CreativePro Conference Speaker Spotlight: Michael Ninness, Designer, Dad & Beachcomber.

Welcome to our new series of posts called Speaker Spotlight, designed to highlight each of our upcoming CreativePro Conference speakers. We’ve assembled a dream team roster of Photoshop and Illustrator gurus, and thought you’d like get to know what makes them tick, why they’re passionate about what they do, and what you can expect to learn from them at the conference. (Our previous Speaker Spotlight was on Von Glitschka.)

The subject of this Speaker Spotlight is Michael Ninness.

Michael Ninness grew up in the Redwoods of Arcata in Northern California. He moved to Seattle in 1989 to study for a Graphic Design BFA at the University of Washington and fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. He paid his way through design school by teaching designers and photographers how to use digital tools and techniques. Michael has had a multi-dimensional career, with more than 15 years of experience as a product manager and user experience designer of software used by creative professionals. His current title is Senior Director Product Management, Web & Graphic Design at Adobe.

Michael currently lives in beautiful Santa Barbara with his wife and two daughters and can be found aimlessly wandering the beaches and lush forests in his spare time.

The Michael Ninness File

Ninness Discoveries


For some mysterious reason, Michael has the knack for discovering heart-shaped rocks during leisurely beach walks and mountain hikes. The art of looking for them is a unique form of meditation and helps him to decompress and relax. He finds so many of these beautiful natural-expressions of love that he now enjoys combining them with old metal type drawers to created unique wall hangings that he distributes as gifts to lucky family members and close friends.

First computer: The first computer I purchased myself was a Mac IIci in 1990. It cost $4,000, which was 10 times more than I paid for my first car. (A 1969 VW Bug, btw.)

Do you prefer pen and paper or keyboard: It depends. If I’m taking notes during a meeting or a conference session, definitely pen and paper. But if I’m writing a long-form letter or email, definitely a keyboard.

What tech hardware do you use the most: My iPhone and my 13” MacBook Pro.

Favorite websites: Google Maps, Wired, Fast Company, Behance, The Noun Project, Cotton Bureau, Netflix

Favorite authors: Daniel Pink, Malcom Gladwell, Seth Godin, Ken Robinson, and Clayton Christensen.

How many cellphones have you dropped/broken: None!

Elvis or the Beatles? Beatles.

Tell the truth, ever worn sandals with socks? Uh, no.

Coffee is… A love hate relationship.

At 6AM I am usually: Walking my dogs or driving my daughter to swim practice.

Ninness Speaks at CreativePro Conference 2016If you could only use one piece of software for the rest of your life what would it be? InDesign.

What do you like best about being a speaker at Conferences like the CreativePro Conference? Helping people get the most out of their creative software.

How did you meet David and Anne-Marie? I met David in 1992 when we were both speakers at The PageMaker and The QuarkXPress conferences, produced by Thunder Lizard Productions. I met Anne-Marie (Her Geekness) when I recruited her to be an author for

Are there any sessions (other than your own) that you are excited for at the CreativePro Conference?  Real World Creations, with Bert Monroy. What Bert is able to create always astonishes me. I could watch him “paint” for hours. Plus, it never hurts to be in a room with someone with such a generous spirit.

An Illustrator Power Shortcut from Michael

The fastest way to remove the stroke from a selected object?
Press the “X” key to switch to the Stroke proxy, then press the slash key (“/”).

Where can you find Michael on the Web




Twitter: @mninness 

What past conference attendees have to say about the Beachcomber

“Wanted more time for Michael Ninness’s power tips session, and I think the rest of the room agreed. The audible moan when he said his time was up should tell you something.” ~ 2014 InDesign Conference attendee

“Michael Ninness was outstanding. Could have listened to the “power shortcuts” session all day! Wish this one was recorded :)” ~ 2014 InDesign Conference attendee

Register today for the CreativePro Conference!

Don’t miss out on a great show and a great early bird deal! Get $100 off registration now through May 16th!

See you in Minneapolis, Jul 10-13th!

Posted on: May 4, 2016

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