The Relationship Between Creativity and Technology: It’s Complicated

Creative professionals are tasked with balancing creativity with technology, this balancing act can be a difficult one. The speakers at this year’s Adobe MAX, a gathering of 14,000 multi-disciplinary designers, tackled this concept head on. The event embodied this intersection with beautiful creative installations and exciting event technology. Read on to find out more about this fascinating program and what we took away from it.

All about AI: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are hot topics in many industries today, but you may be surprised to learn that these technological advances are relevant to the design world too. Developments in these technologies will enable many creatives to do their jobs faster and better than ever. Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO, spoke to this during his keynote. He believes machine learning and AI will change every aspect of technology, including tools being used by designers. He did qualify this statement, however, with the belief that no machine will be able to mimic the full creative ability of the human mind. This compelling keynote got us thinking about the future of creative technology and reminded us of the importance of staying up-to-date on advances in design technology to stay relevant and productive.

An Inspiring Space: Adobe MAX was stunning. We assumed that an event focused on design would be, but somehow, we found ourselves repeatedly impressed by the thoughtful design elements we saw throughout the experience. We appreciated the unique art moments in the space, as well as personality-rich lounge areas in the expo hall that welcomed relaxation and conversation among attendees. Adobe created custom, event-themed enamel pins that attendees could collect around the conference and adorn their badges with. Additionally, the “MAX Game” was an activity that encouraged the group to visit as many expo booths as possible, promising a prize for the attendee to first reach a certain number of visits. The attendee party (“MAX Bash”) featured themed areas that guaranteed any attendee an interesting space to party or network. Adobe clearly put extra thought into the attendee experience.

It’s on You: Albert Watson, revered fashion and celebrity photographer, spoke about creatives’ relationship with their tools. He emphasized that although design and editing software is important, we need to remember its limitations. To that end, he emboldened the audience to hone their creative force rather than relying on their tools too heavily. Watson uses photography as an example: invest in the planning of taking a photo while you’re in the moment, rather than trusting Photoshop to enhance it later. Watson encouraged the audience by reminding them that anything is possible, not just because of technology, but because of drive, passion, and hard work.

We left Adobe MAX with a lot to ponder, knowledge of new software features, and most of all, inspiration. Keep an eye out for the creative work we’ll be making using the new features announced at Adobe MAX!