At Rhythm, we’re big believers in broadening professional horizons. That’s why we strongly encourage our staff to participate in industry conferences and events. This not only provides them with a well-deserved break from daily work routines, it exposes all of us to exciting new ideas and concepts that get shared throughout our office – and with our clients as well (case in point, through blog posts like this). That said, Rae Hamilton, Art Director Extraordinaire (not her actual title but perhaps it should be?), recently attended the AdobeMAX Conference, an annual event for creatives of all stripes. So we asked her a few questions about the experience.
What is the AdobeMAX Conference?
AdobeMAX is one of the biggest industry conferences for creatives – from designers, to developers, photographers, animators and videographers. It’s hosted by Adobe, which makes most of the industry standard creative software that professionals use. The conference lasts 3 days and had about 7,000 attendees this year from all over the world. Sounds awesome!
What’s a typical day like at the event?
It is awesome! Monday and Tuesday begin with a keynote and talks by some big names, from movie directors to authors that have found real success through their various creative outlets. They reveal new software and feature updates, talk about the future of the industry and creative possibilities, and get everyone super pumped on working in an impactful, exciting space. Following the keynotes that all attend, everyone breaks out into sessions and labs. The sessions are talks on a huge variety of topics. The labs are hands-on to teach you a new skill. And, Tuesday night there’s the MAXBash, which is the party of your dreams. They year they had two bands, Cage the Elephant and Fitz and the Tantrums, a banquet of international food, a huge wall covered in donuts, tons of colorful Willy-Wonka style desserts, food trucks, and an open bar, which of course everyone used in moderation. :) No fair!
How did you get so lucky?
Just lucky I guess! No, I just petitioned to attend AdobeMAX (for my second year in a row!). And Rhythm’s leadership has always been very supportive because they know the education and inspiration is invaluable. You leave the event feeling refreshed and motivated. The variety of attendees, from inexperienced to famous, some creative and some tech nerds, makes for awesome networking. Coming back to share everything you learned with the team is just as exciting. My recap with the design team got everyone pumped up. I shared upcoming workflow improvements that we can’t wait to implement, prospective visual communication opportunities that will take our clients’ campaigns to the next level, and stories about designers like us, who can sometimes feel stuck creatively but found ways to explore new ideas and concepts, and refresh their work.
What were this year’s hot topics?
Adobe is just a phenomenal company. There is SO much going on in the background, and I truly believe they make their software to infinitely expand the possibilities of production from this industry. I can’t even describe how cutting edge some of their ideas are. It’s interesting because they try to make our work easier by creating shortcuts and automating processes.
Some younger designers even fear that this is going to “put us out of a job.” But more experienced designers, like our team, know that there’s so much more than the knowhow to automate a process. Nothing can replace human ability when it comes to creativity and having a thorough understanding of UX, color theory, typography, and other design principles that we’ve spent years refining. These tools are going to make some painstaking work a little simpler, and perfectly complement the work we do. Very cool.
So what amazing new things did you learn?
One session I took was about the evolution of visual communication. Things that worked even two years ago are no longer going to work today. Here are some telling stats from my notes:
- Businesses that use infographics increase traffic year over year by 12%
- Visuals get to the brain 60k times faster than text and increase comprehension by 89%
- 77% of people avoid reading anything greater than 593 words
So it sounds like our copywriter is out of a job? Ha. No! But that being said, they brought out a very interesting point – that humans do not think in text, yet everyone is still trying to communicate in text. For instance, if I say the word “Dog” you might be picturing your own pet, or a silhouette of a dog. But no one actually thinks of the letters D-O-G. That concept needs to be acted on.
Many of our clients come to us with a vision for what their business needs to sell their product or service. But as an interactive agency, we are equipped to sway them in a better way. To redirect their efforts and maximize their ROI. So I’m looking forward to impressing this upon our accounts team and encouraging us all to think on a grander scale about how we can help our clients. How so? By choosing from a wider variety of media, including any or all of the following: eBooks, Apps, Data Visualization, Motion Graphics, Interactive Content, Microsites, and Social Content. These are the leading avenues that consumers are being effectively reached with today. Of course, we’re already targeting many of these for our clients, but it’s important to always be on the lookout for the next digital frontiers. That’s a great point. Anything else?
Another great session was about a new-ish methodology called Atomic Design. It draws parallels from the breakdown of atoms and molecules to elements of web design, and ultimately maximizes the efficiency of building a website, speeding up the process, making it scalable, and reducing bloat by creating an interface design system. Sounds radioactive. Any fallout? On that note, this interview is over! Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset