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October 30, 2020

In 2020, hearing that an event went virtual is normal. We’ve seen that shift from film festivals to Comic-Con and even presidential fundraising events.

For me, the most exciting event came when Adobe announced the shift of their annual Adobe MAX conference to be not only virtual, but also completely free. As a designer, I spend the majority of my day wrapped up in some piece of Adobe software using different methods of creative problem-solving to make a graphic. Each year I am amazed by the different features they have added to their software that make my life easier. 

The event ran for three days at the end of October, with each hour filled with several sessions and labs that were categorized under different tracks. Sure, the event started off a little rocky with some technical errors around the second or third hour, but with a virtual event where hundreds of thousands of people are in attendance, things happen. They provided access to giveaways and sweepstakes people could enter, networking rooms where you could be connected with up to 200 people at a time, and even virtual Art Walks where you could see murals in Senegal, Taiwan, Mexico, Spain and Japan. 

Screenshot via Adobe MAX

There’s so much you can do with these programs, and so many different ways to approach design. I was excited to be able to sign up for labs that were taught by many artists and designers whom I admire. I’ve always seen learning as a lifelong experience, and having the information directly at my fingertips sure does make it easier.

The event also had some fun ways to break up the mass waves of information that viewers were inhaling. They had streams of the ocean, puppies playing, and random celebrity talents. I watched a video where Stanley Tucci taught me how to make an Old Fashioned, and it was wonderful. 

Screenshot via Adobe MAX

The creative suite of programs that Adobe provides gives you an endless amount of potential to create. One word that was used a lot during the conference was innovation. Innovation and creativity aren’t that different. I think you need to be creative to be an innovator. You need some sort of creative spark to come up with that new idea that changes the way you do things. Other people are constantly innovating, which then makes it easier for designers to create, and even allows for more room for creativity.

When you have to spend less time on a tedious activity like removing a background from an image by hand, you suddenly have more time to try something new. That’s one of my favorite parts about the new versions of software Adobe releases each year. It always feels like Christmas morning after I download them and spend hours playing with the new features and seeing how some of my favorite tools have improved.

There is no better time than right now to start creating for social media. Visuals are captivating, and they have the ability to stop someone from an endless scroll. Especially right now, in the heightened political climate we are living in, one photo, video, or graphic has the power to stop someone in their tracks, and even potentially change an opinion. Using these creative skills on social media is vital if you want to have the ability to make an impact. 

You don’t need to be a designer to create. One of the most indispensable tools that a lot of people have access to are cell phones. Taking photographs has never been easier when you always have a camera in your back pocket.

Take advantage of the tools you have around you and find the ways that they can help you create something beautiful. 

About the Author

Cailin Giles

Cailin grew up in central New Jersey, about 65 miles north of Thomas Jefferson University, where she graduated in 2019. Her love of animation began at a young age by excessively watching a VHS tape of 101 Dalmatians until it broke. Over time her creative passions expanded, and she discovered an excitement for visual design.

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