How Adobe Stock helps ServiceNow Communications take center stage

Next Experience.

If Dan Durller’s career in graphic design could be described in one word, it might be “innovation”. In his current position as senior staff communication designer at ServiceNow, Durller creates eye-catching experiences that help top executives communicate more effectively across any medium, including keynotes and other presentations for tens of thousands of people.

ServiceNow is a company built on innovation. Its technology solutions break down siloes so people can work more easily and efficiently. With potentially millions of business uses for ServiceNow solutions, it’s important that the company’s employees keep on top of changes so that they can help customers unlock the capabilities that they need.

At an annual Sales Kickoff meeting for 20,000 employees, Amy Lokey, senior vice president and global head of design, wanted to communicate one of ServiceNow’s biggest design projects to date: The Next Experience, a complete redesign of every ServiceNow user interface. Employees needed to be excited about the change and understand why the redesign would make working with ServiceNow solutions even easier for customers.

With just weeks until Sales Kickoff, Durller set out to create a stunning visual presentation that would wow employees and convey the scale of the innovation, all while reinforcing the ServiceNow brand.

“Keynote speeches like this have a very fixed deadline,” says Durller. “We can’t patch in an update later; everything must be perfect the first time. My secret weapon was Adobe Stock. It helped me create a new concept overnight and deliver a presentation that literally had the audience on their feet.”

Image of an audience.

Reinforcing messaging with innovative visuals

Durller always starts communication designs with the script. The presentation provides visuals that reinforce the words and help the audience better understand the importance of the redesign. After some sketching and brainstorming about how to reveal The Next Experience, Durller came up with the idea of neon lines of light that would fly across the screen, eventually leading to images of the updated interface.

Using Adobe Stock, Durller quickly found a series of neon vector art that fit his needs. He brought the vectors into Adobe Photoshop to change the colors into the ServiceNow green. While stakeholders loved the idea, branding pointed out that neon didn’t fit with the ServiceNow brand. With just weeks left until the Sales Kickoff, Durller was back at the drawing board.

Adobe Stock to the rescue

For such a major keynote speech, especially one about the importance of design, Durller knew that the visuals needed to be polished and stunning. He went back to Adobe Stock to help him change direction quickly. Building off of the initial idea of flight, Durller decided to explore the visuals related to technology, space, and astronauts.

“One of the things that makes Adobe Stock so special is its search capabilities,” says Durller. “I can start by searching for simple ideas, like ‘astronaut’ and ‘motion’. One of the pieces that popped up was an astronaut in a space station. I could then use that as a starting point to search for similar images until I found 3D renders and video content that really fit what I wanted.”

Image of the Adobe Stock page.

Using Photoshop, Durller quickly created an animatic to share with stakeholders. In just one week, artists at Atomic Kid Studios used Adobe After Effects to layer the stock motion graphics into a seamless video that takes audiences on a Zero-G flight through a space station before revealing a laptop displaying the new ServiceNow interface — capturing the wonder and innovation of the new interface design.

“When you think of the amount of work that it would have taken to create and render the 3D motion graphics from scratch, we would never have come close to delivering on the quality we achieved by using Adobe Stock,” says Durller. “Adobe Stock makes work easier and better.”

Image of someone floating in space.

Exploring the next level of design with AI

When it comes to innovation, Durller is excited about the potential of artificial intelligence. He experiments with generative AI artwork as an alternative to standard stock photography when looking for images to complement the ideas in a presentation. He has even worked with ChatGPT to generate prompts which he feeds into generative AI imaging tools, turning himself into a creative manager for machines talking to machines.

“What I’m trying to do is find new, innovative ways to use technology purposefully,” says Durller. “I’ve been involved with the Adobe Firefly beta, and it’s blown my mind how AI can generate just the right visuals for any situation. But one of the best things about Firefly is how Adobe is approaching GenAI in an ethical way by using approved Adobe Stock imagery to power the artwork.”

When people want to create memorable communications, Durller suggests using a variety of media. Photographs, diagrams, illustrations, and charts can be a good way of supporting most ideas, while more dynamic video and motion graphics will get people excited for the key points and big reveals.

“I’d suggest trying to learn your favorite Creative Cloud apps inside out,” says Durller. “When you know exactly what the apps are capable of, that’s when you can start pushing the boundaries to deliver groundbreaking designs that stand out and grab people’s attention.”

"Just remember, all of these powerful Adobe tools and resources will deliver the biggest impact if you already have a strong concept and a well-crafted story established,” adds Durller.