Day two was chock full of inspiration. Our day two keynote was all about highlighting stories from creative pros with inspirational stories — many about them breaking the creativity mold. Everything from breaking the brief with Paula Scher to embracing limitations from Paul Hansen to the making-of-details from innovative creatives – Erik Johansson and Rob Legato. Watch the keynote below.
Before we closed out the day, we also hosted our Sneak Peek session, where we showcased early looks at some technologies (e.g., features/products) we’re exploring, with special guests Rainn Wilson, actor and co-creator of SoulPancake, and actress/comedian Mary Lynn Rajskub, co-hosting the evening with Ben Forta. Get the full scope of Day Two happenings from Creative Layer.
It was fun being on stage at MAX with David Wadhwani to share a few of the projects that we have been working on in XD. The team has been exploring how new form factor displays, new interactions (like touch and gesture), cloud connections and even new hardware might change how you all create and in turn how it might impact what software we need to build. And we have been having a serious amount of fun.
Although there are many explorations going on, we chose three to highlight. The first, Mighty, is our connected pen:
The Adobe “Project Mighty” Connected Pen
We actually started project Mighty, our “cloud pen” to help us focus on the future of drawing. I’ve always been a little obsessed with drawing. An early mentor of mine said: “If you can’t draw, you can’t think. I guess I took that to heart. The good news is that absolutely anyone can train himself or herself to draw. With the right tools to support you it’s a little bit like learning to ride a bike – you just have to keep doing it until you tease out your own style of drawing.
Mighty is pressure sensitive, which helps it draw a natural and expressive line. It is also connected to the Creative Cloud through the software and a local Bluetooth LE connection. We have used this connection to pull up Kuler themes and enable a “cloud clipboard” which gives you access to assets you have saved to the cloud for reuse.
Mighty was created with the help of Ammunition, the industrial design firm founded by Robert Brunner. They landed on a three-sided, twisted form that is inspired by the ergonomics of holding a pen. When a child struggles with writing, he or she is given a triangular grip that fits over the pencil. Our design takes that one step further by twisting the pen’s triangular form so that it also rests gently on the hand. It also yields a sculptural object that is both beautiful and distinct. There’s a lot of hardware technology involved in bringing a high tech pen like this to life, so we’ve been working with San Francisco-based MindTribe on the electrical and mechanical engineering.
Although we spend many hours a day behind the keyboard and mouse, we still often start the creative process as we did thousands of years ago with pen and paper. But with tablets and new input methods like Mighty, this is going to change – I am confident. Over the last year, my tablet has replaced my sketchbook. I never thought I would give up drawing in a moleskin sketchbook.
Our second exploration, code named Napoleon is complementary to Mighty. This digital ruler is designed to bring back some of the feeling of drawing with analog tools like the t-square and triangle. Adobe has been talking about building a physical drawing aid like this ever since we built our first digital drafting table, almost two years ago.
Adobe “Project Mighty” Connected Pen & Project Napoleon” Digital Ruler Working on iPad
I was originally trained as an architect, and still find great comfort and confidence drawing with these tools. There is something about the confidence of drawing a line aided by a physical device – the tactile feedback you get as you move the straightedge around – as well as the fluidity and accuracy of drawing that comes from interacting with physical objects. Our little ruler (Napoleon, get it?) creates a digitally projected edge that you can use to accurately draw shapes and lines. It just feels right.
The Adobe “Project Napoleon” Digital Ruler
We are looking at a lot of potential features for Napoleon, but a favorite of mine is snapping to vanishing points. Imagine how easy it will be to sketch in perspective, when you can use the ruler to quickly create and then snap to perspective vanishing points that are well off screen.
Finally, Project Context is the most ambitious of the three explorations. I like to think of it as our answer to “big content.” You know, just like big data, but with images and text and video and the like. Most of us have experience with printing hundreds of images and trying to pin them all on the wall or spreading them on the floor just to try to figure out the big picture. This is another good example of how something was lost when we went from physical to digital. Somehow file folders full of assets, or tiled displays of images don’t quite cut it. We think that large screens with touch and gesture interaction paired with the appropriate software design are a way to not only get back what was lost, but to take the organizing and producing experience to a whole new level.
When combined with InDesign and the Digital Publishing Suite, Context creates an ideal editorial and publishing environment for Wired and other publishers. Context offers a powerful and intuitive way to grab assets from just about anywhere, and to collaboratively organize and eventually even edit and publish them. These exploratory projects stand a much better chance of becoming real shipping products when we work with a customer to build them. We have the good fortune to be working with WIRED to build out the first version of Context as a system to support the editorial and layout process for their magazine.
Digitally enabled, cloud connected physical devices leverage the best from both the digital and the analog worlds. They could enable whole new levels of creative productivity and artistic confidence – and one of the many innovation milestones that makes an Adobe incredible place to work.
The best part of my job is hitting the road to hear about what’s on the minds of our customers, partners and employees. In the past two months I’ve clocked more than 34,000 air miles doing just that. From the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to the World Economic Forum in Davos, from London to Sydney to New York, Digital Marketing has been on the mind of every CEO I meet. It has definitely gone broadly into the mainstream and into the boardroom, well beyond the confines of the web team.
Most recently, we had three terrific days in Utah at the annual Adobe Digital Marketing Summit where 5,000 people gathered to hear about the latest innovations in digital marketing solutions. Every company needs to become a digital-first organization and I spoke about the three marketing mandates that I believe all companies need to focus on:
1) Engage everywhere – Gone are the days when your digital strategy is just about driving customers to your website and converting them. Whether it’s app stores or retail stores; on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest; on a PC, phone, or laptop; you have to go to your customers or they won’t come to you. Successful marketers are integrating all channels to engage their customers wherever they are.
2) Embrace rocket science – Every business is swimming in data, and many are struggling just to get backward-looking reports. But the real value of data is predictive, harnessing math and machine learning to take marketers’ intuition to a whole new level. Many of our customers are already doing this with Media Optimizer today, where you can predict the optimal media mix and automate the buying across display and search advertising. The next frontier is to take all of your marketing – across social, mobile, web, real-time, historic, qualitative, quantitative – and reliably predict and execute the perfect campaign to maximize sales. That is rocket science becoming real.
3) Connect the dots – Organizational change needs to happen internal to every company in order to thrive in this new digital age. I live this every Monday morning at 9 am when I have the team report to me on their metrics. The product organization, marketing organization and sales and finance are working together to drive the results in a way that never used to happen.
Thanks to everyone who made Summit such a great event. Next up: Adobe MAX in LA. I’m excited to hear what our community has to say about the future of creativity!
I just passed my one-month mark after rejoining Adobe to head up corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions. It’s a unique perspective, having spent 14 years helping build Adobe’s creative business and then going off to lead teams in consumer internet, social and mobile companies before returning here. Adobe is the great company that I remember: incredible innovation, talented people, and the coolest customers anywhere. But it’s a company that has changed in many ways. As I come back in with fresh eyes, I thought I would share some of my observations.
It’s a whole new world when it comes to the creative professional and their work. Back in “the day” in our creative business, we spent most of our energy building kick-ass applications that helped creative professionals move from traditional to digital workflows while navigating the complexities of the desktop Mac and Windows platforms. Our customers were primarily focused on delivering great print or web content. Now with the explosion of mobile, creatives need to make sure their experiences scale to hundreds of smartphones and tablets, not to mention TVs, car dashboards and in-store kiosks. The challenge is staggering, both for creatives and Adobe, but there has never been more demand for compelling content. (That’s a good thing!) And with the advent of powerful mobile platforms, EVERYONE wants to be creative as they capture, enhance and share their daily experiences.
Enter the cloud. With cloud computing, customers are quickly learning (and expecting) to engage with us 24/7 and need our product offerings to go further in addressing a broader range of challenges, well beyond content creation. As a former product manager, I remember the team’s frustration when they were forced to hold back features to fit our 18-month Creative Suite product cycle. It was very difficult to deliver new innovations “off-cycle” due to our delivery and accounting model. (Every desktop software company struggles with this same challenge.) Nothing is more satisfying to one of our talented engineers than getting a new product feature into the hands of customers quickly, and now we can.
But Creative Cloud is so much more than a mechanism for getting new product features in the hands of customers faster. It will be the hub for creativity worldwide and enable you to work when and where you want. It will be where creative communities gather to be inspired by each other’s work and collaborate on projects. Our recent acquisition of Behance, the leading online social media platform for creatives, accelerates Adobe’s strategy to bring great community features to Creative Cloud. You’ll see us begin to integrate Behance with our creative tools in the next few months and in the meantime Behance will continue to be a key showcase for creativity. Check out their awesome blog highlighting some of the coolest creative work out there.
Some customers have given us their perspective on Creative Cloud in the video below and we promise that we’ve only just started. Indeed, all the innovation that we have planned for Creative Cloud will make Adobe MAX, the Creativity Conference, a must-attend event. It’s in Los Angeles May 4-8. We hope you can join us.
Finally, it’s been exhilarating to get involved with a whole new set of customers with Adobe Marketing Cloud. We have long focused on content creation for the world’s leading marketing departments. Now we’re extending that value to helping marketers manage and optimize consumer experiences across every touchpoint, from their websites to the social realm. Last week I attended our Summit conference and spoke to dozens of digital marketing customers about the possibilities as our Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud come together for better collaboration across teams and agencies. This is really where the creative rubber hits the road, from my perspective – showing the business return from all the amazing content created with our tools.
With my little “walkabout” behind me, I can honestly say that I’m thrilled to be back in the saddle at Adobe and am particularly excited to engage with our new customers and see how many familiar ones are still with us on this journey!
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