Adobe MAX 2016: Beyond Inspiration
For the creative community, Adobe MAX is a reliable source of two important things: design inspiration and a deep reserve of knowledge about how to be more productive with Adobe’s array of tools. For today’s creative teams, that Adobe knowledge is critical. 77% of marketers and designers say there is increased pressure to be productive rather than creative at work.
This focus on productivity is driven by three factors: increasing multiplication of marketing platforms, collaboration with a growing number of stakeholders, and the constant iteration necessary for great design.
In the opening keynote, Brian Lamkin talked about how today’s marketing demands personalized content across multiple platforms. That’s more assets, across more platforms. This compounding effect means that 71% of teams reporting that they need to create 10x as many assets these days to support all the different channels.
Not only are there new platforms being added all the time, these platforms seem to be growing in complexity as well. Today’s designers are learning how to create assets for a future of VR, 3D, and augmented reality.
Many sessions touched on the theme of iteration – why it’s critical and how to do it faster. Dan Stiles defied the myth of the creative idea as a light bulb moment in his session, You Don’t Have to Start with a Good Idea. Instead, he described creativity as a longer process of testing multiple ideas, selecting the strongest, and building on them until they work.
Iteration doesn’t stop at the arrival of the idea. Many of the latest Adobe tips and features help designers take their work and create versions for all the multiple platforms where that asset will be distributed. For example, in Adobe Acrobat DC Turbocharges Creative Workflows, the Adobe team showed how to use layer comps to automatically show variations of a single PS file, making it easy to export comps to PDF for sending to reviewers for comment. Similarly, DKNG Studios shared their tip for customizing pattern brushes to save time and ensure consistency in their session, The Proof is in the Process: Secrets of Effective Illustration Workflow. In Work Happy, Not Hard, Mark Heaps showed another Illustrator tip – when you see a trend over and over again, create a design style “so you can work like a fast food drive thru!”
If you feel like your team is churning out creative work faster than McDonald’s churns out Big Macs, you’re not alone. A recent IDC research brief found that 85% of teams felt under pressure to move faster. In a process as iterative as the design process, this need for speed may come at the cost of creativity and quality.
As the Adobe XD product management team pointed out, designers don’t work in a silo. They collaborate with other designers, with their clients and stakeholders, and with developers and printers. James Lockton was quick to share in his session, Streamlining Collaboration Across Large-Scale Organizations, that collaboration is unavoidable for asset exchange, feedback, and consistency.
If collaboration is inevitable so are the challenges it creates, even for top creative teams like Airbnb, who shared that they struggle with version control and compatibility when collaborating. As Courtney Smith highlighted in his session, Achieving Content Velocity, designers use different tools than their marketing colleagues, which contributes to that gap in compatibility. Collaborators may also have different objectives and terminology, as Mark Heap reminded the audience when he told us to speak the language of our collaborators.
How a Workflow Solution Can Help
Courtney Smith laid out the challenge of content velocity in simple terms: the limitations of time require designers to find a way to balance creativity with productivity. 75% of creatives spend one quarter of their time per week on administrative tasks, according to IDC Research. That’s a lot of time that could be devoted to creating and producing.
A creative workflow management solution like inMotion automates administrative tasks and streamlines the creative workflow.