My preliminary thoughts on Adobe’s Creative Cloud

Not to date myself too horribly, but the internet was just starting to become mainstream when I graduated from college in the spring of 1996. Back then, our design portfolios were made of paper – not pixels. Email wasn’t all that common yet. And *gasp* – we had to lay type by hand with those stupid rub-down transfer sheets that were way too expensive for any starving design student to reasonably afford. So yeah – I’ve seen computers and the internet rise from nothing and grow into powerful tools that we depend on daily in our professional lives.

When Adobe announced their Creative Cloud Service earlier this year, the stubborn old man in me immediately snubbed it as something that would never work – I mean, why in the world would anyone want to be locked into an endless subscription package to use their software? The idea of “renting” my beloved Adobe applications did not sit with me well at first.

But then I did the math. I have typically been on a three-year upgrade cycle with Adobe. I am a heavy user of Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Fireworks – so that means that the best value for me (in the past) was to purchase their Web Premium Creative Suite. Whenever I bought a Creative Suite, I held it for three years before I finally upgraded to the latest version. These Creative Suites run on the average of $1700. So…I noticed that Adobe is selling their Creative Cloud subscription service for $50/mo (it’s actually $30/mo for existing CS users – limited time only), and for someone like me who is on a three-year upgrade cycle, the total cost comes to $1800. That’s not too shabby, considering that with the Creative Cloud, you get:

  • Access to ALL the Adobe software titles (not just a handful of titles like what are offered in the Creative Suites)
  • FREE upgrades
  • Online syncing and storage (though I admit that I will probably not use this as much)

$50/mo for all that? Yeah, it was tempting enough to get me to sign up. And you know what? I like it! I’ll write a full review sometime in the coming months after I’ve had time to really get under the hood of it, but here are my some of my preliminary pros and cons of Adobe’s Creative Cloud service:


  • You don’t have to worry about using this without an internet connection. The software only checks in with Adobe once every 30 days, and it will warn you if it has been trying to verify your software and cannot – so it’s not like your software will just suddenly stop working if there is no internet connection.
  • The software is installed on your computer just as if you installed it from a DVD. It does NOT reside in the cloud. It is fully functioning software on your computer.
  • Access to every Adobe app kicks butt
  • Free and unlimited updates – you’ll always have access to the latest versions
  • I installed my one license on my Mac and PC without issues – and I can switch easily between both.


  • You can only install your software on two computers, and even then you can only use one at a time. For someone like me with three computers, this is a slight inconvenience. It is possible to get around this by deactivating one installation before using on the third, but it’s still inconvenient

Despite the two-computer limit per license, I’m a really happy designer at the moment and I will probably never go back to boxed DVD software again. I’ll write another follow-up review in the coming months, so stay tuned for that…

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