Adobe Max 2015

Last week I had the opportunity to go to Adobe Max, the creativity conference, located in Los Angeles. I wanted to write this blog post earlier, but I was too busy to finish it while I was in still in California. Anyways, I went to this conference because my dad was going to learn about Adobe products and he thought I’d be interested in it. Of course I was! Since I am still a student, I had to take some midterms early and do a bit of work before the conference, but otherwise I tried not to think about school while I was in California. This conference discussed upcoming developments in the software Adobe has, introduced new tools for users, I learned more about what Adobe software can do in my classes and hands on workshops, and it gave me a chance to network with other creatives around the world. Also, Nick Offerman (from Parks & Rec) was speaking at the Max Sneaks AND Fitz and the Tantrums and Cage the Elephant were preforming. Not to mention, they had an amazing student discount. Here’s my perspective of the Adobe MAX experience.

DAY ONE (Oct 5):
I woke up at 5 a.m. Monday morning (thanks jet-lag), but the first event didn’t start until 9:30 a.m. The first event was just a general session about Adobe and their newest products. You can look at this session online. One major topic brought up was CreativeSync, which is the technology that allows the assets you use between desktop and mobile apps to be put into a shared container and easily accessed. They also brought up other majors updates in the individual applications. InDesign delivers new online interactive publishing capabilities. Muse now has responsive design. The mobile applications that were introduced last year, like Adobe Shape and Adobe Color, have been combined into just one application. A new application, Adobe Fuse was introduced where you can create and customize your own 3D models and use them in Photoshop.
At the end of this session, they announced that everyone attending Adobe MAX would receive a Fuji camera and lens. The value of this camera and lens is around $1,000. (Today, it may be worth a little less because not everyone of the 7,000 attendees is into photography… hello Ebay) I couldn’t believe that they gave away this many cameras!
The session was supposed to go on until 11:30 but ended up going over until 12… I thought my first class that I signed up for was at 1 p.m. but it actually started at 12:30. Whoops. So I had to sign up for another class, which was about DKNG, a design studio that produces posters. The design team talked about their screen printing process and how they have become successful. They gave great advice on how to maintain one’s portfolio. They only put work in their portfolio that they enjoy doing so they can continue doing projects that they like. Such a simple concept, but great advice. They designed a poster for the conference that gave out.

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The second class was taught by Austin Kleon who is famous for his book, Steal Like an Artist. I’ve seen his TED Talk and was interested in seeing him in person. His scheduled talk was supposed to be about the Analog Desk, why it’s important to step away from the screen and have your own personal area without technology. He decided to change the topic to be about meeting people on the Internet. He talked about how he reached out to his followers on Twitter to try and contact a violinist from watching his son’s television show, Reading Rainbow. It’s a long story to try and explain myself. Austin does a much better job explaining it. I follow him on Twitter, so I knew the basis of what the story is about. He ended up finding and meeting the violinist, who was actually a fan of his work. Aside from the funny story Austin spoke about, he gave great advice as to how to reach out to someone on the Internet and advice on what not to say. As in, don’t ask anyone to follow you because that’s the saddest question on the Internet.

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The last class of the day was about a new Adobe tool that was introduced that morning, Adobe Fuse, which allows you to create customizable 3D characters and to alter them in Photoshop. This program will be available soon in it’s introduction period. It’s actually really easy to create a character, place it in Photoshop and then move it around by picking a position. There are some limitations to this program, like the 3D characters are all adults, no older or younger people, the outfits and limited, and there are some glitches where you do certain movements.

DAY TWO:
Today I decided to sleep in a little more (6 a.m.) to get up and go to my first session, Adobe Muse Hands-on Power User Tips and Tricks. For those who don’t know what Adobe Muse is, it’s a program like Dreamweaver because you can create and customize a website, but it’s without all the code. Muse Themes taught this class which dove right into different widgets to place into your website, how to customize those, and how to improve SEO. They were helpful and helped me look at widgets in a new way.

After this class was another general session which had four different inspirational speakers.
The first speaker was writer and illustrator Maira Kalman who spoke about her unique perspective she has on her art. She talked about the joys of a cup of coffee.
The next speaker was Brandon Stanton, photographer and founder of “Humans of New York”. He was by far my favorite speaker out of the four. I follow Humans of New York on Facebook and he is able to interview someone and find out very personal details of their lives. He talked about the risk he had to take to start Humans of New York and how his passion for photography helped guide him.
The next speaker was Elle Luna, she’s an artist, designer and author. She talked about the crossroads of shoulds and must. Essentially, she quit her job to focus on becoming an artist. She wants to inspire others to follow in her path and remember your own passions. This same idea of following your dreams is inspirational, but although this model worked for her, it doesn’t work for everyone. Not everyone who quits their day job will have the same success.
The last speaker for this session was Baz Luhrman, who is a film director and produced movies like The Great Gatsby. He staged his own grand entrance and was interviewed by someone on the Adobe team. He was a little all over the place with his answers, but he was very funny.

My next class was taught by Aaron Draplin and he spoke about 25 of the most important things he’s learned in his graphic design career. He also talked about McDonald’s and gave us some tips that weren’t exactly related to design, but that was okay with me. He’s absolutely hilarious, very talented and a great speaker.

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Then, I heard from Dave Cross who spoke about Photoshop layer and mask fundamentals. I know a good deal about Photoshop layers and masks, but I thought I could gain more knowledge on the subject. Most of this class was essentially a review for me, but towards the end of the class, he brought up new ways to use layers and masks.

My last class of the day was taught by Paul Trani and he talked about seven things every designer should be doing. He started the class by singing some old songs, so I figure the class couldn’t be so bad. He hit on some good subjects, like how designers should always remember the fundamentals, to not repeat the past, and to be aware of design trends.

At the end of that day was MAX sneak peeks hosted by Nick Offerman and Kim Chambers. This event is where we get to see what the Adobe development team has been working on and get a glimpse into the technologies that may or may not make it into future products and services. My favorite project was Project Faces, where you can create your own font. You get to pick it’s weight, serif or sans serif, and can then save that font. Honestly, every one of those projects that they brought up could be very helpful.

Then, some entertainment was with dinner that led up to the concert. Fitz and the Tantrums preformed first. Cage the Elephant preformed afterwards. They were both phenomenal. It was a great concert, but ended pretty late, so I didn’t get to sleep until late. It was a really long day.

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Wednesday was the last day of the conference. I was up early again, but was way too tired to be focused on the classes I went to. I’m sure learning 3D printing with Paul Trani probably would’ve been a much better class if I had some more sleep. So, I’ll spare you and won’t bore you with the details of those classes. All in all, great conference. I’m so glad I went and hopefully I will be able to go again another year!

Seven Things I Learned from a Freelance Designer

Today I had the pleasure of meeting a very talented freelance designer, Mason Brown. He’s a Georgia College Alumni and gave me a ton of insight on the professional world of graphic design. Here’s a few things I learned.

  1. Do something new everyday. Designers should have a love for learning. This industry changes very quickly. Everyday, a new software debuts while another one falls under the rug. No, you shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon every time a new, trendy software comes out. You can’t learn every software, that would be a waste of time. One should spend time each day to learn a new trick or perfect one of their own. His advice to me, as an upcoming designer (with nothing in her portfolio), was to spend a little time each day and design for yourself. For example, you can draw and then re-create what you’ve drawn into a vector graphic playing around with Illustrator or Photoshop. 
  2. Don’t take things personally. How to react to criticism is an unavoidable part of the creative field that one must conquer. One must learn to separate your ego from the mission. Accept criticism with a smile. It is difficult, yes, but in the end, the one making the criticism is probably correct in some way. It can be a humbling experience to accept criticism and learn from another’s perspective. An analogy that Mason mentioned was that “sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.” Sometimes designers can be so focused on the details that they have failed to see the overall view or mission. Don’t focus all your time on the bells and whistles of a project.
  3. Design is communication. I’m a mass communication major with a minor in rhetoric. I understand communication is an essential skill to have in everyday life. Design and communication are complementary skills. The copy in any design can be just as important as the design itself. Don’t show your work with loreum ipsum text. Even if you aren’t a copywriter, one should write something out instead of placeholder text. An essential part of design is also what the text is communicating. Someone may be more drawn to the actual text, rather than what the design communicates. 
  4. “We need to fail forward, fail fast, fail better.” This is a quote from the book Socialnomics, by Erik Qualman. A way to increase our rate of learning is to increase our rate of failure. Since Mason has background teaching at The Creative Circus, one of Atlanta’s portfolio schools, he knows first-hand that sometimes you have to put yourself out there and be willing to fail. You have to work to perfect your skills. You will learn from your failures. 
  5. “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso. The goal isn’t to steal and re-create works, but that can be a good place to start out. The goal for any designer is to create genuine and authentic work. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Mason says he receives inspiration from anything, such as architecture or Dribble.
  6. Cream rises to the top.  Do your time as an intern. Early on, put in the extra hours. Mason noted that as a beginner, sometimes you have to put in 12 hours to get 6 hours of work done. The rest of your life isn’t going to be like that. Get a reputation for being a hard-worker, it’s the soft skills (e.g. work ethic, professionalism) that will make you valuable. Don’t worry about the money, that comes after you get experience under your belt.
  7. It’s worth it. The lasting impression that Mason left me was that he loves what he does and has a rewarding job. He said he could make more money elsewhere, but this is what he loves to do.  After talking with Mason today I am even more excited for the opportunity to join the graphic design field.  

Try Thinking Before You Speak

I’ve worked in retail for about three years now. I’m currently an employee at Belk. When you work in retail for so long, you interact with customers, some nice and some not so nice. I could tell you all about them on this blog, but today, I’ll just focus on one customer interaction.

Yesterday, a woman at work asked me “When are you due?” Yes, she just asked when am I expecting a baby. I went silent, I acted like I didn’t hear what she said. She asked again. I responded “I’m not pregnant”. She then said “I guess you just have a little tummy on you”. She didn’t even apologize. That’s two insults. Since I am representing Belk, I had to suck up a smile and move on to the next customer as if nothing had happened. In case you are wondering if I do look pregnant, here’s a picture of me in the outfit I was wearing yesterday.

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Am I screaming pregnant to you? I hope not.
This is ridiculous for many reasons:
1. I’m not pregnant.

2. Just don’t. You shouldn’t ask if someone’s pregnant, unless you are 110% sure that they are.

3. You are a stranger. Even if I was pregnant, I don’t know you personally at all. It shouldn’t matter to a complete stranger whether or not I’m pregnant.

4. It is extremely rude and insulting. I am confident with my body, but even after she said that, the first thing I thought was “wow, I really need to go to the gym”. This should not happen. I should not look down on myself because of your comment.

5. Other consequences. If it was someone more insecure of themselves, that could lead to an eating disorder. One comment from a stranger could lead to an eating disorder. Have you heard of body insecurities? Yeah, that’s a thing because of comments like these.

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What’s even worse about this incidence is that it’s not the first time it’s happened. A couple months ago, a customer asked me if I was pregnant and when I responded with no she then decided to tell me it would be a great dress if I was pregnant. She didn’t apologize either. I haven’t wore that dress since that incident. A stranger had that effect on me. That is ridiculous.

I’m not one to rant about things, but I hope everyone that reads this will not go around asking people if they are pregnant. Please don’t be one of them. 

Whats a Snapchat Geofilter Anyways?

For those who haven’t heard of Snapchat or don’t have Snapchat, the concept of the application is to take a picture or video, and send it to a friend or all of your friends then it disappears forever (unless one of your friends screenshots it). Recently, Snapchat Geofilters have been gaining in popularity. Geofilters are a way to share where you are through filter overlays. They are specific to neighborhoods and special locations. Every Geofilter is unique and will change from place to place.

Whenever I traveled, I liked to use Geofilters to show where I was. Atlanta, Athens and Macon had one. Why didn’t Milledgeville have one? I wondered what the process was to create one. Turns out, anyone can create one and send it in to be approved, as long as it follows some guidelines. So, last month I made decided to make one. I’m not a great graphic designer by any means, but I tried and sent it into Snapchat for it to be approved. A couple days later, it was denied. This is what it looked like,

geofilter

Why didn’t it get approved? Snapchat sent me many reasons why it could have been denied: not original content, not visually interesting, not relevant, insufficient description, or non-transparent background. I thought it was interesting and relevant to Milledgeville, but Snapchat didn’t think so.

A month later, I decided to give it another shot. I made three more…

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geo3

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Then, I got three emails within the next few days. Two were denied and one was approved. When I got the email saying one was approved, I didn’t even know which one got selected so it was a surprise as to which one was chosen. It takes a couple of hours after it is approved for it to update within the Snapchat application. Then, I finally saw it on Snapchat. I was pretty excited about it. (If you’re my friend on Snapchat, I apologize about the overload of snaps you probably received) Everyone that has Snapchat can now use this filter in Milledgeville, this is the Geofilter that was chosen:

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After creating this, I received a lot of questions and feedback. Since Milledgeville is a small town, it was easy to search on Twitter and see what people were saying about it.

Some were happy about it:

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Some were maybe not so happy:

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And some were confused:

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And some were critics:

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The last one is kind of funny. I didn’t put too much effort into it, but Snapchat is the one that picked it.

Here are answers to two questions I was frequently asked:

1. How did you do it?
Photoshop. I’ve only taken one design class at Georgia College, so I may not be the best at Photoshop, but I can work my way around it. Also, I mainly used fonts from websites like dafont.com.

2. What is it?
It’s just a design with some text over it. Sadly, it’s not Lake Sinclair, I kind of wish I’d thought of that though. I thought about making something up that it was, like the land of Central State Hospital.

Moral of the story – If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

I hope this gave you some insight on Snapchat Geofilters. If you now feel inspired to create one, you can do so here.
Do you think Snapchat picked the right one? If you have any further questions, ask away.

From Intern to Employee

I’ve always been a fan of radio…. well, listening to it. I never thought I would work in radio. At the beginning of 2015, I hosted my own show at Georgia College’s radio station, 95.3 The Noise. My show ran Monday mornings from 9:00-10:30. It was called the Celeste Morning Show. Yes, I know that name may lack creativity, but what else should it be called? (If you have any better ideas, feel free to throw them out there to me.)  Anyways. I liked having my own show and I liked being heard on the air. Maybe I’m not that great, but that doesn’t matter.

Then, at the beginning of the summer, I started interning for Z97. It’s a bigger radio station that plays music in Milledgeville and surrounding areas like Eatonton, Milledgeville, Greensboro, and Madison. I haven’t had to do many menial tasks, no printing or coffee runs. I’ve done my fair share of t-shirt folding, but that’s where my skills from working in retail comes in handy. I’d say I’m pretty good at folding. My main tasks have included recording on-air advertisements, creating graphics for social media, and broadcasting at live remotes. You probably don’t want to hear anything I’ve recorded, but here’s an example of something I created for social media below.

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I’ve had a lot of fun working with Z97 as an intern… but as of today, I’m their newest paid employee! I’m excited to continue working with Z97. I will continue to learn and grow from my experiences. Hopefully, my voice can develop and I can stand to listen to my own on-air advertisements. In the meantime, go follow Z97 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

2014 Academic Summit – Can Story Telling Save a Life?

At Edelman’s 2014 Academic Summit, Caryl Stern, president & CEO, US Fund for UNICEF, shared how telling stories has helped the organization grow. Her topic was “Can Story Telling Save a Life?”

She wanted to tell the stories of the children she was working with. She didn’t want to give any general statements, she would rather dive deeper into the children’s life. Stern went to Africa in 2007 and her job was to weigh babies. There was a woman she spoke to that had just given birth. Stern asked her “Is this your baby?” in which the woman responded that it was the first one that had lived. She was very lucky that her baby had lived because of the poor conditions that the clinic had. The woman was also HIV positive, which explained why two other babies died from complications because of that illness. She would also have to walk four hours each way with her baby on her back to the clinic because that’s the only way her baby would survive. This is when something clicked for Stern. These people work so hard, and children are dying because of this disease.

The campaign “I Believe in Zero” was created. Thousands of children were dying and that number should be zero. Stern really believes that the number zero is possible. Her story and her experiences in Africa is what motivates her. This motivation came from the story of the woman who lost her two other babies. I love this story because she is truly intrinsically motivated to work towards the number zero every day.

I have not had the experience to travel overseas or experience anything remotely close to that situation, but I know if I did, I would have the same motivation as Stern. Also, I hope to work for a business who has a great story and wants to help others. I know UNICEF is a great resource and helps many. I hope to have a story to share someday.

To answer Stern’s question, I do believe story telling can save a life. Do you think story telling can save a life? Take a look at her presentation here.

Final Presentation – Advertising on Social Media

I completed my final presentation on the topic of advertising within social media. The presentation mentions many examples of what to do and what not to do. It covers many aspects of social media, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. Look at my prezi here.

Sources:

Bedussi, Jessica, (2014). And the Winners Are…The Best Social Media Campaigns of 2014. Ignite. Retrieved from http://www.ignitesocialmedia.com/social-media-trends/best-social-media-campaigns-2014/

Cassinelli, Alan, (2014). 14 Best Social Media Campaigns of 2014. Postano. Retrieved from http://www.postano.com/blog/14-best-social-media-campaigns-of-2014

Diaz, Anne-Christine, (2012). Oreo’s 100-Day ‘Daily Twist’ Campaign Puts Cookie in Conversation. Ad Age. Retrieved from http://adage.com/article/digital/oreo-s-daily-twist-campaign-puts-cookie-conversation/237104/

Hill, Kashmir, (2012). #McDStories: When a Hashtag Becomes a Bashtag. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/01/24/mcdstories-when-a-hashtag-becomes-a-bashtag/

Martin, Ben, (2015). Learning from Big Brands: Using Emotion in Social Media Campaigns. Digital Marketing Magazine. Retrieved from http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/articles/learning-from-big-brands-using-emotion-in-social-media-campaigns/1801/

Money, Rachel, (2008). Viral marketing insights from WillItBlend.com. Wordtracker. Retrieved from http://www.wordtracker.com/academy/resources/case-studies/case-study-willitblend

Quenqua, Douglas, (2009). Friends, Until I Delete You. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/29/fashion/29facebook.html?_r=2

Ranney, Megan, (2014). Five Top Social Media Campaigns of 2014. Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2014/10/31/best-social-media-campaigns-2014/

Schoultz, Mike, (2014). Lessons to Learn from the Will It Blend Marketing Campaign. Digital Spark. Retrieved from http://www.digitalsparkmarketing.com/creative-marketing/marketing-strategy-creative-marketing/will-it-blend-marketing-campaign/

Vaynerchuk, Gary, (2011). Old Spice Man Marketing, Redux: What went Right—and What Did Not. Fast Company. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/1737010/old-spice-man-marketing-redux-what-went-right-and-what-did-not