Traces of The Hand: Dave Kinsey’s Rendition of The Adobe MAX Logo
Every year we reinvent Adobe MAX to capture the essence and focus and heart of the creative community; and every year, a handful of people from that same creative community breathe new life into the Adobe MAX logo.
This year is no different. Except, this year, we asked the artists to come to us. To work in the basement studio of our San Francisco office. On a bare, mural-sized, dimensional version of the MAX logo. Visible from the first floor, everyone in the building could glimpse the projects in process and watch the work take shape.
Designer and fine artist Dave Kinsey, whose multi-layered, textured environments capture the complexity of contemporary life, was one of those artists. We asked him a few questions about his project, his process, his concept, and his construction:
How did you and Adobe “meet”? We first met in 1992 when I started using Adobe Illustrator.
What was your reaction to being asked to design a version of the MAX logo? I was honored. Since I’ve been using Adobe platforms for over two decades it made sense for me to give back to a company that’s helped facilitate my creative ideas for so many years.
Applying a design or artistic style to a logo makes it part marketing message and part art project. How did that combination affect your piece? From a purely aesthetic point of view, I wanted to create something that made sense visually, first and foremost. From there, I began to consider the dimensionality, which took it to a whole new level. I didn’t feel hindered or restricted in any way, and that’s what I enjoy about working with brands like Adobe; it’s all about the evolution of the idea.
How does your role as a designer mesh with your role as a fine artist? And how did that melding of identities and skills and toolsets affect this project? I always like to say that the fundamentals of design and painting are pretty much the same: color, composition, and visual communication. I don’t like to think that one outweighs the other when it comes to communicating ideas in a visual manner. It just depends on the urgency of the message and the mode the artist is in.
Talk a bit about your concept for the MAX logo. I went with an idea that was based on my most recent drawings—esoteric abstracted figures and images that are, in part, defined by simple shapes. For this project I liked the idea of utilizing simplistic design, which has a vector feel that I partnered with loose painting, or what some would call traces of “the hand.”
Did your work change from concept to final? I often prepare in advance when it comes to murals and/or public presentations. That said, I am always open to the occasional creative jolts, which lend a bit of excitement. I just flowed with it, if you know what I mean.
Your work is beautifully sculptural. Was it a struggle to get that dimensionality to transfer to the flat design of the logotype? Or did it help that you were already working on a dimensional surface? I really loved the dimensionality of it. It added a bit of improvisation to my process and kept the overall outcome a bit unexpected. I had it mapped out in my mind, so it wasn’t a surprise or anything like that, but it still made it fun and out of the ordinary for me.
When you’re working on such a large surface, do you sketch your concept loosely beforehand, or, more precisely, draw it to scale? I tend to have a pretty good idea of what I want the end result to look like before I start. As far as how I work, that’s a trade secret! 😉
Have you ever attended Adobe MAX? I haven’t yet, but I hope to check it out this year.
How was working in the Adobe basement workspace? I really loved the Adobe workspace. When they said it was in a basement, I expected the obvious. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised when I entered the space and was greeted by all that beautiful natural light. The ambience was incredible.
Music/background noise when you’re working? Yes or no? YES, absolutely! Creation wouldn’t be the same without it.
Finish this sentence: Inspiration always seems to strike…. like lighting—unexpected and without consciousness.
Dave’s days-long project in 37 seconds
There’s more of Dave Kinsey’s work and words in Adobe Inspire’s 5 & 3/4 Questions.