A critique on Adobe® Creative Cloud®: our love/hate relationship with the innovative creative software

In summer of 2013, Adobe announced a major shift in its software offerings: the end of relentless versioning of the Creative Suite (CS) to make way for its crown jewel, Creative Cloud (CC).

Four years later, some have continued to hold onto the last release of CS6, while others have charged ahead with the “latest and greatest” CC. As for us, we joined the movement kicking and screaming in fall of 2014. We’ve come to question if CC is really the best option, or if it’s the only option.

We made a pro-con list to illustrate our thoughts about Adobe’s Creative Cloud:

Pro #1: Access to ALL apps.

With Creative Suite, you only had access to the specific applications you purchased. With Creative Cloud, you can access your primary apps and dabble in others you wouldn’t have necessarily bought individually under the Creative Suite model. Creative Cloud has 28 desktop apps!

Con #1: Cost.

CC is not a one-time fee like CS. It’s a subscription you pay for time and time again, whether you set it up as a monthly withdrawal or an annual payment. Based on our past purchase/upgrade cycle, CC has been more expensive, which has been the biggest hurdle to overcome. After the first-year discount, CC costs tripled for our small business. Even with more available apps, we still only rely on the Big 5: InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Bridge, and Acrobat Pro. We are subject to comply with any cost increase, whether we like it or not, if we want to keep using our creative tools.

Pro #2: Despite its name, work offline.

You might think that Creative Cloud requires you to be connected to the internet to access any programs. That’s not the case. You do need an internet connection to download and update applications, but once you’ve done this, you can use your apps offline. An important piece of info regarding the cloud portion: a membership provides 20 GB of free cloud storage.

Con #2: At the mercy of Adobe.

This con is among our greatest concerns with Adobe CC. As a business, it’s imperative that we are always up-to-date with our subscriptions. Last fall (2016), we lost access to all CC applications on one of our “Creative Cloud for teams” accounts, while other users functioned normally. Instead of operating “business as usual,” the user and tech assistant spent the workday morning and afternoon contacting Adobe Support to resolve Adobe’s error. In the end, we lost billable hours and received a measly $25 credit from Adobe.

Pro #3: Get the latest updates.

A huge perk is receiving regular updates to any and all applications. With CC 2017, the latest version available, we’ve noticed a cleaner workspace and even faster loading and rendering times. After the launch of a new version, you can choose to install any updates as they arrive straight to your computer. These regular updates keep us relevant and educated on innovative discoveries in our industry.

Con #3: Mismatching versions.

With routine updates comes a constant need to watch for changes in interface and functionality. Clients and other team members can fall out of sync when they work on different versions within CC, meaning we may not be able to access documents as efficiently.

Our verdict

Whether you’re for or against “the Cloud,” you shouldn’t expect Adobe to take any steps away from its subscription-based services. Adobe’s market is in good health, so we know CC is benefiting the billion-dollar company.

For the record, we love Adobe products. We’ve been using their services since 1994. Their applications are innovative, robust and user-friendly. Would we recommend it? Yes, with a series of caveats, some listed above.

Monopolizing the market, Adobe surpasses all of its competitors. As users, we need to keep an eye on Adobe’s changes and be ready to question its functions and its rising rates.

Our solution

So how can businesses get more value from Creative Cloud despite the price increase?

1. Stay up-to-date. We aim to keep our Adobe products updated so we can work most efficiently for clients.

2. Use cloud storage. Collaborate and share high-quality, original files with clients and colleagues, even those who don’t have Creative Cloud.

3. Use more CC tools. We’re making an effort to expand our knowledge of CC offerings. What other apps can we utilize to increase our productivity? Take a look at what we learned about InCopy® and how to incorporate it into our workflow.

What Creative Cloud applications do you regularly use?

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Category: Technology, Tools
Tags: Technology, Tools
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