With generative AI expanding the ways that companies can create better customer experiences, Adobe last week reinforced its leadership position in genAI for business at its annual event for its core “creator” customer base, Adobe MAX.

If you’ve already heard what Adobe rolled out, skip ahead — but in case you haven’t, here’s a recap of the highlights. Adobe announced:

  • Six new models for its flagship genAI service, Firefly, each for targeting a different medium. Three are available immediately: Image 2, successor to the image model Adobe released in February with the launch of Firefly but delivering higher-quality images; Vector, for infinitely scalable graphics such as charts and logos; and Design, for typography (odd naming, since typography is just a tiny fragment of what design includes). Three more are in the works: Audio, Video, and 3D.
  • The ability to “interview” a PDF document through a genAI-powered conversational interface (in beta later this year). The idea here is that instead of reading the document, you would be able to interact with it by asking, for example, what the top three takeaways are and how they’re related to other PDFs you’ve read in the last three months.
  • More AI-powered enhancements across the product suite, such as in Photoshop and Illustrator, but especially in Adobe Express, which aims to empower people who are not design pros to create visual content effectively and on brand, including people in IT, product, HR, finance, etc., thanks to templates defined by design pros, locking certain elements that should not be changed.
  • A bevy of genAI-powered proof-of-concept demos (showcased onstage as “sneaks”). For example, one of them merged footage of a person walking in an office into footage of an outdoor setting — not simply compositing the two but changing the camera angles and scale appropriately based on an analysis of the 3D content of both scenes.

More Of Your Employees Will Create Visual Content

Adobe is not only all in on genAI but has staked out a lead and is widening it. We see two main reasons why the company is investing so heavily in this direction:

  • To augment and amplify the effectiveness of its core customer base of creators and designers
  • To reach and empower a broader customer base, equipping them to be less dependent on their design colleagues

I asked Adobe’s execs at the event about the introduction of the new models that go beyond images, since they would involve a significant hurdle that Adobe did not face for its Firefly Image model:

  • Adobe trained the Image 1 model on about half of the 300 million images that make up Adobe Stock, plus a collection of public domain images. For Image 2, the company incorporated the remaining 150 million images, as well as many more images extracted as stills from its collection of 20 million stock video assets. So far, so good.
  • But Adobe does not yet own rights to many audio or 3D assets, and the 20 million videos it does own are likely too few and insufficiently varied. To remedy this, the company has launched an aggressive effort to rapidly acquire the assets that it will need to succeed in these other mediums. Time will tell, but we believe Adobe’s track record and heft suggest the effort will be successful.

Prediction: Interaction Flows Are Next

We predict that the next model Adobe will tackle will be for designing the interaction flows that are at the core of creating software (apps and websites). Those are the purpose of Figma, which Adobe is seeking to acquire for $20 billion. The transaction is not yet finalized, however, and is under scrutiny, so this will happen only if the deal comes through.

You Can Now Differentiate And Operate Better

Companies that seize the opportunity genAI is bringing to the world of content creation will:

  • Differentiate better, because their design pros will be freed from the more tedious tasks and able to do more of their best creative work.
  • Operate more effectively, because their non-design-literate employees — in IT, HR, product, finance, etc. — will be able to communicate more effectively and even participate more in aspects of experience design.

Let’s Connect

If you’re a Forrester client and you would like to ask me a question about generative AI and design, you can set up a conversation with me. If your company has expertise to share on these topics, feel free to submit a briefing request. You can also follow or connect with me on LinkedIn if you’d like.