Adobe Systems Incorporated

From Critique to Collaboration: The Creation of Adobe Comp CC

Scott Belsky and Khoi Vinh‘s friendship precedes Scott’s tenure at Adobe, so when Scott approached him with an invitation to collaborate, it didn’t take long for Khoi to accept. In fact, in some ways, the collaboration, between the co-founder of Behance and VP at Adobe and the former design director of the New York Times, seemed pre-destined.

Since its introduction, Khoi had been touting the merits of the iPad as a creative tool: “I’ve always seen it as a really capable piece of hardware that at the same time imposes some really wonderful constraints. When you’re using your finger to manipulate things, you lose a sort of fine-grained ability to ‘get things absolutely perfect.’ I’ve always looked at that as a benefit.” He didn’t know it at the time, but the iPad environment he felt so strongly about (the one that forces people to focus on concept rather than execution) would become the foundation for Adobe Comp CC.

But it wasn’t Khoi’s appreciation of the iPad, or the fact that he’d built an app called Mixel in 2011, that prompted Scott to call him in the fall of 2013. It was, instead, Khoi’s skepticism about Creative Cloud. Khoi summed up the reason for Scott’s call in a recent blog post: “The perception at that time was that a CC subscription was a scheme to allow Adobe to charge repeatedly for software that previously users could buy just once. That’s what he wanted to discuss.”

From that conversation, things moved quickly forward.

By the end of 2013, Khoi was working as a consultant to Adobe with principal product manager Will Eisley and director of design Eric Snowden on what would become Comp CC. Khoi remembers, “Adobe assigned prototyping engineer Renaun Erickson to the project and for a couple of months it was just the two of us trying to figure out the fundamentals of the app, its basic concepts, what was important, what wasn’t.”

Critique_1Their ideas began taking shape when they realized that the key to the app’s success would be enabling people to get what’s in their heads onto the screen as quickly as possible. It meant they needed a “drawing engine.” One that would enable people to draw, move things around, and resize them—with familiar touch-screen gestures. Khoi explained it like this: “With Comp CC, you don’t access a different tool to get a box or crop a picture or create a block of text; you draw a box with an X in it and get a picture object into which you can put an image and crop it, or you draw several horizontal lines to generate a block of text. It’s much more natural. It’s much faster. And, most importantly, it’s much different than working on desktop software.”

Critique_2They intentionally kept the build media agnostic and with a focus on brainstorming. The canvases are familiar, but they are blank; there are no tools for pagination or trapping ink, and no library of interface widgets or pulldown menus. Because it keeps the focus on rapid-fire iteration, it’s a welcoming tool for conceptualizing juxtapositions of type and image for any medium.

It wasn’t long before it was time to share the build with an audience.

When Khoi presented during Sneaks at Adobe MAX 2014, the application was about 60% done. He remembers, “Not all the gestures were in there, the history feature was still pretty fragile, and as far as exporting to the desktop apps, I think only InDesign CC worked at that time.”

By the end of 2014, however, Comp CC’s two most important features were in place.

The ability to export files to Adobe’s primary desktop design applications makes Comp CC a powerful addition to an ingrained workflow. Many mobile apps have great approaches to creative exploration, they’re just not as attuned to a designer’s needs. Khoi believes that’s Comp CC’s game-changing feature: “We put a lot of emphasis on building those bridges to Illustrator CC, InDesign CC and Photoshop CC; I’m willing to bet that the bridges we created, to what designers already use and what they’re comfortable with, will be really powerful for people.”

As for the history feature that saves every iteration of every layout… it’s the team’s acknowledgement that ideas flow continuously. People don’t come up with one idea, jot it down and move on to the next one. But since any need to “manage” brainstorming sessions runs counter to the course of creativity, the saved history relieves, entirely, the burden of worry about preserving concepts, while also giving people the ability to scroll back in time—maybe even to the point of rediscovery. (Note: The feature is demoed in Khoi’s Sneaks video beginning at 3:40) A similar history scrub feature, already in Adobe Photoshop Sketch and Adobe Illustrator Line, provided the perfect interface but Khoi mentioned a characteristic unique to Comp CC: “You can actually go back and mess around with something you worked on 20 minutes ago but then whatever you did between then and now is preserved (you won’t lose it just because you elaborated on something).”

That’s the condensed version of the Khoi Vinh-Adobe partnership and the launch of Comp CC.

Now that Comp CC is in the hands of the creative community, Khoi knows the collaboration isn’t over, “For it to succeed and for us to effect meaningful change to ingrained workflows, we have to listen to feedback and understand how people are using it.”

And about Khoi’s skepticism of Creative Cloud… it, ultimately, fell away: “It wasn’t until I collaborated on Comp CC that I truly understood why Adobe made this huge move to Creative Cloud. It’s not about ‘renting’ software that we used to buy; it’s about a connected ecosystem of tools that’s only possible with the cloud. I was won over to the strategy.”

9:04 AM Comments (0) Permalink

Marcus Thomas LLC, A Creative Union

An agency, with a long history of using Adobe creative software for all of its marketing and PR creative work, makes the move from Adobe Creative Suite to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.

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Marcus Thomas LLC is the product of a union between two of Northeast Ohio’s oldest and largest independent advertising and public relations firms: Marcus Advertising, founded in Cleveland in 1946; and Ira Thomas Associates, founded in Youngstown in 1937. With decades of experience, Marcus Thomas recognized the importance of digital spaces early on and transformed into the fully integrated marketing agency it is today.

By upgrading to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, the agency simplifies licensing management while providing designers with access to a wider range of Adobe creative software.

“Our clients are on the latest software and it’s important that we are too. Working with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams keeps everyone on the same software version, from incoming interns to freelancers and clients,” says Amy Gressell, digital asset and creative systems manager at Marcus Thomas. “This eliminates the extra work that comes from constantly converting files and trying to manage multiple versions of software in house.”

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Opening doors to creativity

The Creative Cloud Packager also makes it easy for Gressell to package products and updates for designers depending on their software needs. For most of the active Creative Cloud for teams users at Marcus Thomas, Gressell delivers a standard package of applications including Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Illustrator CC, and Adobe InDesign CC. Those working with website design also use Adobe Flash Professional CC and Adobe Dreamweaver CC, while video editors work with Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

People don’t have time to learn something entirely new every time they want to use new software, so we appreciate the usability and consistency of the Adobe user interface across applications,” says Gressell. “Not only does it help our designers transition to new versions of software, but it also gives people a starting point when they want to experiment with other software.”

Marcus_3Web designers are starting to work with Adobe Muse CC to develop advanced website designs in a visual interface, while many designers have added Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to their workflows for its range of fast and simple photography editing features.

“We previously only offered a limited number of products to our design teams because it was too costly to buy separate full Creative Suite Master Collection licenses,” says Gressell. “The range of software in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams gives our designers a chance to experiment with new workflows to produce more creative work and meet our clients’ high standards.”

Read the Marcus Thomas LLC case study.

10:38 AM Comments (0) Permalink

First Federal Savings Bank, Designing for The Future

A small, fast-growing bank builds an in-house creative group to create exceptional content with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.

FirstFed_1 Century-old First Federal Savings Bank’s mission is to be the best bank in the seven-county Idaho region it serves by achieving excellence in everything it does. As a small, growing financial institution, outsourcing content production seemed like the natural choice. But the bank soon saw an opportunity to gain more control and boost efficiency by moving creative and design activities in house.

Producing content in house

Today, a small staff handles everything from designing brochures and billboards to producing radio and TV ads—with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams. “We knew that to build a successful in-house creative team, the creative software we used would have to keep pace with our growth,” says Cornelius Brackett, media specialist for First Federal Savings Bank.

FirstFed_2 Brackett, who previously worked in purchasing at the bank, but had a background in design and technology, created some ATM ads that resonated with customers. Soon, the bank was asking him to edit brochures and create newspaper ads. Brackett eventually found himself spending 20 hours a week creating marketing materials including a local television commercial. “Adobe is the standard for creative tools, so I knew it was a no-brainer to move to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams to meet our creative needs,” Bracket says. “Our print houses and video producer had already switched to Adobe Creative Cloud, and it was important to be compatible with our vendors to avoid potential workflow issues.”

Making the case for cloud

Currently, the team supports design needs for eleven branches, but soon, the bank expects to expand to other locations, and to enhance its marketing through online channels too. “We plan to do more online marketing, including an imminent website redesign,” says Brackett. Adobe Creative Cloud for teams will provide the flexibility to grow while managing costs predictably. “We can package the applications for different team members, so that we’re not wasting any Creative Cloud licenses.”

FirstFed_3The team uses Adobe After Effects CC and Adobe Premiere Pro CC to produce some videos such as television spots, and Adobe Illustrator CC, Adobe InDesign CC, and Adobe Photoshop CC to create print materials. Brackett is also experimenting with Creative Cloud mobile apps, including Adobe Photoshop Mix and Adobe Color CC, which he used to grab palettes from a unique color scheme in a new bank building to create materials that visually fit into targeted environments.

With interoperability between all of the apps in Creative Cloud continuing to streamline workflows, Brackett can work non-destructively, modifying background imagery or other elements up to the last minute. “The workflows among the Creative Cloud applications constantly become more integrated,” says Brackett. “This makes both learning and working with the applications more efficient. It just makes my job easier.”

Expanding horizons

By bringing design in house and moving to the cloud, the bank is conserving funds previously spent on outside vendors. Adding to the cost benefits, access to a wide array of creative software is spurring new ideas and opportunities. “We’re already creating a variety of content, and we see endless possibilities to do even more,” says Brackett. “Adobe Creative Cloud for teams really fosters productivity and creativity. I love nothing more than downloading a new piece of software and playing with it to get the creative juices flowing. It’s fun for me personally, and it helps us cultivate fresh ideas that genuinely benefit the bank.”

Read the First Federal Savings Bank case study.

8:34 AM Permalink

HaZ Goes Hollywood with Sci-Fi Teasers

Turning proof-of-concept shorts into feature film deals with Adobe Creative Cloud.

HaZ_1Soon after its release, Project Kronos was an Internet hit on YouTube and Vimeo. Viewers loved the gritty documentary feel of the fifteen-minute short created on a budget of just £3000 by Hasraf “HaZ” Dulull entirely with Adobe Creative Cloud applications, including Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Adobe After Effects CC, and Adobe Photoshop CC. Hollywood loved it, too. So much so, that HaZ was able to win his first feature film deal for a full-length version of the space exploration drama.

Hollywood is a long way from the buzzing streets of central London where HaZ grew up. As a boy, his interest in cinema was first piqued by VHS videos of Blade Runner and Alien. Fascinated by the special effects, the youngster carefully reviewed scenes, trying to discern how they were created. Meanwhile in school he started playing around with an early version of the Paint application. “The school computers wouldn’t let you save files, so day after day I would create the same image, improving it as I went along,” he recalls. “I got pretty good at pushing pixels that way.”

At sixteen, he got his first computer and was soon a keen gamer. His interest in pursuing a career in game design led him to choose Computer Science, Technology, and Design for his A Level exam subjects. As part of his schoolwork, he created and animated a film using 4-bit images. From there HaZ went on to study media communications and for his dissertation on video games he created a simple horror game.

From game cinematics to cinema

That helped him land his first video game job creating cinematics, the short films that serve as introductions to video game narratives and as “cut scenes” between levels. “By now I was working with the first wave of digital tools, including Alias Wavefront for animation, Photoshop for painting, Combustion for compositing, and Avid for editing,” says HaZ.

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“After a few years, I asked myself: ‘Why am I doing this?’ Why not work on actual films,” he continues. “So I got my first film job at the Moving Picture Company in London.” Starting in 2003, he worked his way up from compositor to lead compositor, finally becoming VFX supervisor on broadcast series such as America: The Story of US (History Channel) and Planet Dinosaurs (BBC), both of which earned him award nominations in 2011.

As a VFX supervisor he was soon working shoulder to shoulder with directors. “That became my film school,” he says. “I was helping filmmakers plan their productions in a way that avoided problems in post-production. This didn’t just teach me about the process of filmmaking, it deepened my understanding of storytelling and how each aspect of a film, if done right, supports the larger narrative.”

The role of VFX supervisor is an interesting one and tells us a lot about the evolution of filmmaking today. Originally, the VFX supervisor was brought on set to bridge the gap between filming and post production. They ensured that shots were captured correctly for efficient post-production and high-quality visual effects. Sometimes VFX supervisors even directed segments themselves. But the role has grown as the place for visual effects in filmmaking has matured. “As a VFX supervisor, I’m working with writers actors, directors, producers, executives,” says HaZ. “We’ve become very influential in the storytelling process and we’re usually brought in now during development, before the script is even green lit.”

Pitching feature films in Hollywood

Meanwhile, HaZ himself was also evolving and the idea for Project Kronos was born. “Project Kronos was the right thing at the right time,” he explains. “Gravity was hitting theaters and Interstellar was in production. Space stories were hot.” Project Kronos was picked up by Armory Films and Benderspink to turn into a full-length drama with HaZ attached to write and direct. All of a sudden, he was being asked to pitch ideas for other films.

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“Now I go into the meetings as a director and a writer,” he says, “and I don’t just bring a script with storyboards. I cut a short teaser of the film to show the studio execs what the film will look like. And I’m not just showing them the story, I’m showing them how it can be made.”

The approach has worked. In short order HaZ had three films in development with a fourth in the works. “It really helps that I can knock out the videos fast,” he explains. “Once I even cut a pitch trailer on the plane, on the way to Los Angeles. It’s so easy now: boot up the laptop, open the Creative Cloud apps and just get to work.”

The process itself is not new to him, just the ease with which he can do it. “I’ve been doing proof of concept stuff for a long time, but it used to be with disconnected tools,” he says. “With Creative Cloud I don’t have to deal with that anymore. I just bring everything into Premiere Pro CC and then connect the pieces. It makes it so much easier to sell an idea when you can show it already visualized.”

Building pitch trailers with Creative Cloud

One of the new projects is called Sync. Unlike Project Kronos, which is styled like a documentary, Sync is a sci-fi thriller. “I wanted to show I could create the kinds of action films that studios are often looking for from young first-time filmmakers,” he says.

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He even created a kind of pre-teaser to show potential collaborators what he wanted to make, including grading with Adobe SpeedGrade CC, to create atmosphere, and VFX created in Photoshop CC and After Effects CC. “That worked,” he smiles. “My test shots generated interest and I found my crew and actors just by showing it around.”

While shooting the Sync teaser, HaZ and his team were already doing rough assembly, which was easy, since Premiere Pro CC supports the native files right out of the camera. From there the short film was built stem-to-stern in Creative Cloud. “Adobe isn’t just creating tools, they’re creating workflows,” says HaZ. He is proud of this project, which he feels includes elements of Blade Runner, one of his first movie loves.

I.R.I.S, a third feature film project, combines the documentary storytelling style of Project Kronos with the sci-fi thriller genre of Sync. In this story, the globe is surrounded by miniature drones which, using sophisticated artificial intelligence, monitor and police human activity.

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I.R.I.S. was created using the same workflow as Project Kronos and Sync. As with those shorts, HaZ made extensive use of After Effects CC for compositing CG elements into the live action, as well as augmenting stock footage. HaZ created I.R.I.S. before Sync but it was released afterwards. “It was a project I developed with another production company in Los Angeles to pitch as a feature film,” explains HaZ. “We never intended to release this one as a short film, but after all the buzz around Sync it made sense to make this public, too.

“I asked my DP on I.R.I.S. if he could find some guys who could help out as marines in the film. When I turned up on set these guys were fully kitted out with enough weaponry to start a small war—all replicas of course! They were awesome to work with and totally loved films like Aliens, so directing them was a blast. Naturally, I used them again on Sync for much bigger action scenes.”

A playground for developing ideas

As all of these short film projects show, Creative Cloud gives HaZ a digital playground for developing ideas. The result in each case is not just a story idea, but clear ideas for how to make it efficiently and cost-effectively. For example, HaZ has made extensive use of Adobe Audition CC to map out audio for his projects. “Sound studio time is really expensive, so it helps a lot if I can show exactly how I want the audio to be done, and the audio people end up using many of the original sound elements I created,” says HaZ. “And I’m not even an audio guy!”

The design tools have also proven useful in fleshing out concepts. “For one project I was asked how I thought it could be marketed, so I grabbed some stills and designed a poster for the film,” he says. “Typekit is a lifesaver for me, too—not just for making posters, but for titling and design elements within the films. I also used Creative Cloud Assets to create graphics in Sync. I don’t want to be thinking about tools when I’m doing my work. Everything I need I already have in Creative Cloud.”

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After a year of polishing the script, HaZ is now gearing up for his feature film directorial debut on Project Kronos, which will go into production in 2015. While this will bring new experiences, he feels very much at home in the process. “I don’t need to worry about post, or editorial, because I know I have all the tools to get the job done.
 

In case you missed it… from October 2013, Creating a Great Pitch Trailer for your Feature Film, an Ask A Pro session with HaZ Dullul.

(HaZ is represented by manager Scott Glassgold of IAM Entertainment.)

3:10 PM Permalink

Nature’s Path Organic Foods: Healthy Food, Impactful Packaging

This leading maker of organic foods supports consistent creative by implementing Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.

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Nature’s Path Organic Foods is the largest independent manufacturer of organic breakfast and snack foods in North America. Making tasty organic, sustainable food is the family-run company’s passion. The Nature’s Path team loves finding new superfoods and developing delicious, new recipes that pair healthy eating with social responsibility.

Making delicious organic food allows Nature’s Path to take care of people and the planet. In everything they do, from sourcing ingredients to designing packaging, the Nature’s Path team strives to leave the earth better than they found it. The company’s design team supports that mission by doing what they can to make the packaging as environmentally friendly as possible.

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Worldwide brand consistency

Highlighting the company’s drive and commitment, Nature’s Path offers hundreds of products for sale in more than 40 countries. For the in-house graphics team, this translates to the need to create a wide range of packaging designs that are fresh and eye-catching, while conveying a consistent brand worldwide.

“We work closely with each other and our vendors to develop packaging we’re proud of,” says Jeff Deweerd, creative team lead at Nature’s Path. “We’re always sending files back and forth, which means that standardizing on the latest and greatest design software with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams streamlines workflows and reduces incompatibility issues.”

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Time well spent

With Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, the graphics team at Nature’s Path gains access to all of the creative software it needs.

Printed materials and artwork are designed using Adobe InDesign CC. Designers can easily bring in visuals from other Adobe software, such as photographs edited in Adobe Photoshop CC or logos developed in Adobe Illustrator CC to enhance designs. Designers also rely heavily on Illustrator CC for signage, promotional graphics, and flexographic packaging designs for plastic or metal wraps and pouches. And, everyone working on the same up-to-date versions of Adobe creative software means smoother collaboration, less time spent exporting and repackaging files, and more on developing ideas.
 

Read the Nature’s Path Organic Foods case study.

10:17 AM Permalink

An Adobe Inspire Webinar with Alejandro Chavetta

Alejandro Chavetta will demonstrate his collage and animation techniques on March 11, during the second session of Adobe Inspire’s webinar series Inspire: Creatives at Work.

AlejandroChavetta_1With its webinar series Inspire: Creatives at Work, the Adobe Inspire team is providing something different from typical tutorials. These live online sessions provide “ride-along” views of each artist’s creative process, as well as an examination of his or her inspirations. Nearly 500 people attended the last Creatives at Work session, which showcased the work of Danish graphic designer Maria Grønlund.

We’re very excited about the next one-hour event: On March 11 (at 10:00am PST/6:00pm GMT), graphic designer (and former creative director of Dwell magazine) Alejandro Chavetta will be showing us how he uses Adobe Photoshop CC to create his imaginative collages—and then he’ll show how he animates those collages in Adobe After Effects CC.

Alejandro’s otherworldly digital collages (as well as those he creates by hand) are beautiful juxtapositions of antique machines and organic forms. The incorporation of historical ephemera and images from antique reference materials gives his animations a rich patina and a striking depth, and his frequent use of skulls and other disembodied body parts adds a playful spookiness.

AlejandroChavetta_2His viewpoint is unique, but his techniques can be easily adapted to other styles and other aesthetics. (And if you’re still relatively new to After Effects CC, don’t worry: importing and animating a Photoshop collage like Alejandro’s can serve as a great introduction.)

 

Please join Alejandro for this inspiring hour; register now for the free March 11 event.

For people who can’t attend on March 11, we’ll be posting a recording of the event on inspire.adobe.com. Follow @AdobeInspire on Twitter for updates about this and future events.

10:57 AM Permalink

The Streamlined Creative Process of 3B Scientific

The global marketing team of this manufacturer of medical education equipment and content is more efficient and productive thanks to the collaborative features in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.

3B_1The international group of companies known as 3B Scientific specializes in the manufacturing and marketing of educational materials for the science and medical fields. Headquartered in Germany with affiliated companies in more than 100 countries, 3B Scientific produces product lines that include artificial skeletons, anatomical models, medical training simulators, acupuncture and therapy products, and a wide range of biology, chemistry, and physics equipment.


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Collaboration across borders

The marketing team at 3B Scientific uses Creative Cloud for teams to develop catalogs, brochures, logos, internal documents, websites, mobile design ads, direct mail pieces, and even T-shirt designs. Adobe Photoshop CC provides excellent image enhancement tools, while Adobe Illustrator CC is the go-to solution for logos and graphics, and Adobe InDesign CC supports creative layout for print pieces.

Although the marketing group previously used Final Cut Pro for video editing, the company is taking advantage of the wide range of software in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams by switching to Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Adobe After Effects CC. “Working with Creative Cloud for teams means that we have all of the creative tools we need at our fingertips,” says Joseph Allen, senior graphic designer at 3B Scientific. “We can also experiment with new software at any time to expand our skills and creative offerings (our graphic designers, in particular, appreciate the chance to play around with it).”

3B_3 In addition to the benefits that come with standardizing software, 3B Scientific takes advantage of the cloud storage available with its Creative Cloud for teams membership to simplify sharing files. When downloading files to individual desktops and working with colleagues in different time zones, it can be difficult to keep track of which files are the most recent; cloud storage solves this problem, helping marketers around the world quickly locate the latest versions of projects and files. “Rather than emailing files back and forth, the cloud storage gives us a central area to store and sync files,” says Allen. “It streamlines our processes to make collaborating anywhere in the world incredibly simple.”

Creative Cloud for teams also syncs projects, settings, and even fonts for users who take work home. By creating seamless workflows and collaborative processes, it enables the global marketing team to be more efficient and productive. “Coordinating with colleagues in Europe and Asia can be a time-consuming process. There are many opportunities for our lines to get crossed, which can cause miscommunications and delays,” says Allen. “With Creative Cloud for teams, we’re improving our communication and collaboration, which ultimately enhances our ability to share valuable knowledge with customers worldwide.”

Read the 3B Scientific case study.

12:37 PM Permalink

Ito-ya—First Stop for Art Supplies in Tokyo

On a recent trip to Tokyo, we had the pleasure of visiting Ito-ya, the famed art supply store in Ginza.

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The store advertises its impressive collection of “fine writing instruments, leather goods, art supplies, custom frames, and globes” with deserved confidence. But they’re also aware of the special experience at play: “It’s like a ‘hideaway for adults'; you can relax and enjoy your shopping time.”


If every major city has a standout art supply store, Ito-ya is Tokyo’s.

Well-designed art supply stores like Ito-ya have playful, eye-catching exteriors that invite passersby to make detours, and stop in. But what draws people into Ito-ya’s six-story building isn’t just the large paperclip attached to the outside of the building, it’s the ground level’s industrial appearance and its immense floor-to-ceiling windows. Even from the outside it’s easy to see how Ito-ya borrows design elements from fine jewelry stores, presenting art and office supplies in an environment that provides them an elevated level of respect—implying that they are as valuable as the earth’s most precious jewels.

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Beautifully-curated congruity

While much more could be said about the architectural and interior design schema of Ito-ya, the products deserve equal attention. Wandering around the store our eyes were constantly drawn to the bright color spreads created by the pens, markers, pencils, pastels, and paints lined up across seemingly endless shelves.

Itoya_1 It was a treat to our senses to look down each aisle and catch the color gradients as they moved horizontally from foreground to background. Equally so, it was a delight to inspect the well-curated variety of brushes, canvases, paper, and pencils (an encounter with variety reminiscent of a visit to a vibrant farmers market when what you’re used to is a city grocery store).

Ito-ya is a reminder that analog tools and physical environments are extremely valuable to designers who work primarily in the digital realm, that there is something wonderful about getting our hands dirty with oil or chalk pastels, the need to sharpen pencils when the lead meets the wood, or to dip a brush in paint and water. With the potential for creativity abundant in each tool and medium they carry, Ito-ya harks back to a time when inspiration co-existed with messiness… and anyone who enters, even those who aren’t artistically inclined, leave with aspirations to incorporate more creativity into their lives.

 

This is the first post in a new series where we’ll be covering art supply stores all over the world. If you have suggestions for stores we should see, drop us a comment; we’re frequently on the road and love discovering new places.

11:07 AM Permalink

A Productive Pairing: Banner Engineering and Creative Cloud for Teams

Banner Engineering, a leader in industrial and process automation, brings marketing and technical literature in-house with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.

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Founded almost 50 years ago as a small electronics engineering firm, Banner Engineering has grown into a global leader in process and industrial automation. The company provides customers worldwide with industry-leading photo eyes, sensors, machine safety equipment, and lighting devices that increase efficiency, monitor quality, and safeguard employees.

Small team big output

The company currently offers thousands of innovative products and develops hundreds of new solutions every year. Despite its impressive product line-up, the company operates with a small marketing team that handles almost all marketing and technical documentation, including product and company brochures, tradeshow displays, success stories, product packaging, technical illustrations, videos, software GUI graphics, and a comprehensive printed product catalog with more than 1,000 pages.

Banner Catalogs“We have a lean marketing team for a company of our size, producing the output of teams two or three times larger,” says Delaine Suess, senior graphic designer for corporate branding in the marketing department. “We need to work as efficiently as possible.”

Banner has been using Adobe creative software as its standard for graphics and documents for the past eighteen years, but in a budget-conscious environment, didn’t always have the funds for every software upgrade. Now, with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, Banner has access to the latest versions of all creative software.

The right tools for the job(s)

Marketers use Adobe InDesign CC for documents, including Banner’s comprehensive, 1,000-page catalog. Adobe InCopy CC enables copywriters to proof and make quick changes to InDesign files even when working simultaneously with designers, making the proofing process faster and more consistent. For diagrams and icons, Adobe Illustrator CC is the standard used by Banner and its vendors, while Adobe Photoshop CC is used to edit a wide range of images.

Banner_3Products such as LED lights are difficult to photograph accurately, so Banner adds simulated lighting effects in Photoshop CC to give customers a better idea of products. Marketers also use it to composite images to show a product in use or to add effects, such as lighting, to rendered Autodesk 3ds Max files.

Banner relies on Adobe Acrobat XI for its proofing needs. Team members can review, edit, and comment easily within the PDF so all involved can easily track their changes during the proofing process. “We use shared reviews so our engineers and sales people can annotate PDFs consistently with familiar tools. And our marketing team can track progress and consolidate comments,” said Suess.

For a company with a small team, that creates almost all of its marketing and technical literature in-house, productivity is key. “Adobe Creative Cloud for teams gives us the exact tools that we need to get projects done as quickly as possible,” says Suess.

Read the Banner Engineering case study.

10:19 AM Permalink

Sundance Filmmaker Antonio Ribeiro Brings His Creativity Online

For those who were following the Sundance Film Festival this year, Antonio Ribeiro may be a familiar name. Ribeiro is the editor and producer of Things of the Aimless Wanderer, a film by Kivu Ruhorahoza.

Since his debut feature film Grey Matter, which premiered at Tribeca in 2011, scooping the Juri Special Mention and Best Actors award, Antonio has been collaborating with Kivu Ruhorahoza, creating Moon Road Films, a production company whose main mission is to find original new ways to tell stories. Their latest film is one of only half dozen or so selected feature films screened in the New Frontier category at the renowned festival.

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As if that’s not impressive enough, Antonio Riberio is also the man behind the film’s accompanying website. Although he doesn’t see himself as a web designer, that’s exactly the role he found himself in, as time was running out prior to the World Premiere of Things of the Aimless Wanderer.

When you have a film on your hands that you know is going places, you need an online destination for fans, critics and other stakeholders. You need a site that can support embedded video, have social media sharing capabilities, incorporate a tagging structure and host a blog. Oh, and of course it needs to look good and be easy to navigate, interactive, and intuitive.

In comes the Creative Cloud.

Ribeiro, who used Adobe Premiere Pro CC to cut Things of the Aimless Wanderer and Adobe After Effects CC to deal with some needed matting and mask work, is a Creative Cloud subscriber. He turned his attention from purple to green.

“Although I am not a web developer or designer, I started to explore the use of  Dreamweaver CC, as it provided an interface between language and design,” said Ribeiro. “Initially I was not familiar with HTML or CSS, but after using Dreamweaver CC and reading a few tutorials I was able to make sense of what I was doing.”

He did have some help. Ribeiro opted to purchase a website template in order to get a professional looking site off the ground without significant costs, time constraints or the technical demands of also learning how to be a full-fledged web designer. He loaded the template into Dreamweaver CC and began to explore, learning along the way.

“Dreamweaver has given me an understanding of what HTML and CSS do. Using the Live tab I can understand behavior through the ability to Extract Assets from Photoshop CC comps,” said Ribeiro.

“I feel it’s strange for me to say this, as I always feel slightly self-conscious that I am no expert, but I now have the confidence to look at a template and understand how it breaks down into its different components.”

Ingenuity is often born from circumstance, and Ribeiro certainly had a need to fill and a limited budget to make it so.

“After all, I am a filmmaker but if I can make and customize good looking sites for my different projects, then it’s a win-win situation,” said Ribeiro. “In this business, good presentation counts.”

In the end, from film to website, Creative Cloud touched each step of Ribeiro’s workflow. In many ways, he represents the kind of new creative who runs a small shop, wears many hats and learns to tackle new aspects of a growing business on the fly.

“The best thing I could have done, was to embrace the Cloud, where I can have access to all the programs I need for one single monthly fee,” said Ribeiro.

Learn more about Things of the Aimless Wanderer in this video:

Download a free trial of Adobe Dreamweaver CC today to start pushing your creative boundaries.

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