Nestled in the Traverse Mountains about a thirty minute drive south from Salt Lake City is Lehi, Utah, home to one of Adobe’s offices in the US. Calling it simply an office is doing the campus a disservice; opened in 2013, the cutting-edge space is home to over nine hundred employees, complete with a full cafeteria, large meeting spaces, and even a basketball court. Buzzing around this modern office maze is Drew Milton, an interactive art director with Adobe and AIGA Salt Lake City Director of Relationships. An advocate for Behance, he invited me to conduct a workshop for Salt Lake Design Week focusing on how to create and promote your online portfolio. It borders on incredulity to hear how many creatives, especially young graduates, fail to build or maintain their online creative portfolios, so I love to take any opportunity to show how important it is.
For anyone unfamiliar with Utah, the first thing you think about is definitely not the design community, and that’s the reason events like Salt Lake Design Week and organizations like AIGA are so important. When visiting, the first thing that hits you is how wide open everything feels. Coming from New York where buildings crowd out everything but sneaking rays of sun, the Salt Lake Region, including Lehi, felt Martian in comparison. Crisp air surrounded fast moving highways that hugged red-brown mountains dotted with housing complexes and shopping centers. Looking out into the distance, the grey mountains met a brilliantly blue sky. Standing in front of the massive Adobe Campus, all I could think about was what kind of creative work was coming out of place like this?
As I kicked off the presentation, it was great to see flurry of hands go up when I asked who was familiar with Behance. Besides the presentation, my attendees got to hear from David Habben, a long-time Behance member who was able to share some of his best practices and field questions from the group. He has a great wrap up here.
The best part of the evening, by far, was being able to speak one-on-one with a few members who are excited to get their careers started and share amazing work they find on Behance. Looking at some of their profiles, it’s clear that the physical environment of Salt Lake City definitely leaves it’s mark on the creative work coming out of it. A major concern many had was being able to find reliable work in Salt Lake since there’s certainly a pull toward the coasts for many creatives. What Salt Lake Design Week showed me is that there’s definitely a vibrant creative community with a style all its own that is worth being a part of. Whether or not Salt Lake will become a viable place for creative careers will have to be seen, but as technology continues to make businesses and careers less dependent on physical location, the odds are looking better than ever for Salt Lake City.