3 Takeaways from the 2021 Adobe Max Conference

By Jela Latham
November 15, 2021

For the second year in a row, the Adobe Max- Creativity Conference was held virtually. It was just as immersive and imaginative as each conference claims to be. This year, I attended for the first time, and here are three of my biggest takeaways from the 15 sessions in which I participated.

1. You are never going to be fully satisfied with your work and that’s okay.

I was once told that, if you are happy with every single piece you create, then you aren’t learning. Whether it be a photo taken at an event or when designing an infographic on social media trends, you should be able to look at what you’ve created and say, “I will do better next time.” Part of this means going through multiple mediums and aesthetic until you find those with which you are comfortable creating. Finding that comfortability is what is going to help you create work that you love and enjoy sharing with others. It’s going to take some time, but it’s supposed to. The more you work on your craft, the more you continue to find ways to enhance your storytelling; not in the medium but in the way you are piecing together your work.

2. Design can create change

Learning to speak up has not been easy, so we learned to speak through design. Impactful pieces are what help move it farther for the next generation, and the next, and so on. If you are just starting out as a designer, know you can make change. One of the ways Adobe is helping designers speak up is by adding the “review” feature on InDesign. You can send a link of your work through InDesign to someone for review if you are stuck on an idea and need help from others. I have already taken advantage of this feature when working with our own graphic designer.

Creating change starts with pushing BIPOC designers to be better than the rest—because they are BIPOC. We have seen this through varied advertising models and featuring young artists in campaigns. Society is moving quickly and sincerely to have this representation through media. This is what reminds us that we have the power to make change as creatives. Remembering that is how we champion others.

3. The Power of Mistakes is greatly overlooked

My favorite session was titled Bold New Strokes for Illustration & Paining, led by Ken Lashley, who has worked with Lucasfilm, Hasbro, and DC and MARVEL Comics. Lashley is the shot of encouragement we all need when we are feeling unsure of our craft. Being able to challenge our abilities is key because they need to intimidate but inspire at the same time. You must set your own rules and pace if you want to be a taken seriously in the industry, and some of those practices are as simple as using ink instead of eraser to work on follow through. Never stop working on what you don’t do well, which should go without saying. Lastly, trusting yourself and ignoring others. How else are you supposed to know who you are as a designer if you continue to listen to what others say about you?

Design comes from what you love, and, to create, you must stop restraining yourself and trust your ideas. Your style will follow. It can be easy to get frustrated when you are creating something, so try it once from start to end, and then walk away from it. Come back to it later and try again and repeat the process until you are more satisfied then when you first started.

Being able to connect with creatives all over the world reminds me that there is always more to learn, no matter what level of experience you have. I recommend this annual conference to anyone of any creative background. I am excited to take what new skills and tools and implement them into my work here at Inspire.