I admit it. I was the archetypal awkward kid sitting off to the side, observing more than engaging. I went through numerous crisis of confidence about my conflicting interests in art and design and the more “legitimate” pursuits like sports and AP classes. But through a wonderful convergence of good fortune and good timing I emerged from the awkward years mostly intact and embarked on a career as a designer at just about the time that the world started to wake up to the value of design. I am a proud, albeit still awkward card carrying member of the Creative Class. It turns out that there are quite a few of us here at Adobe, including about 100 in the Experience Design (XD) team I lead. There are also a few million of them that we feel connected to because they (all of you) are the people who make the applications that we help design sing and dance.
It is in this capacity, as the creatives that help make the tools for the creatives, that we set out to make the Adobe Creative Class video:
We started with only the seeds of an idea. We wanted to create an Anthem to creatives, something that would both recognize the travails and celebrate the accomplishments of our peers, creative people. Over the course of the few weeks that we had to conceptualize and execute the project, there were all the regular fears, challenges and unreasonable optimism that accompany any creative effort. We started the project by retaining the creative people at Melcher Media, and together conceptualized a project that was ambitious but attainable, and they set about to lead the effort to produce a script that still gives me the chills every time I read it:
The Creative Class
We are the creative class. We are alone in our rooms with one dream among us. We tell stories about boys and girls who learn to fly and we make those stories come as true as our minds can will them. Our teachers are comic books and cartoons; every bedroom a Bat Cave, every den the mutant lair. Our gallery is hung with magnets on the fridge.
We stand on your corner and wonder, What if we could play for a living? What if we could use chalk to make this sidewalk more interesting? What if there are others out here watching the trees turn into polka dots? We fill wastebaskets with weak ideas. Our cash goes to canvas and acrylic colors, and we wonder, How much bologna can we eat before it’s bad for us? Can we bottle the smell of fear and sell it?
We paint a mural of the ocean and in the wall we find the shell around a tiny pearl. We share it between us. It warms our hands. Let’s use it to guide us in twos and threes. Let’s make something there in the dark, so we’re not afraid of the dark ever again. We are the photo negative and we are what develops. There are forty of us making this work after hours because we’ve figured out a way to do it better. Don’t say that it’s impossible and that there’s no budget for glitter. Give us a wheel to reinvent. Let’s make a lighter, cleaner water jug for disaster relief. Let’s turn sustainable design into design that sustains us all.
We are millions of us armed with drop cloths and wood glue and a vision. We will silk screen a banner that flies colors you’ve never heard of. Let’s raise high the beams and set the roof on fire. Let’s send a ripple from here to New Delhi. We can start a rally with a website, a revolution with a jpeg, and we are more than the sum of our parts. We get presidents elected. We are an army. We are alone in our rooms. There is a story in all of us and we are going to make it.
The team at Melcher Media (http://melcher.com) had a good, rational plan for getting the project animated, but then I made the “mistake” of sharing the project with one of our Principal Designers, Erk Natzke. He reached out to Kyle Cooper and his team at Prologue (http://prologue.com), who emailed back this photo of his son Kaden working on his own bedroom Bat Cave, a sure indication that he shared an affinity for the project:
Kyle is probably well known to most of you, but for the record, he’s the motion designer that brought art back to movie credits when he created the mind blowing title sequences for Seven. And he said yes to our little project! So there we were, with a world class team, a damn good script, and a few weeks to create if we wanted to debut at MAX.
Not to be outdone, Erik contributed a few pictures of his young prodigy learning to fly (along with a number of his other non human creations.)
Over time it seemed like just about every line in the script sparked a connection to our lives as creatives. And we weren’t alone. As the team reached out to more and more creatives, to build the library of imagery that makes up the final product, there were personal stories and connections, little bits of nostalgia that made the project all that more meaningful to the participants. The project became an adventure in remembering how we became creatives and a celebration of all that has come to mean.
We are hoping this is just a start. We had a slightly bigger idea of building an application to create a bigger story that we would build with all of you, some sort of collective creative narrative. We would love to figure out how to create an ongoing dialogue about what it means to be part of the Creative Class. We would love to be able to see what all of you would contribute to that dialogue.
I think I can speak for the entire cast of characters that contributed to the project, that it became a remarkably personal and, as a result, remarkably satisfying project. And to give credit where credit is due, view the list of that cast on the next page.