5 things we learned at 99u
Last month, we sent our Adobe Student Ambassador Chris Chatzisavvas to the Big Apple to attend 99u. The three-day conference is a one-of-a-kind live experience that inspires creative professionals to bring their ideas to life and shape the future of the industry.
Packed full of inspirational talks from industry leaders at the likes of MoMa, Instagram and Pentagram, and interactive workshops full of career-building tips and tricks, here are Chris’ top five take-outs for getting ahead in the creative industries…
1. Keep it simple
Chris: One of the points that stood out to me was the importance of simplicity in design. During a talk with 99U founder Scott Belsky, he stressed the danger of overcomplicating things. When coming up with new ideas, making products simple and accessible is the key to success.
2. Learn from your successes (and your failures)
C: Buzzfeed’s Senior Producer Erin Phraner explained that his team re-watch old videos they have produced in what they call a “learning loop,” giving them a chance to think about what worked well and what didn’t, so that they can apply those learnings to their next piece of content. Learning what worked and thinking about what you could do differently is something that all aspiring creatives should do when evaluating the success of their projects.
3. One size doesn’t fit all
C: Natasha Jen, Partner at Pentagram explained that most designers spend too much time trying to replicate others in the industry. She said that rather than following their lead, you should find your niche and own it. Discover what makes you different and once you do, in the words of Jen, “you can see your own playground.”
4. Courage is just as important as confidence
C: Host of Design Matters podcast Debbie Millman highlighted how nearly every single one of the designers that she has spoken to over the years has concerns and worries about their work, no matter how successful they are. Funnily enough, the only ones that were confident were over the age of 80! “What’s more important than confidence, is courage. When we start something new, how can we expect to be confident?” Seems about right!
5. Design is now the foundation of most businesses
C: Bryan Lamkin, Adobe’s Executive Vice President of Digital Media was greeted by loud applause when he explained that he worked at the company before Photoshop had layers. His talk conveyed how the design industry has changed over the years, noting; “Initially, design was the ‘fix it’ team. ‘Can you make the experience better?” Before explaining that now, “the best businesses are built with design leadership.” I couldn’t agree more.