As the unanimous design standard of the last decade, Adobe, and more specifically Photoshop, has become more of a verb than a company or program. As the obvious choice for creative professionals to develop and deliver their projects, Adobe has enjoyed prolific exposure and growth with every new software release starting with their original Creative Suite (CS) package. Industry skills began to be measured against the CS benchmark, with hirable qualities determined largely on Adobe competency and specific program knowledge. The process of creative production has become so intertwined with Adobe’s products that they have become synonymous with each other.
Their new cloud-based service, Adobe Creative Cloud, which went live in June, took a radical change in direction within the market, announcing an end to perpetual software licensing. After switching to this subscription-only service, Adobe faced vocal displeasure in the creative community, but it also gained 500,000 subscribers within the first six months. As the debate rages on, agencies are left to wonder which side of the fence to land on – and if there are other, perhaps better alternatives.
It is not the intent of this article to review this latest release from Adobe, but rather to evaluate the creative culture fostered by the presence of these programs over the last decade. So how will this new market direction affect the presence of Adobe at a growing agency like Marketing Matters?
The Complete Package
The new CC Suite is fully loaded with programs, plugins and extra features that bolster creative output, even optimizing work for emerging formats like mobile or tablet. While the majority of these facets have been introduced to the market already, the striking change is in how the suite itself is being packaged for the consumer. Access to the entire CC Suite for one (relatively) small monthly payment is a major upgrade for those already invested in the service, allowing the opportunity to implement a broader spectrum of professional tools. As far as Adobe is concerned, the capacity to create is no longer constrained by the tools at your disposal – proposed instead is a very literal “kid in a candy shop” scenario with unlimited access to everything Adobe offers.
We must also consider the way we communicate between departments, individuals, and teams within an agency. In most cases, whether we realize it or not, we speaking the universal language of Adobe. Familiar with jumping from Illustrator to Photoshop to Fireworks to Acrobat, design professionals are fluent in this new visual dialect. Adobe allows the separate entities that compose a modern agency – design, interactive, account management, production, media – a common thread through which to develop concepts, present feedback and deploy their work.
Keeping The Creative Process Moving
Accelerating the pace of creativity is critical to the success of professional advertising and marketing organizations. Adobe keep the wheels moving by constantly improving cross-program compatibility (like Bridge, Lightroom or InCopy) and through innovating already groundbreaking technologies like Adobe Edge. With the Creative Cloud Suite, Adobe doesn’t necessarily provide something we haven’t seen before – but don’t be so quick to drag that opaque blue “Ps” icon to the trash can.
The new format still brings home plenty of bacon, as its presence strengthens the overall creative process, fuels serious in-house conversations and optimizes the vision of each project for the least design-conscious of clients. Adobe has become a lifestyle choice for those that use it, a daily interface used to gauge productivity and the primary option for virtualizing ideas. Recent acquisition of the website Behance, allowing users to upload work directly to an online portfolio, further extends the Adobe experience.
In many ways, the Adobe system is a microcosm of the daily interactions and successes at a full-service studio, as individualized specialties work together to create beautiful solutions as a team. The presence of Adobe at an agency like Marketing Matters establishes a creative framework that isn’t always obvious, but is impossible to ignore. It is within this context that we begin to understand that Adobe is less defined by its agency partners than the agency itself is defined by its ability to successfully utilize the latest suite of creative programs.