About Adobe XD
The Adobe XD Group is a global design organization responsible for the user experience of most of Adobe’s products. Once a year or so, we gather all of our designers, researchers, engineers, and other team members together in San Francisco for a week-long event where we share our work, build our relationships, and plan for the next year.
Adobe is in the midst of a cultural shift focused on bringing all of our experiences closer together. In service of this goal, we changed the format of XD Week for 2016. For the first time, we extended the invitation to people outside of XD who are also designers or who are working on making our customer experiences better. Our goal was to elevate XD Week from a team event to an Adobe event.
With that in mind, the event was renamed Design Week and the theme for 2016 was Convergence—meant to represent all of us coming together to build something bigger and better across products, services, and organizations. The XD Brand team took on the task of creating an appropriate brand system to support the goals and needs of the event.
Ideation + Initial Sketches
We explored the ways in which the idea of "convergence" could be expressed visually—forms literally converging on the page, shapes being overlaid on top of one another, and juxtaposition of subject matter (e.g. human versus machine). As we delved deeper, we became more interested in the notion of the Venn diagram, and exploring what happens in the areas where two objects intersect and create a new "third space."
Iteration + Building a Visual System
By sticking to pure geometric forms, we were able to start creating a system that would be flexible and scalable. We explored compositions on both square and isometric grids. In the process, we began to extract key elements and set guidelines.
We chose the circle as the consistent, anchoring element with which other shapes would converge on the page. The circle can embody multiple metaphors—a lens, a different world, or a unifed whole.
We also explored typographic treatments that would integrate well with the visual system. We chose Futura PT (Heavy 700) for its clean, geometric lines, and played with slicing the type along the axis of when two shapes intersected. The color palette and use of gradients were a direct nod to the Adobe XD brand.
We implemented the new visual system into a series of posters that promoted the events going on throughout the week and provided attendees with the schedule for each day as they arrived.
We designed a commemorative booklet that offered participants a detailed schedule of events and relevant information broken down by day. The cover was foil stamped in clear foil, and the booklet was saddle stitched with copper loop staples to create a bespoke item for people to keep.
XD Design Week 2016 Video
Show + Tell was hosted on the last day of Design Week, where members of the Adobe design community had the opportunity to showcase their work. In the spirit of this year's theme of "convergence," we opened the event with a video that was a collaborative, animated exquisite corpse project.
Volunteers were asked to create a 12 second animated short that started and ended with the same frame (below are the general guidelines that were provided to each person). The animators were given free license to create anything in between the beginning and final frames. The result was a series of short animations that worked on their own as interstitials during the Show + Tell event, and then created a much longer animated piece when compiled together.
The individual pieces were composited with animated titles to give each presenter their own unique introduction to the stage:
On stage at the Herbst Theatre in the San Francisco War Memorial Performing Arts Center for Show + Tell:
Gift Bags + Swag
Design Week participants were also given custom gift bags and Adobe XD swag. Each gift bag had been spray painted with XD logo stencils in an assembly-line, random fashion.
Art Installation: Paper Pixels
On Day 2 of Design Week, participants were engaged in an interactive art installation that would turn into the backdrop of the stage for the speakers in the afternoon. We fabricated ten 42x48 inch frames with steel wire grid panels welded onto them, and created a design that was made up of nearly 20,000 pixels at about one inch diameter per pixel that would sit behind the frames.
On the day of, people were given strips of different colored paper that they had to roll into a tube and place in the wire grid in a "paint by numbers" fashion. When all ten panels were covered with paper, they were joined together with zip ties and installed on stage to reveal the complete design.
Animators (in order of animation sequence)
Jason Linder, Alex Poterek, Tanya Siadneva, Troy Church, Johnny Hunter, Remon Tijssen, Michael Cragg, Anny Chen