An Open Letter to Adobe on Creative Cloud

Dear Adobe,

You’ve done a great job with your Creative Cloud apps. We love the new features, and the new Creative Cloud installation process is worlds better than the old Creative Suite installer. We’re excited about your new direction with training videos, versioned backup, and Typekit font sync. It’s great.

But that hasn’t kept everyone happy. Every time we write about Creative Cloud, our readers let us know how the new subscriptions plans don’t work out for them. Even if they like the new features, they’re not planning to upgrade because of price, or because they want to know that they’ll be able to keep their programs forever. They’re frustrated enough that they’re signing petitions to get you to change back to the old Creative Suite style.

That’s why we’re writing this letter. We think you’re onto something good with Creative Cloud — but you need to go just a bit further to make everyone happy. We think there’s a way to make everyone happy, or at least almost everyone, so here’s the idea.

Not Everyone Needs Everything

A smaller CC could be neat, too.

A smaller CC could be neat, too.

As nice as it is to have every Adobe app, we all don’t need them all. Some of us just need to edit images and do page layout work, so Photoshop and InDesign (and perhaps Illustrator) are all we need, and we used to buy Design Standard. Others needed the web dev apps too, so they went with Web Premium. And those who did video and audio work went with the Production Premium suite.

Now, perhaps some of us will learn to use more of the Adobe apps now that they’re all in Creative Cloud, but for most of us it’s just too much. Odds are, everyone doesn’t even have space on their Mac to install all the apps. But then, many of us need more than just Photoshop, so CC’s individual app subscriptions aren’t enough either.

That’s why we think you should add suites back to Creative Cloud. If you had, say, a Design Standard CC for $25/month with the same apps as the old Design Standard suite, it’d make a lot of us lighter users very happy. Or, perhaps, you could do something new, more inline with your Creative Cloud vision, by letting us make our own suites and chose any, say, 3-4 apps for $25, and then get the full CC for $49 like normal. Many of us might still decide to go for full CC, but the smaller subscription would make CC even more approachable for those of us who don’t make our full living in Adobe apps.

A Bit of Security

Clinging to software legacy (via

Clinging to software legacy (via

Then, the other major thing that’s troubling many people about Creative Cloud is that they won’t be able to use the Adobe apps they’ve invested in if they quit subscribing. We’re used to being able to keep old, trusty software around, even running it on older computers to be able to use it when necessary. Whether it’s from being frugal, or simply preferring the look and feel of an older, familiar edition of software, many people continue to use older versions of Adobe software today, and they’d hope to be able to do the same with Adobe software they buy in the future. Plus, after spending thousands of dollars on software over years of time, we like to have something to show for it.

We know you’ve said that Creative Cloud users can stick with a current version and not install updates immediately, but that’s not quite enough since we’d still need to keep a current subscription to use it. So here’s our proposal, similar to what’s been proposed elsewhere: let long-term Creative Cloud subscribers download a non-subscription installer of the current version of their Creative Cloud apps after they’ve been a member for several years. Perhaps require a 3-5 year subscription, if you need to, but after someone’s subscribed to the full Creative Cloud for that long, let them download an installer of the current version of their Creative Cloud apps that they can archive for later use, or install and use without a subscription. They won’t get any updates if they let drop their subscription, but they’ll have a copy of the apps at the last time they had an active subscription to use.

Honestly, most of us wouldn’t end up really using this. But, it’d be that little extra security that would make many people feel a lot better about switching to Creative Cloud — and most would likely continue to subscribe after their minimum time anyhow. If not, you’d still have gotten as much revenue in that time as you would have from a full Master Collection sale in the past. Combine that with a way to still at least view and export files when your subscription’s up (perhaps through your now-unactivated apps), and there’d be little left for anyone to complain about.

And Keep the Updates Coming

As a Creative Cloud subscriber myself (with the CS6 upgrade discount), I’m loving the new features, and can’t wait for the Typekit desktop font syncing to be released. So keep the updates coming, and we’ll all look forward to seeing what’s next in store for Creative Cloud after the initial CC release. Keep up the great work.

And if you can, consider the suggestions above. Those two things — smaller and cheaper subscription options, and a way to get a non-subscription (and non-updatable) copy of CC apps — would make a lot of our readers and colleagues happy, and would stop a lot of the anti-Adobe complaints we’re hearing of late.

Here’s to the future of Adobe and AppStorm!


Got anything you want to add? Let Adobe know what you want to see changed in Creative Cloud going forward. It’s highly doubtful they’ll go back to selling traditional Creative Suite packages again, but they’re far more likely to make changes to Creative Cloud going forward than most people give them credit for.