Dispatch from Adobe: A Graphic Launch

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This week I’ve had the privilege to be at Adobe in San Jose learning Creative Suite 6. Yesterday was the day to learn the design tools, specifically Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and a new product called Adobe Muse. (More on the products tomorrow.)

The day I arrived at Adobe was the day the Creative Suite 6 shipped and made available for purchase. The atmosphere at Adobe was what’s best described as exhilarated yet exhausted. In the front lobby were cupcakes decorated with the logos of CS6 products. The cupcake selection was picked over. Only one tired CS6 suite cupcake remained.

The exterior of Adobe’s offices were festooned with posters and decals celebrating CS6 and the Creative Cloud. I’d always been a little lukewarm about the “periodic table” design of the product icons when they were first shown with CS3. But after seeing a window display of all the icons together, pieced together like a patchwork quilt, I realized their graphic impact and understood the design strategy behind them, especially as Adobe moves toward product integration first through the Creative Suites and now with the Creative Cloud.

Speaking of the Creative Cloud and design, it was at Adobe where I finally “got” the graphic Adobe has been using as an expression of the launch.

I saw the explosion of products all right — that much was obvious — but I didn’t see that the they were emanating from the shape of the Creative Cloud logo itself.

I’m still not that keen on the model photos — Adobe calls them “totems” — used to indicate each product, though. These highly decorated faces are certainly creative, but a couple are so startling that they kind of turn me off. Yet, when I see these striking visages in context of that single explosive image that represents the Creative Cloud, I like them more.

What do you think about Adobe’s new graphics for CS6? Post a comment.


  • Anonymous says:

    I’m with you on the branding: “Venus”, and the various ways the painting was represented as versions came out, always struck me as clever. Having said that, the butterfly for InDesign wasn’t as successful, and perhaps was a sign that there were only so many that really could work going forward. And of course the “great reconciliation” that happened with the release of CS4 pretty well removed any long-standing connection between the program icons and their marketing (we could only have so many wavy versions). Odd, though, that the iOS apps all have more traditional icons (except for PS Touch).

    Writing this, it strikes me as funny that now, where we’re getting into a new golden age of icons (just look at the “app buttons” in your dock, task bar or mobile device), that Adobe goes in the other direction with uninspired program icons and (IMHO) over-designed and non-iconic creative assets.

    As for the Creative Cloud, I’m still on the fence. It’s hard to argue with $30/month for the first year, but the value proposition drops a little for me once the price goes up to to $600 a year.

    The other thing that nobody’s mentioning is the huge penalty those of us that didn’t upgrade to 5.5 (for the sake of a few changes in EPUB and HTML5) will have to pay for the upgrade to CS6. For the last few whole number upgrades, I’ve paid in the range of $400. This time, it’ll be $749. It seems like we’re being gently coerced towards buying into the cloud by significantly hiking the price for “pay for upgrades when you need them” folks.

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