The Adobe Suite- Democratized Versatility For All
Dan Schunk, Director, Head of Creative Retail Ads of Walmart Media Group
How many of you have ever used Illustrator or Photoshop?” I remember the question on the first day of my Graphic Design 1 class. Looking around the room, a half dozen people raised their hands out of the 20+ in the class. I was not one of those with a hand raised. This was 2006, just three years after the first version of Adobe Creative Suite had come out. “Shit, I’m behind already.” I thought.
The idea of catching up is something that doesn’t go away in the ad and tech industry as well. We are continually striving for better ideas, more precise insights, and a better way to influence the audience where they already are.
Looking through past advertising, you can see the trends. The long-form print ad, followed by the TV spot, experiential tricks, or hacks on outdoor structures, then the interactive experience/parallax website, the mobile app, Facebook experience, etc. Throughout the years, we have always looked for new ways to inspire people in different mediums and locations.
Despite the changes in the landscape and the various mediums and areas of where we are influencing people, the beginning is always paired with:
The Insight + The Idea + The Tool
Photoshop, Illustrator, and the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite will not turn a bad idea with no relevance into a great idea, but it will give you the power to create anything you imagine. So it will allow you to turn your amazing idea, your inspiration into a reality.
I am a Creative Director with an art direction background. I have worked on both the agency, in-house, and tech side. I am currently in-house leading the Walmart Retail Ads Creative team.
When I began my career, it seemed a little bit simpler. There were art and copy. Some people began to label themselves as interactive art directors, and then social, creative teams came, etc. Titles aside, Adobe has not only created efficiency, but it has given me the power to help scratch the surface of things I am not formally trained in.
I am not a product or UX designer, but I am knowledgable in user experiences. With Photoshop and Adobe XD, I can design wireframes and link files, so when I present a user flow, I can showcase it across numerous devices and show functionality.
Like creatives, Adobe is also using The Insight + The Idea + The Tool model.
They are seeing the trends that are coming into the industry, and they are building products to support our ideas. Some examples are:
There is a continuous need for higher quality stock photography, essentially photography that does not look like stock. This paved the way for Adobe Stock in 2005.
The need came for showcasing wireframes that could be tied together and exported for numerous devices. This led to Adobe XD in 2018.
Augmented Reality is becoming a new way of storytelling, and brands are leaning in. Creatives need a way to easily create AR experiences that can be shared across multiple platforms. Enter Adobe Aero in 2018.
Aside from different executions and mediums, the need for real-time content has also drastically changed how creatives work. There used to be a time when there were 3 months of lead time to develop and execute a campaign. Now quick-turn responses or ads that play into a cultural movement are needed and craved. From a smaller scale, when working on a massive e-commerce platform, many ad units are created every week. With Photoshop and a line of code, exporting multiple files at different sizes and file weights are done automatically instead of one at a time.
Throughout my career, Adobe has created efficiency and streamlined the creative process. From creation to exporting files, to executing new experiences in a simplified format. Adobe Creative Suite has and continues to be the primary tool for creatives. As our culture evolves and new technology advances come into play, it is important we see it for what it is. Technology and softwares are tools to help us execute our ideas or reach people in the places they already are. They make our lives easier as creatives and allow us to do things that 15 years ago would have been hard to imagine. Adobe has enabled us to showcase our creativity and our ideas. The labels of social and interactive creative teams have fallen away because Adobe has helped level the playing field.
Thinking back on my college years, I remember a professor saying that Adobe Photoshop was endless. There are so many ways to do things and different tricks, and you’ll never know it all. Fifteen years later, I couldn’t agree more.