Having to rent AI and PSD for 1000.-/year makes me hate Adobe

over 9 years ago from , Senior Product Designer. Founder of https://SketchTalk.io

I subscribed to Adobe CC and am only using Illustrator and Photoshop mostly. In Switzerland, I get charged 85 USD /month - more than 1000 USD per year – for something that I still don't own and if I quit, I won't be able to open my files anymore.

This makes me so upset! But then again I don't know of any real alternative to Adobe CC except that I'm now using Sketch for most of my UI and vector work and secretly whish that one day it will make AI obsolete. But what about all my AI files? …

What are your thoughts on this? Should I just chill and pay and be happy that I now have access to 27 other Adobe applications and a cloud I never use?

How do you – fellow designers – deal with this? Do you try to move away from Adobe products or do you think I'm overreacting and that great software has it's price and that renting access to software is the future anyway?


  • Daniel FoscoDaniel Fosco, over 9 years ago

    I think it's a market gap of sorts that allowed Adobe to get so monolithic in the last decade.

    I don't expect this to last another 10 years, but meanwhile, Sketch crashes every 5 minutes when you abuse symbols and Pixelmator handles massive PSDs as well as MS Paint. Unfortunately, it's not entirely without reason that Adobe costs so much.

    Things are looking up though — I can barely wait for Sketch 6!

    15 points
    • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 9 years ago

      Sketch crashes every 5 minutes when you abuse symbols and Pixelmator handles massive PSDs as well as MS Paint.

      If we do end up with awesome new tools, I don’t think they’ll rely on opening PSDs well and supporting all the contained features — that’s a near impossible task, imo.

      0 points
  • Jeff Dingwell, over 9 years ago

    The economics of Adobe CC were argued to death when it first came out. While I'm not happy to be paying monthly fees for this software, my justification is that it is just the cost of doing business.

    For me, the $600/year for Adobe CC (CAD), works out to be less than 1% of my total average yearly net. Considering almost 100% of the money I make I do so using Adobe software, for me personally, that doesn't seem to be entirely unreasonable. That said, if I were just starting out or a hobbyist, $600 a year is a bitter pill to swallow.

    I wonder about the monumental shift it would take to get the entire creative industry off the Adobe platform and on to something less expensive (if such a thing would ever be agreed upon). We all loathe Microsoft products and yet Word, Microsoft and PPT are still out there with the lion share of that market.

    Sketch sounds cool and it seems promising. But from what I've been reading - it isn't quite yet ready to be a serious threat to the Adobe machine. BUT, thank god there are companies out there willing to take a shot at it. Ultimately, they will either succeed in breaking Adobe's monopoly or at least make them rethink some things.

    I think another question to ask would be - WTF Adobe? How can you reasonably justify charging such wildly different fees around the world for something which is simply a digital download?

    10 points
  • Philip AmourPhilip Amour, over 9 years ago

    Sketch - 79.99, Pixelmator - 14.99, iDraw - 24.99

    6 points
    • Michael NarcisoMichael Narciso, over 9 years ago

      Sketch is fantastic, it is good enough if not better for my workflow to completely abandon Adobe. I use it for UI design.

      3 points
  • Cosmin NegoitaCosmin Negoita, over 9 years ago (edited over 9 years ago )

    Well, in my opinion I think that as long as you use them to generate income, it's totally worth it. If it's just for fun, then you should find another way.

    Also, I love Sketch for what it can do, but unfortunately I don't think it's ready to take over the industry.

    5 points
  • Shawn BorskyShawn Borsky, over 9 years ago

    I may be one of few to say this but I don't find this to be unreasonable. In fact, I like it better.

    Years ago when I started a web interactive firm with 8 people on staff. It cost me over $16,000 to properly and legally license software for my company( not just Adobe but a fair amount of it). At that time, you only had the option of paying a large upfront sum for design software or pirating it. I would have KILLED for the ability to translate the into a monthly cost. To me its a fallacy to talk about business costs in yearly terms because it almost always translates to a monthly issue. You can argue semantics but Id rather spend more money over a year then less all at once: because in most cases, that helps you make payroll and pay your bills.

    Currently, I pay $99/mo for the Creative Suite Master Collection. In 2008, that cost over $1500 up-front. I think for all its issues, Adobe makes products that enable me to do my job and they are tools that I generally have no issue with and I pretty much start my day by opening Photoshop.

    I can't speak for other designers but Adobe products just like my computer or Dropbox or servers is the cost of doing business. Yes : it adds up to $1,000+ a year and the Cloud? It makes it easier to move the software to new computers and I dont have to keep track of keys and boxes with discs. I have 3 legal copies of Adobe Creative Suite 2 sitting on my bookshelf and they are decorations. Did I get to pay once and own the software? Yes. Was that valuable for an industry that moves at the speed of light? No.

    I think you deal with it by building the cost of Adobe into your prices as any business should. Adobe offers products that are expensive to produce and maintain and without it we would not be able to do our job. At the end of the day, I think for practicality renting software is a good idea. Its by its nature going to become obsolete. Thats not Adobe's fault. There are things I want to own like my computer, my shoes, clothing. But, software, I prefer the rental model it makes business easier.

    There are cheaper options like Sketch, Pixelmator, etc, They are cheaper for a reason. They offer a little competition and that's good. For some things they are better. But, they can't quite offer the power that Adobe does so what can you do but roll with it?

    1 point
  • Jon MarshJon Marsh, over 9 years ago

    Having been someone who recently found themselves asking the same questions, specially after I made the transition from using solely Adobe products for UI design, to using Sketch now, I can tell you this:

    Although Sketch (haven't tried others mentioned) is an amazing tool gaining a lot of traction and one that has become essential to my workflow, it's still not there yet to become an industry standard and clients, developers and most designers still heavily rely on PSD's and AI files. Of course you can argue that ultimately it comes down to output, so it really doesn't matter what tool you use and there are ways to get around not being able to send those particular file formats, like exporting all assets with a style guide.

    Even though it can seem unjustifiable at times to have to pay so much for Adobe CC, there are some benefits, like Typekit for example, which I've been able to use the fonts synced there in Sketch and LR, for editing photos. You also might find yourself wanting to learn other tools and expand your skill set, like After Effects, which I'm seeing a lot of designers use for animating UX transitions and creating beautiful ways of showcasing their work.

    I do hope one day Adobe allows for users to pay per app combos of their choice, but for now, I personally try to think of these expenses as necessary for my business.

    Hope this insight gives you a different perspective.

    1 point
  • Andy LeverenzAndy Leverenz, over 9 years ago

    If you don't need the cloud I'd recommend CS6 and avoid the monthly payment. Can't stand this as well. It's way too expensive.

    1 point
    • Sam SolomonSam Solomon, over 9 years ago

      I second this.

      I use CC at work, and luckily upgraded from CS4 to CS6 before CC was announced at home. I figure that will keep me covered for the next 5 or so years.

      Honestly, it feels like Adobe only adds obscure features that I don't use, so the differences between CS6 and CC are negligible (for now). Another plus is that CS6 doesn't seem nearly as buggy as CC, which I use at work.

      0 points
  • Adam T.Adam T., over 9 years ago

    Adobe has Photoshop for $9.99 a month- or they did as a special. That + Sketch is good for me.

    1 point
  • Account deleted over 9 years ago

    I totally understand and agree. In my opinion CC should be more configurable, lets say $5/month for each product, so if you using only Ai + Ps $10 would be total cost of it. But that's only my personal derem ;)

    I using CC at work, also own CS5 master package (from my freelance past), but at the moment I switching to sketch totally (as much as I can). If my Ps CS5 (for raster only) will be to old (in few years for sure) I will definitely buy Pixelmator or something similar, definitely not Ps.

    Don't get my wrong, Adobe is fantastic company, and Ps / Ai are powerfull, amazing pieces of software, but there is no sence to use it anymore in my case (UI). Fortunately our world / industry / tools are changing :)

    1 point
    • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 9 years ago

      In my opinion CC should be more configurable, lets say $5/month for each product, so if you using only Ai + Ps $10 would be total cost of it.

      That would be great, but I bet Adobe make more money with all their apps bundled. I don’t think they’ll change.

      0 points
  • Paul JarvisPaul Jarvis, over 9 years ago

    I only use PS and AI too, but thankfully only pay $40USD a month here in Canada. I'm waiting for better options too.

    1 point
    • Andy MerskinAndy Merskin, over 9 years ago

      I really wish they would lower the per-app subscription price. All I use is Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. If they could bring it down to $5-10 /month per app, it would be solid.

      They could still bundle the Master Collection together for a discounted subscription price of $50 or $60 if people actually used all those apps.

      0 points
  • Jake KwaschnefskiJake Kwaschnefski, over 9 years ago

    I'm really lucky to be a student and only have to pay $20 per month for Adobe CC. I don't plan on keeping my subscription when I graduate.

    0 points
  • Kyle ConradKyle Conrad, over 9 years ago

    I'd rather pay $1000/yr than the old way: $1500-2500 for the "Master Package," then $400-1000 for an update to that. I easily gave them $3000+ when I was in college for the programs and updates. Now I'm giving them $50/mo for unlimited access to ALL of the Adobe products as well as Typekit fonts that I use across all of my web properties and sites (and those alone should cost more than $50/mo).

    If you're in Switzerland, are there not other packages? I know here in the US they've done deals where it's just PS/Lightroom or whatever for far less money.

    0 points
  • anthony thomasanthony thomas, over 9 years ago

    You aren't overreacting and have a right to be upset with Adobe's business model. Why are you doubting what your intuition is telling you?

    What Adobe is doing is ridiculous but the reason they do that is because there are suckers out there who will buy what they're selling so why would they change their model?

    You're basically overpaying to use 27 apps that you never use and you're paying for them to steal your files, while creating a co-dependency on them so that they can take more money from you. It's the stupidest thing ever.

    Every Adobe tool suffers from feature bloat - a large percentage of features they have most people never even use. The user experience to do the most basic tasks is absolute shit - that's why there are always support forums of people asking how to do the most basic things that should be easy and intuitive to figure out.

    Bottom line, Adobe is a shit company that makes shitty products. They're successful because they have monopoly share of the design tool market.

    Vector design tools like Sketch and Omnigraffle are the future. Not only because they were created by good companies, but because they are far better for design than Adobe's tools.

    0 points
    • Daniel FoscoDaniel Fosco, over 9 years ago

      I can't fully agree with the statement that Adobe makes shitty products, otherwise the InDesign Gods would immediately smite me, but I agree they are a shitty company.

      Their pricing is akin to a cable company offering you HBO (Photoshop/Illustrator) bundled with a dozen shitty lifestyle channels nobody wants.

      Also, offering the same product online with region-locked prices is as shitty as it gets — that's textbook "extract as much value as possible from customers" behavior.

      1 point
  • Diego LafuenteDiego Lafuente, over 9 years ago

    Why don't you port everything to Pixelmator / Sketch?

    0 points
    • Arma GetronArma Getron, over 9 years ago

      You could make a case for doing photo editing with another application if you do all your Web+UI in sketch, but there's nothing that can replace illustrator atm.

      0 points