There are plenty of reasons to come to MAX, and at the top of the list are the outstanding sessions led by the most innovative minds in the industry. This year at Adobe MAX, don’t miss legend Richard Hilleman, Chief Creative Director at Electronic Arts and his session “The Magic Bullet of Web Gaming” where he talks about the importance of controller design for game play learning curves and how it affects a audience size of a game. He’ll also explore the links between positive reinforcement in a game and a games audience size with emerging innovations in various platform technologies. See our latest Q&A with Richard here.
Join Adobe evangelist Andy Hall and Enrique Duvos as they talk about how game developers and publishers around the world push the limits of what’s possible on the web and on mobile devices with Adobe Game Developer Tools during their session “Best of the Best: International Flash Games Showcase“
Learn more about the game developer session
“You can expect a spirited, ferocious delivery of our “Tall Tales” speaking fiasco! With, some surprises….” says Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co. on what to expect at his Adobe MAX session this year in our Twitter Chat with him. During the Twitter Chat, many had their burning design questions answered by Aaron, while others were just excited to connect with the brilliant creative. We want to give a big thanks to those who participated – especially Aaron! Check out a quick sample of the Twitter conversation using the #AdobeMAX hashtag below.
Watch our video to learn more about Aaron Draplin’s love for junking and estate sales, and read Part II of our Q&A with him below.
Here’s Part II from our Q&A with the “Large Man” himself:
Adobe: When you were first starting out, what’s the biggest mistake you can remember making?
Aaron Draplin: Thinking I’d need some big degree to make it. Complete bullshit. As much as I loved going to art school and learning as much as I did, I’m pretty sure I could’ve made it on my own. I caved in to the pressure system. I thought I’d get called out for teaching myself or something. And sure, school was awesome, but man, I paid a lot for those couple of years.
How (and at what times) does a typical day start and end for you?
I’m usually out of bed by 9:00am, getting down to the shop and getting going by 10:00. And hell, I hate going to get lunch, cuz you lose an hour. I’ll work until 7:00 or 8:00pm (sometimes later), then I head home for supper, and will get the late shift going around 9:00pm—until 1:00am. I end my day by going to sleep, which is a pretty common theme.
Things you love? Or things you hate? Which influence your work more?
Things I love definitely influence the way I work, and the outcome. And I know it’s not cool to hate stuff, but hell, I’ve got some bad blood with some stuff and am not afraid to say it, and, let it fuel me to make better things. My buddy Ryno in Minneapolis made a list, and inspired by his vitriol, I did too. Here are some spirited links: Things I Love and Things I Hate.
about how to make things better, instead of selfishly tearing them down. I loved that part of school. Thank you Santiago and Kali.
If you could choose just one artist (use that term as loosely as you wish) to “surround” yourself with, who would it be? Why?
I would’ve loved to work for Saul Bass. He’s my favorite graphic designer.
Since most people will never have the opportunity to participate creatively with the Obama administration, can you tell us (in more words than “awesome”) how you felt when you learned you were getting THAT assignment?
When the Mode Project from Chicago first called me, I thought I was in trouble or something. I mean, a call like that is going to be really, really good or really, really scary. When they offered the chance to work on a logo to help the new Obama administration, I instantly accepted, cleaned off my plate and got down to it. When they call you up to the big leagues, you produce. For your country. Seriously, my heart was filled with patriotism. The chance to help out in the slightest way was a big deal to me. I freaked out a bit, then got down to work with Chris Glass from Cincinnati and we made some logos for America. Will forever be proud of that one.
And, now that you’ve completed that one… what’s your (next) “dream” project?
I’m scheming up some kind of road trip for the fall, but have to keep my lips sealed about the details. But when I really think about it, I dream about getting enough loot in the bank to where I can slow down my pace, go explore the earth a bit more and mellow everything out some. I’ve been running pretty hot these last bunch of years, so I daydream about downshifting things in a creative way. No real specific plan comes to mind, hence why I continue to charge as hard as I do. Oh well. If I could pick something out of the air…I sure would love to design a record for the Flaming Lips. Break me off a little piece, George
Fearless and wildly creative design duo Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker—also known as karlssonwilker—are an independent and internationally-recognized creative force. When we met them, we were so charmed that we immediately wanted to introduce them to you, so we asked them to speak at Adobe MAX this year! Karlsson and Wilker’s topic, “Creativity, Technology, and karlssonwilker” speaks to their commitment, passion and creativity, as well as the equal importance they place on technology and play in their work.
Attend MAX. Attend their session. You’ll leave inspired. In the meantime, enjoy this candid Q&A (and their reinterpretation of the MAX logo) from these imaginative designers.
Adobe: You and Hjalti founded karlssonwilker in 2000, after working for Stefan Sagmeister, what was his advice to you when you told him you were opening your own studio?
karlssonwilker: There was no particular parting advice, although we surely asked him for advise many times, and still do from time to time. Back then it felt like a very natural transition. Stefan went on his sabbatical and so the two of us started, or were forced to start, our own “thing.” I remember the two of us showing Stefan the office space we were thinking about renting, and him saying it’s a great deal and that we should definitely take it. (We still are in the same space today.) The biggest thing, for me personally, was that he showed us—and everyone else—that a studio small in size could make hugely influential and relevant work, something quite uncommon back then.
As if opening a new studio during a recession wasn’t enough, you decided to write a book (tellmewhy: The First 24 Months of a New York Design Company) about those first two years in business. Why did you take that on at that time?
One part was frustration about our unpreparedness regarding the business side of our new enterprise. The other was the need we felt, at the time, for more honesty in the arena of shiny design monographs. The simple story of the humble beginnings of a studio should be told, not the idealized and romanticized look back on 20 years of a successful design career, where everyone seemed to be born a genius. That’s what we did and to this day we still get emails from around the world thanking us for doing this candid book and helping designers around the world not feel they are alone in being ill-prepared to properly run a studio right from the start. And of course Princeton Architectural Press deserves huge credit of course for working on it with us, as does Clare Jacobson for writing it so fantastically.
Your book offers a not-always-glamorous view of owning a design studio; do you think it’s important for students and young designers to know that the path to success is not always rosy?
Yes, of course. Its important to make clear that failing is part of the “fun” and an important part of the learning. Somehow this book led by example: if Hjalti and I can do it, anyone can. And that seemed to be empowering to many.
If tomorrow, you could no longer be a designer, what would you choose to do?
I would be a shoemaker. Hjalti would run a little store, or be “in real estate.”
Has Adobe’s Creative Cloud changed/altered your work and your process?
Adobe products have always had a huge influence on us and there are many examples in our work. One of our design approaches is rooted in play and experimentation; very early on we used Illustrator’s tools and filters to explore dense vector drawings, by spending lots of time with it to see where it would lead us (projects like Hattler, Skirl and, later, Mini/BMW). Also, the MAX key art we created for this year’s conference comes from formal experimentation with three or four different programs.
What do you most hope to be able to say about your work and your partnership 20 years from now?
Jan: That we constantly evolved, enjoyed life, and produced relevant work that inspired some to push harder.
Hjalti: That I’m still very proud of the work we did, that Jan and I are still on speaking terms and, who knows, that the company is still going strong in 20 years, with the two of us working two days a week and an army of people doing all the work.
You and Hjalti have both been design judges… Do you feel that the work submitted to design competitions encapsulates what’s going on in the industry at the time?
For me, that’s a clear no. It might have been that way many years ago, but nowadays competitions are indicators of who wants to appeal to the commercial mainstream. The design world is more colorful now, and only a small fraction wants or needs to be represented in design annuals. We ourselves stopped sending things in about eight years ago.
For your eleventh anniversary party you created a poster acknowledging all of the karlsssonwilker interns you’ve had over the years. How many were mentioned? And how many have been inspired, by working with you, to open their own studios?
We mentioned every single one of them—almost 40 interns have come through our little studio. About fifteen of them started their own studios more or less right after their time with us (I’m not sure that we inspired them to do that, I think they already came to us with that plan in mind).
Talent? Passion? Or education? Which is most important? Why?
Passion. For sure. A genuine interest in what you do is really all that matters.
We just saw your version of the new MAX logo on the MAX website. Was executing a logo redesign easier or harder than beginning from scratch?
We didn’t see it as logo redesign, but as a demonstration of “creativity,” with the MAX logo incorporated into it.
Be sure to come see karlssonwilker at Adobe MAX this year! Register at MAX.Adobe.com with promo code MXSM13 and save $300!
Prior to Adobe MAX, we wanted to give you an opportunity to ask him some questions, which is why we’re hosting a Twitter Chat with Aaron (@Draplin) on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 10AM PST (1PM EST). Follow our Adobe MAX Twitter channel (@AdobeMAX) for updates, and be sure to ask your questions then using the #AdobeMAX hashtag.
To get an inside look at Aaron, watch our video interview with him as he discusses his love for the creativity of signs on a #$%*! mini-tour of Portland, plus more in Part I of our Q&A with him.
Adobe: We’ve seen the memo book archive you’re building. Do you have a favorite? If not a (single) favorite, a favorite theme (or type)?
Aaron Draplin: There are just too many to pick from, but I do have a fondness for the ugly duckling stuff. Some are lavish, some are trying a little too hard and some, hell, just do the job and exist for their purpose. I love that sort of unpretentious singularity. Pure functionality is a beautiful thing.
Field Notes. Why 48 pages?
Thirty-six seemed too few, and 60 seemed a little bit too big. We split the difference. Plus, the “thickness” came into play. Forty-eight pages is a lot of real estate, yet still feels good in your hands. We’ve got your best interests scientifically considered, people. Trust us.
Where/when did the relationship between you and Coudal Partners begin?
I was a fan and reached out with some email slathering Jim with niceties, and he slathered right back. The next time I whipped through Chicago I stopped for a handshake. That would’ve been in early 2004. Buddies ever since. Thank you for so much, Jim!
You’re speaking at MAX (frankly, we can’t wait). Does your speaking topic “Tall Tales from A Large Man,” provide a lot of latitude… That is, can you change course if you come up with an idea just before you step on stage?
It depends on the crowd. If I recognize some faces before the gig, I’ll mix stuff up a bit. Otherwise, I stick to my presentation, and tell my whole story the best way I can. If people are into it, I’ll offer up a lot of side stories, but if they are stone-faced, I’ll whip through the stuff. Rarely, are they stone-faced. Every now and again someone will be sitting there, as still as the dead. That shit freaks me out. I mean, are they human?
What about Adobe made you decide to say “yes” when we invited you to speak at MAX?
I’ve been speaking at a lot of Interactive conferences and, frankly, I often find myself not knowing a damn thing about the coding stuff they’re talking about. It’s a different language. The idea that a bunch of Adobe nerds would be in one place? My kind of party! I live off this stuff and am super interested in seeing what kind of people show up for it. I mean, I hope to learn knew ways to use my programs, you know? So, I’m going as a fan, and as someone tasked with telling his story to the crowd. And I promise to LAY WASTE to all in attendance. You’ve been warned.
What’s the one skill you learned in design school that you would encourage young designers to hone?
Learn how to talk about the work. Don’t indulge in “liking” things or “unliking” things. Hold stuff to the criteria of whether or not the solution is successful for the problem at hand. Liking stuff is a little too subjective. Did it solve the problem? Is it as good as it could be? Did you get it done on time? Design school taught me how to be diplomatic when discussing work, and how to be constructive about how to make things better, instead of selfishly tearing them down. I loved that part of school. Thank you Santiago and Kali.
Also, join our Adobe MAX Twitter Sweepstakes from April 10–16, 2013. Use the hashtag #AdobeMAX for a chance to win some great prizes! Read the Adobe MAX Tweetaway Sweepstakes Official Rules for more details.
We’re making Adobe MAX (May 4-8) bigger and better this year. For those who are wondering, “What’s MAX?” – it is THE conference for creative pros. It’s an opportunity for designers, developers, video professionals, photographers, and more to come together to learn about the latest technologies, techniques, and strategies for delivering your best creative work – not to mention the idea exchange and networking opportunities that exist. And it doesn’t stop there.
We have an agenda packed full of amazing speakers, tracks, sneak peeks (yes – you don’t want to miss this!) and more. Choose from over 300 sessions and labs taught by industry leaders and Adobe experts to maximize your creative experience, and even customize your MAX agenda by mixing and matching sessions from all five MAX tracks:
If that’s not enticing enough, we’re throwing a cherry (or two) on top to get you to L.A. Register today using this special promo code: MXSM13, to receive $300 off AND get your hands on a free 1-year Creative Cloud membership.