can always improve and learn.

7. The magic of creativity is fueled by happy accidents.

Sometimes our accidents lead to the best ideas. As creatives, we put a lot of thought into our concepts and pieces. But when we let our minds wander and drop expectations, we often come up with our most innovative ideas. As Paula Scher said during her talk, innovation is rooted in mistakes.

8. Chance favors the prepared mind.

Shepard Fairey told us: “The more you prepare yourself mentally, the more possibilities open up in front of you.”

9. Question, challenge and find the possibility to destroy common fixed ideas.

And finally, Ai Weiwei, a Chinese contemporary artist, taught us how life is so much bigger than we can imagine. He said that it is not often that you have the same opportunity more than once, so take it full force and run with it. The only way to find out if something will work creatively is to try it. 

Thanks, Adobe MAX. We’re running with it.