A Recap of Adobe MAX 2021

Rachel Lemieux, Art Director
Kelly Moynihan, Senior Copywriter
Arielle Tiner, Senior Designer
Avery LaRochelle, Production Designer
Posted on Nov 2, 2021

Avery, Arielle, Rachel, and Kelly from Imarc’s creative team share their insights from the three-day Adobe MAX 2021 conference.

We had a great time at Adobe MAX 2021 learning new design skills, getting a sneak peek at some new Adobe features, and exploring tools we hadn’t tried before. Here’s a closer look at what we did last week:

Avery: Adobe MAX as a Production Designer

This was my first Adobe MAX as a design professional rather than a student, and I wanted to focus on more advanced program sessions and XD tutorials. I learned a ton about the new video feature in XD. I can already think of plenty of projects I would be able to include it in, and I look forward to trying it out.

I enjoyed the “Conversation with Casey Neistat and Brandon Stanton” in which they discussed creativity and how to inspire others by being open and vulnerable. One of my favorite channels on YouTube, Nerdforge, also talked about creativity. They explained how they use their channel to show tutorials of their process, even if they mess up. I’ve already learned a lot from their channel, and it's inspiring to know they have such a great mindset about creativity.

One thing that has crossed my mind a lot over the past few days of Adobe MAX is that creativity can be inspired by almost anyone and anything, so collaboration is incredibly important. Adobe has spent the last year making sure its programs are best suited to help people collaborate. I’m so excited to use all these new features in our teams at Imarc!

Arielle: Adobe MAX as a Senior Designer

I’m so appreciative I was able to attend Adobe MAX for the second year in a row. As a senior designer, it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and stay on top of what’s new in the industry. Even more important is continuing to stay inspired – and Adobe MAX helps fill that glass. One of my favorite sessions was “Type Trends: 2022 and Beyond” hosted by Monotype. Typography plays a huge role in design, and it was inspiring to really dig into the trends and see how they evolve over time.

As a whole, some of the overarching themes from the conference included inclusivity, connectivity, and adaptation to future technologies. It was an eye-opening reminder that augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and data are growing tremendously in the creative industry. The future is indeed here. I’m looking forward to adopting and utilizing these technologies to continue to improve my workflow and creations. 

Rachel: Adobe MAX as an Art Director

Adobe MAX 2021 featured some awesome sessions and great speakers throughout the three-day conference. Here are some of my favorite insights and experiences from MAX.

Adobe XD has created some really incredible new features for their latest update. Users will now have the ability to organize assets (colors, fonts, components, etc.) into folders and groups. This will enhance the overall organization of XD files and make it easier to create separate assets for desktop and mobile experiences. Adobe is also introducing videos into the program. A user will be able to upload an MP4 into their design and have it play during the prototype. What a game-changer for all of us prototyping nerds!

During the “Build Smarter Workflows with Adobe XD and Photoshop,” instructor Rebecca Ferguson showed us how PSD files can be opened in XD without losing layer structure or compromising design. (It will be exactly the same file!) She also showed us how to use the ‘Repeat Grid’ and ‘Auto-animate’ functionalities to level up our image galleries for prototypes.

A session highlight for me was watching designer Aaron Draplin create a badge from concept to completion in about 15 minutes. I enjoyed seeing his sketches and hearing his commentary on his process.

Lastly, I enjoyed a session “Type Trends: 2022 and Beyond.” The instructors discussed three key predictions that have for the future of type:

  • ‘Soft-serve’ and approachable serif fonts (think Chobani and MailChimp)

  • VAR (or variable typography) that mixes adaptable text with the movement of stretched letterforms and responsiveness

  • Neue Nouveau – extreme, decorative text with diagonal and angular shapes (inspired by Art Nouveau)

My big key takeaway from Adobe MAX 2021 is that collaboration is key. Adobe is creating new tools to make collaboration easy for everyone, whether the user is on-the-go, on a beach in Maui, or at their home office.

Kelly: Adobe MAX as a Senior Copywriter

This was my second year attending Adobe MAX, and I was completely blown away by all the new collaboration features added to the Adobe suite. The Adobe team didn’t just talk the talk and call remote work “the new normal,” they walked the walk and created new tools to make remote collaboration seamless for all users. While some of the new features and “sneaks” went a bit over my head, I was in awe watching the creative potential that Adobe opens up for all users.

I was impressed (and thankful) that there were several sessions for beginners like myself. As a copywriter, I’m most familiar with Adobe XD, so I wanted to explore other apps from Adobe’s Creative Cloud. On Tuesday, I attended the session “InDesign Basics: From Newbie to Pro” hosted by Anne-Marie Concepción. It was my first time using InDesign, and thanks to this course, I feel really confident using the tool now!

“We are responsible for making diversity a standard and not just an option.”
– Harvey J. Austin, Adobe MAX 2021

One session that stood out to me was “The Conscious Content Creator” presented by Harvey J. Austin. He discussed the importance of including diverse communities in our content and our workplace. Diversity brings vibrancy and life to our work, and that attracts viewers. We need to stretch as creatives in the pursuit of allyship, past just “performative allyship.” Here are some ways he suggests doing that:

  1. Recognize your own bias. We all have unconscious bias, but we must make the choice not to act on it.

  2. Speak up about negative behaviors, and point out where diverse groups can be engaged.

  3. Continue to have difficult conversations despite the potential discomfort.

  4. Allow everyone to be heard and listened to.

  5. Listen to the stories of people who have experienced life differently than you.

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to attend Adobe MAX alongside my creative colleagues. It has been a fantastic three days!

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