Pay Me. Pay Me Again!
Adobe recently switched to a subscription-only business model for all releases of its popular creative software, which includes the industry-standards Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat. Going away are the perpetual licenses that allow users to own releases of bundled software packages. This is bad news for creatives and the number one reason is cost.
Subscriptions to the Creative Cloud service begin at $50-per-month per user and give customers full access to the entire Creative Suite library. This comes out to $600-per-year per person. When Laura and I started this studio back in 2010 we purchased Adobe’s CS5.5 Design Standard software package for $300 (with an educator’s discount). The cost included licenses to install the design tools on both of our machines. It’s clear to see in our case that a one-time flat fee of $150-per-user beats the new pricing model of $600-per-year. If we switched over to the subscription service at the discounted educator’s price of $30-per-month per person we would still lose. That plan would see us doling out $720 each year for both our computers. Not an appealing choice to say the least.
With the mandatory Creative Cloud subscription model users are forever tethered to Adobe’s monthly fees. If the payment cannot be made then access to the design programs will not be allowed, rendering all previous created files useless. Of course one could save copies of work in formats that work universally but this is a time-wasting and overbearing burden to place on professionals who’s time is best devoted to creating solutions for clients.
We feel that this shift in Adobe’s business model is grossly unfair to small businesses, freelancers, students, semi-professionals and amateurs in the design/creative fields. Fifty dollars per month is a lot to spend on software that we will no longer own on our computers. Adobe argues that the price is far less in the long run for a comparable license that grants access to the entire Creative Suite. But this doesn’t ring true for the small guy who has other bills to pay and may not earn the larger commissions that larger design firms do.
And who really cares about access to the full spectrum of 18 programs within the Creative Suite? Most of them are not used very ofter (or at all) by graphic designers. In our studio we work with only four programs: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat. Just because programs like Fireworks, After Effects and Encore are suddenly made available doesn’t mean we will start using them. Why should we pay for things we won’t be using?
The root of Adobe’s drastic change is most likely corporate greed or a desperate attempt to get revenue in the door. With such an aggressive and surprising switch to subscription-based software it appears that executives are trying to prod users who skip an upgrade (or two, or three) to fork over money. There are many designers who find older versions of Adobe software perfectly viable long after new releases are rolled out. Why should we be forced into having the latest versions of things? Auto companies aren’t forcing drivers to lease the newest model cars. Appliance makers don’t demand we have the newest refrigerators in our kitchens. Designers should continue to have a choice in deciding what is best for our work.
As it stands today, Adobe has a monopoly on the creative software used by designers and there are no viable alternatives to its juggernaut of digital tools. The entry price point is already high enough but this subscription-based service will deter even more people from getting creative by driving it up even more.
What are your thoughts on Adobe’s new subscription-only business model? Will you be able to spend $50-per-month to have access to the software?
Derek Schoffstall started a petition calling on Adobe to eliminate the mandatory Creative Cloud subscription. Sign it if you feel as strongly as we do about this sad news.
Wise Words from Designers, Artists and Creatives
Even the best artists and designers need a pep talk every once in a while to keep motivated, inspired and moving forward. This collection of quotes will keep you going even when you feel like giving up. Print them out and post them around your studio or home to remind you to stay focused and creative.
The next few months
Spring is here and the summer is coming up fast. Gone are those seemingly endless weeks of winter cold gloom and doom. Days of warm temperatures and sun-filled days are in store for the foreseeable future.
This summer Laura and I will be bouncing around the country and then the world. We have planned stops in the forest and abroad. We’ll be leading a high school trail crew with the Student Conservation Association. Afterwards we’re planning to explore a few of the many places on our bucket list. Currently we are thinking about Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. But the winds may take us a different direction. We’re pretty excited wherever we end up.
Because our offline time will increase we’ll be scaling back the number of articles published on the WE Design Blog. From May until the end of August we’ll publish once a week on Tuesdays instead of the twice-weekly schedule we usually follow.
Also, our scheduled weekly tweets will fall mostly silent in June and July but we plan to comment from abroad when we are in range of WiFi.
You can look forward to us getting back on our regular schedule as fall begins. We expect to have a lot of fresh inspiration and creativity to share with you then.
Now go out there and create something awesome in the sunshine!
Keep an eye on our Instagram feed for pictures from the road!
Today we are happy to announce the launch of Mission Seven Five (M75), your new place for graphic prints and posters. Visit M75.
M75 is David’s brainchild. The work you’ll find there is drawn from his interest in street art, the avant-garde, vintage wares and experimental imagery.
“The city streets are where emerging art is seeded. When I visit New York my eyes are drawn to the spray-painted walls, stickered traffic signs and deviant wheat-pasted posters. The urban canvas is alive and ever-changing. I wanted a place to play around with that imagery and M75 was born from that urge.”
M75’s premier collection is comprised of six original posters, with new designs planned for release later in the year. Check out the prints.
Join the M75 email list to be in the know and get in on upcoming announcements and deals.
To get the launch party started, prints are discounted 15% today through Saturday (April 25-27). Just enter the code M75LAUNCH at checkout.
Check out M75 and tell your friends and neighbors too. Bring some street style inside and hang it on your wall.
Hand designed by Pavel Nikandrov from The Noun Project
Work For Free?
Imagine working at a company where you and nine other employees put in eight solid hours performing a variety of office tasks. At the end of the day a boss reviews your performance, as well as your colleagues’ work, and then decides which of you did the best job. Whoever is arbitrarily determined to have done the best work gets paid. The other nine get nothing.
Would you continue to work for this company? Probably not. If you are putting in the time and effort you expect to be compensated for your work. Performing a job with just the mere hope of getting paid is not too far removed from being a slave. Unfortunately this a serious problem currently found within the graphic design and illustration profession.
The Design Contest Scam
Spec work is a term to describe work done on a speculative basis. Spec work involves the absence of a fair and agreed upon wage before a project is submitted. If you value your talent as a designer and creative you should always say no to spec work. If time and effort is put into a a job with no guarantee of payment then you should walk away (if not run) from the proposed deal.
A common example of spec work is the design contest. In this popular racket an individual or organization in need of a new logo or poster invites creatives to submit original artwork for evaluation in hopes of being selected the winner and getting paid. Contest hosts can receive hundreds or thousands of entries but only one lucky designer gets the reward.
Charlatans over at 99 designs have been pushing the design contest format for years. But even household names like department store chain Lord & Taylor, and even President Obama have gotten in on the scam.
And it’s not just design contests that attempt to exploit artists. According to a 2009 New York Times article Internet giant Google once invited established artists and illustrators to submit their work to be used as digital “skins” in the company’s Chrome browser. Google offered no payment for the artists work. Instead it said the opportunity would provide exposure for the artwork to be seen by millions. But several of the artists Google approached had already been featured in magazines such as Rolling Stone, Esquire and Entertainment Weekly. Exposure is not a compelling selling point for artists. Money, however, never goes out of style. Yet it seems that a cash payment was the last thing Google, worth several billions of dollars, considered offering them.
Although the Google example isn’t a form of spec work it is another case of those who have the means to pay artists still try to get something for nothing. To counter this industry-eroding practice designers and illustrators need to put their foot down and take a page from celebrated graphic designer Paul Rand who once did work for the equally praised Steve Jobs. Before creating a logo for the tech company NeXT Rand told Jobs, “…I will solve your problem for you and you will pay me. You don’t have to use the solution. If you want options go talk to other people.”
NO!SPEC is a great online resource that aims to educate creatives and clients of the hazards of spec work. Check out the site for further explanation on why spec work is unethical and to learn about the latest design contest scams.