For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been listening in on the perspectives of designers on Adobe’s transition to cloud- and subscription-only services for its suite of creative software like InDesign, Photoshop, and the like. Today, I “listened in” on a conversation from the print production perspective. What a difference a perspective makes!
On the design side, I see high levels of emotion. Particularly from small shop owners who are concerned that the monthly cost of the subscription will be burdensome, that they will not be able to access their files if they stop their subscriptions, that they will lose sovereignty over their software (forced upgrades, Adobe’s fine print that it can modify the software, even on their computers, at any time), and an overall feeling that this is bad business and indifference to the needs of the design community.
There are those, however, who either embrace the move or tolerate it. They add a surcharge to their invoices to cover software costs and move on. These folks tend not to hang around the negative discussions. They pop in, say their piece, and get back to work.
On the print production side, what was interesting to me is that I didn’t see any of the Adobe-bashing that I saw among designers. There were concerns about the move, but rather than being philosophical or hypothetical, participants cited specific, concrete concerns that were stated matter of factly. Not, “This is so unfair!”, just “Okay, this is the way things are. How do we handle this?” In resonse, concrete solutions were offered, gratitude exchanged, and again, back to work.
The number one issue that was raised that I saw was concern about compatibility with RIPs, which tend to take time to catch up to software upgrades. Will the move to Creative Cloud only mean that they will have more prepress headaches?
The answers included:
- With CC, the most recent upgrades are always available, but you don’t have to upgrade if you don’t want to. If you want to wait until the RIPs catch up to latest upgrade before actually upgrading yourself, you can do that. It’s no different from purchasing a boxed solution in the past.
- This is no different from the way things are now. Prepress departments regularly get improperly prepared files that won’t print. Adobe CC just means more job security?
- This may create (or should create) more competition among RIP manufacturers and a closer working relationship between RIP manufacturers and Adobe.
- Have the designer export to PDF with PDF-X1 for Level 1 and Level 2 RIPs and PDF-X4 for Level 3 RIPs, the issues disappear.
What are your production concerns?