Having no rules can be a good or bad thing for the creative mind. In the branding world, we are so used to constructed briefs and established brand guidelines that it can be daunting when all you have staring back at you is a blank artboard. At the recent Cincinnati Adobe Creative Jam, that’s exactly the situation I found myself in, along with fellow Landorian designer Curt Rice.
In case you aren’t familiar with Adobe’s Creative Jam series, here’s a little background: The Creative Jams are two-part creative experiences where designers team up in groups of two and compete in a design tournament utilizing Adobe Creative Cloud software. At the same time, a group of creative leaders discuss their own creative process in the Creative Jam Presentations next door. After three hours and no rules, the teams present their work to the audience and jury, who choose the winning team.
This Jam’s theme: Throwback to the future.
The task: create a standout interpretation and representation of the theme.
When approaching our blank artboard, Curt and I knew we wanted to focus on one strong idea in the beginning, and then line things up from there. We spent a couple minutes spit-balling whatever came into our heads: the ’80s-’90s era, retro styles, time machines, clocks…and from there came the spark of an idea.
We realized that the idea of “throwback to the future” could be summed up in one word: timeless. It’s about something that nods to the past, while building toward the future.
The evolution of the watch is just one way to demonstrate this point. From the sundial and grandfather clocks to the wearable technology of today, there’s a notion of all ideas building off one another to keep society progressing and moving forward. The more Curt and I thought about this, the more we began to question where we sit in reference to the past and the future. Are we in a unique stage in the evolution of technology where one object is trying to do too much? Have we forgotten the basics from the past, and added too much to the future? In the end, we chose to represent “Throwback to the future” through a simple, classic watch. Dependable and simple, a product that will never go out of style.
The tricky part of the competition was remembering to reel in our concept and be realistic about what we could really accomplish in the allocated time. We also needed to fact-check our design decisions against our idea: Did the illustration style reinforce the concept? How about the layout? The color palette? To finish on time with a strong design, we played to our strengths and kept things simple, choosing to let the idea shine through and speak for itself.
For me, the most exciting part of the Cincinnati Adobe Creative Jam was seeing the beauty of collaboration and how different each team’s designs turned out. Not only was it a good brain exercise and a creative challenge, it was a fun way to get involved with the local design community.
Best of all, our design was awarded the People’s Choice award, acting as the perfect culmination to a night of fun, inspiring design.
See all of the winning designs here.
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