There's nothing quite like the low chattering buzz of a room full of creatives, and that's exactly the feeling you got walking into the auditorium of 2000 attendees at the Adobe MAKE IT 2017 conference. (They were also streaming to another 12,000 people in the Asia Pacific region).

Speakers ranged from animation specialists to a war-time photo journalist, a crafting and props expert to Adobe's own product ambassadors and project leads. Despite the varying topics and areas of expertise, there were some strong discussion themes coming through. User or Customer Experience (CX) was definitely the word on the street (if you're a Sesame Street fan, you'll get that one). 

Alex Amado Adobe Make It

Adobe's VP of Experience Marketing, Alex Amado (pictured above), spoke about how they are inventing ways to bring their customers into the development and marketing phases of their business. He showed examples of creative projects they had commissioned around the world to market and deliver branding for Adobe.

"Audience engagement is today's great marketing currency." - Alex Amado, Adobe


To coincide with Make It, Adobe released a survey on change in the creative industry, which primarily looked at design and creativity and the role it plays in "experience business".

Some interesting stats to come out of the survey (which was worldwide, and included nearly 800 Australian and NZ creatives):

  • The biggest driver of change in the creative industry is the merging of online and offline experiences.
  • 56% of businesses has made strategic investment in areas of customer experience, 53% in social media and 43% in content
  • 54% of APAC respondents said that the most notable disruptor was new technologies changing the creative work practices
  • Despite CX being the biggest topic, only 22% of APAC creatives had actually designed a Customer Experience (CX) Program
  • 46% of respondents said the biggest challenge in delivering content was budget
  • 53% said Customer Experience (CX) was now at the centre of everything they do, 38% said they were starting to think about it more and 10% hadn't considered it
  • 45% of APAC respondents said they were updating their skills every 6 months to keep up with changes


There was a stellar line up of guest speakers this year, and if you missed the conference, you can catch some of their presentations here.

Timothy Goodman Adobe Make It

Timothy Goodman - Designer & Illustrator for Airbnb, Google, Ford, J.Crew, MoMA, Samsung, Target, The New Yorker, and The New York Times;

By far one of our favourites. He was laugh-out-loud funny and talked about how, as a creative, you've got to do lots of things you don't really love before you get to a place in your career where you can focus on doing what you want to do. If you ever get a chance to see him speak, take it!


Nicole Tung - Adobe Make It

Nicole Tung - Photographer for The New York Times and Wall Street Journal;

Nicole was an incredibly smart and passionate professional who had spent a majority of the past five years in some of the most dangerous places on earth, as a photo journalist. As a storyteller through images, she spoke about the importance of context within content.


James Noble Carter Digital Adobe Make It

James Noble - Founder, Director of Experience, Carter Digital

James brought home the message of the day, talking about the importance of User Experience and the role design plays in this.


Kitya Pilaskas Adobe Make It

Kitiya Palaskas - Craft-based designer.

Kitiya makes crafts and props, and spoke about the importance of old-school artistic (and handmade) skills, and how these can be incorporated in to design produced with new technologies.


Gareth OBrien Buck Adobe Make It

Gareth O’Brien - Creative Director of design-driven production company Buck

Gareth shared a number of his team's animated film projects and explained about their philosophy and strategy of working on passion projects to stimulate and help grow the team's skills, and how investing in this has lead to more varied and bigger paid projects coming their way.

See some of the videos of the guest speakers from the day here.


Finally, for those Adobe nuts out there (like us), a few product announcements to keep an eye on:

  • Project Felix - a super user-friendly program for 3D graphics and design
  • Character Animator - an animation tool in the Creative Cloud video programs, that can also now be plugged in to use for live animation on TV or Facebook lives etc.
  • Smartphone apps - be sure to check out their latest smartphone apps, all of which work with the desktop apps and Creative Cloud to sync projects easily between your phone and computer - GREAT for social media managers!