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Adobe Max

The Adobe MAX Experience

Several members of our design team attended Adobe MAX in Los Angeles and brought back a wealth of inspiration, piqued by Adobe’s community-first approach. Rather than installing a one-to-many showcase of the latest and greatest, the event took the form of a three-day festival celebrating the creative community.

The biggest challenge to event marketers today is finding new ways to keep attendees involved and engaged. However, with new technologies, you can thread branded communications and design through your event strategy. Adobe MAX serves as a great example of understanding your audience, your brand, and delivering an unforgettable experience.

We think these takeaways can provide valuable insight to consider when planning your next event.

Take Notes from Music Festivals

This past decade has seen the revitalization of music and arts festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Burning Man, all of which have plenty of borrowable qualities. What they excel at is bringing communities together by encouraging active participation in some way. The agenda doesn’t just contain stage acts but supports a healthy amount of controlled wandering. When you’re not at a scheduled gathering, you’re interacting with activities, exhibits, and art.

MAX filled its space with booth after booth of creative demonstrations. The expo room contained photography shoots, tech displays, and art walls, designed aesthetically to model the feel of a design studio. Similar to a music and arts festival, there’s plenty of destinations to land and areas to explore. When thinking about what attendees will takeaway, sometimes a fun flex of creative freedom speaks volumes.

Creating FOMO

Secondly, it’s important to emphasize the cost of missing out. An essential component of hosting an event at this scale is creating word of mouth. An easy way to get people buzzing is to release exclusive activations and content worth more than the price of entry. This could be a learning opportunity, new product demo, or just a really fun time.

Months in advance, MAX’s registration process asked each attendee about the experience they wanted to receive. Breakaway options were available including workshops, labs, and classes on various design topics. Whether it was a UX/UI bootcamp, InDesign tutorial, or photography lesson, each gave the opportunity to collaborate with peers and pick up Adobe skill in the process.

Day two was capped off with MAX Bash, a celebratory stroll off the beaten path. Taking full advantage of the LA scene, Adobe provided attendees with plenty of “Instagrammable moments.” Instead of using the space for product promotion, it was a chance for attendees to enjoy creativity for the sake of it. Light displays, cereal walls, glitter etch-a-sketches, and cocktails paved the way, eventually leading towards the neighboring Staples Center. Once inside, live music from Vampire Weekend closed the evening.

Customize Your Keynote Format

Thirdly, it’s important to set your keynotes up for success. The TedTalk, Steve Jobs format doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all for your speakers. Executives are probably more geared to deliver a presentation than a musician. Strategizing how you’ll get the most out of your keynotes is a great way to connect with your audience and avoid glossy eyes.

Several speakers at Adobe MAX included Billie Eilish, Dave Grohl, and ‘Visual Artist’ Shantell Martin. It’s one thing to get big names to come, it’s another to have them serve a purpose. Music guests, Eilish and Grohl, were displayed in a talk show setting in order to provide more structure to their thoughts, while Shantell Martin was given the stage and shared a beautiful story about her rise as an artist. Audiences get restless with repetition, and in this case, the mixture of devices created a truly inspirational experience.

Focus on the Narrative

Right when you enter the Convention Center, there sits a massive chalk wall available for all to draw on. When you leave, it’s coated with signatures, doodles, and designs—each unique and vibrant. It serves as a reminder that the creative field is a sum of its parts and it’s up to the individual to see what others don’t.

Festivals, conferences, and conventions take energy to attend. However, the take-home narrative should shine through the exhaustion. Our design team left with inside product knowledge, acquired Adobe skills, and a recharged sense of creative freedom. Every element at MAX was centered around the idea of community and underlined that Adobe was developing tools by creators—and for creators.

The challenge is to design an event experience that is both inclusive to your audience and representative of your brand. A successful event provides a snapshot of your company’s ethos and leaves attendees with a clear sense of the direction you’re heading. With the growing number of digital touchpoints, an event is your chance to create something personal and deliver an experience your attendees can’t get anywhere else.

Want to learn more about melding creative and event marketing executions that drive impact? Contact us at!