Adobe MAX creativity conference: Here’s what to expect

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Today’s the day. Adobe MAX. It’s a massive gathering of creative folk from all over the world – designers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, web and mobile developers, and audio specialists. The annual creativity conference to be held at the San Diego Convention Center, is an intense three-day event of learning, sharing and creative inspiration.

MAX first started in 2003 with Macromedia, a company Adobe acquired two years later. As you may know (I reflect on this here), Macromedia gave us Freehand, Flash, Dreamweaver and Director. Since then, Adobe has continued the tradition of holding the convention for creatives, although its original roots was in coding.

While attendees tend to be toward the pro level, if last year’s conference is any indication, it has transformed into a congregation of enthusiasts from all sorts of creative subjects.

Future of creativity

Like previous years, Adobe will use MAX to introduce updates to its products and services during its keynotes – Creative Cloud, Adobe Stock, etc.Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Media at Adobe, will be delivering the opening keynote that will touch on the future of creativity and design.

Day 2 will be no less interesting, where you’ll hear from artists like filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, photographer Lynsey Addario; fashion designer Zac Posen; artist and sculptor Janet Echelman; and winners of last year’s Sundance Project 1324 challenge.

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Sneaky peaky

That aside, its MAX Sneaks event hosted by actor Jordan Peele, will happen on Day 2. This is where it goes behind the scenes of what the future holds for creatives. Expect to see previews of its up-and-coming innovations, unreleased ideas conjured in Adobe’s labs.

Packed tracks

In between, there’s a packed schedule of hands-on labs, and track sessions hosted by Adobe and industry experts. Subjects covered include Creative Careers, Graphic Design & Illustration, Photography & Creative Imaging, Video and Web & App Design. In total, there are a total of over 200 expert speakers.

For typo fans, there will be a good buffet of type- and lettering-centered presos. One of them is The Secret Language of Movie Posters happening on stage Thursday, 3 November.

Don’t forget the pavilion floor where you’ll be able to experience offerings from participating brands. Attendees will get exclusive offers from sponsors (both on the floor and online). Check 13 special offers listed here.

And there’s plenty more.

Full MAX agenda here:

The best things in life are… free

The great news for MAX attendees is free gifts Adobe gives away at the conference. Looking at what’s transpired over the past few years, part of the excitement is – what is Adobe going to give this year? Last year, all attendees (excluding press, boo!) were given a free Fujifilm X-T10 mirrorless camera. Yes, for real.

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In 2014, everyone took home a free Microsoft Surface Pro 3; while the year before it was a Samsung phone.

Seeing a full conference pass (full price) to MAX is US$1,595, this is a nice little bonus.

Then there’s the massive MAX Bash party. Alabama Shakes. The Mowgli’s. ‘Nuff said.

Catch the action online

If you can’t attend Adobe MAX, don’t fret. You won’t be taking home free gifts, but you can catch all that’s happening via MAX online.

Catch the two keynotes live at

Day 1 Keynote: The Future of Creativity and Design

  • Wednesday, 2 November
  • 9.30AM PDT (00:30AM MYT)

Day 2 Keynote: Community Inspires Creativity

  • Thursday, 2 November
  • 10AM PDT (01:00AM MYT)

It’s going to be a massive couple of days. Prepare to be blown away!

Follow me for updates:, and also on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

The official hashtag is #adobemax.

Disclaimer: My Adobe MAX trip is generously sponsored by Adobe System. My opinions posted here are on my own.

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