Graphic designers in Jordan are a forward-thinking group, according to Medhat Eid, an Adobe Community Professional based in Amman.
“Jordanian graphic designers like to learn,” Eid said. “They like adventures and exploring new things.”
Adobe's Medhat Eid addresses the crowd during a live demo. (Images via Samuel Wendel)
But there’s still a need for up-to-date training and advanced tools to help the local community innovate.
With his annual Inspire ME creativity conference, Eid is trying to give graphic and web designers in Jordan the cutting-edge software and guidance they need to keep exploring new frontiers.
Held from November 21-22 at King Hussein Business Park in Amman, the 5th annual conference was sponsored by Adobe and featured its Creative Cloud software package as a starring attraction.
Adobe Creative Cloud features a collection of software developed for all tricks of the design trade, including graphic design, video editing, web development, photography, and cloud services.
The main goal of the conference, according to Eid, was to introduce Jordan’s design community to the latest Adobe technology and provide live demonstrations by local design experts to show its potential.
But on a larger scale, the Inspire ME conference sought to engage with local web and graphic designers and serve as a springboard for more design innovation in Jordan.
In addition to designers, the conference also targeted local videographers, photographers, and just creative leaders in general.
Some of the inspiration for the Inspire ME conference comes from Eid’s attending Adobe’s MAX Creativity Conference in Los Angeles and seeing an opportunity to hold a similar regional event.
“With my experience there, I wanted to export my experience to Jordan,” said Eid, who also manages Amman’s Graphsense Creative Lab.
The first day of Inspire ME touched on plans from Jordanian universities to expand and update design-related training and courses.
Led by keynote speakers Dr. Ra’ed Qaqish -design faculty dean at Middle East University - and Dr. Muhanna Muhanna, the opening day’s discussion illuminated the gap between market realities and university curriculum.
Computer science is a popular area of study for Jordanian students, but some in the design and programming community think university programs aren’t adequate enough to meet the demands of a growing tech hub like Amman.
Fortunately, the Inspire ME conference not only discussed this issue, but it also provided live software demonstrations that served as crash courses in some of the latest design software.
And the most important discussion and live demo, according to Eid, focused on the emergence of mobile apps and what it means for design - and most importantly, how it can enhance creativity.
“When you have your mobile you can be creative anywhere,” says Eid.
Eid demonstrated for the audience how design is no longer confined to desktop computers or laptops, using the Adobe product Creative Sync to link projects on his mobile device and his desktop.
“Now you can design even when you’re driving or taking a bath,” Eid quipped.
Although the live demos were short and sweet, conference attendees got crash courses covering some of the market’s most cutting-edge technology from Jordanian design pros.
Mahmoud Jaber live demoed comic art creation, using the latest Photoshop to create stunning color illustrations right before the crowd’s eyes in only minutes.
Ammar Haffar created HTML-based animations for use on the web and digital publicationsusing multimedia-authoring tool Adobe Edge Animate.
Other live demos covered usability in user-experience design, as well as other software in Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
And at the end of the two-day conference, attendees left having seen some of the graphic and web design industry’s most cutting-edge software in action.
But, as the conference’s title suggests, the ultimate goal was to inspire the audience to go out and innovate.
Now it’s up to Jordan’s design community to creatively put that inspiration to good use.
“With our Inspire ME annual conference, we can spread the knowledge,” Eid said.