Adobe Design Summit and Cultural Bias

There are literally hundreds of designers working at Adobe in offices all over the world. Back in July we got all of them together for four days of lectures, workshops and discussions from both Adobe staff and guest speakers from outside the company. We called it Design Summit; a huge internal design conference held in San Francisco’s massive Pier 35 event space.

One of the most popular sessions was this talk from Zimbabwean designer Farai Madzima, who joined us for the second day of our conference, flying in from Ottawa where he works as a design leader at Shopify. In a truly not-to-be-missed lecture, Madzima floored the audience with his thoughts and experiences on cultural bias in design. If you only watch one video today, make sure this is it:

Design Summit was, for me, a thrilling reminder of Adobe’s commitment to the craft and the industry: We paused projects all over the company for a week; spent a small fortune flying designers in from every corner of the globe; held a special invitation-only event for the Bay Area design community; and discussed process, creativity, accessibility, diversity, inclusion, technology, ethics, the future of the craft, and more—truly a range and depth of design discussion that few if any companies would ever entertain.

On top of it all, it’s worth noting that the event was also visually stunning, thanks to the stellar work of the Adobe Design Brand Team. They created this beautiful identity system from whole cloth, all inside of just a few months and alongside their regular workload. They then implemented it in just a few days as environmental graphics throughout Pier 35, as smart looking swag and paraphernilia distributed to every attendee, as video interstitials on stage—and even in the form of pop-up shop inside the event space. Amazing work; you can see more if it in this Behance project.

Identity Graphics for Adobe Design Summit
Installing Graphics at Adobe Design Summit
Shop at Adobe Design Summit