Why is Adobe so Expensive? But is it?

Adobe are the world leader in Graphics and Publishing Software. Although there is a cost involved we need to look at the overall picture to judge how expensive they are.

Adobe products are priced accordingly with the amount of applications being purchased. The more you purchase the cheaper it is. They can be paid monthly (as an annual cost) or annually.

I have been an Adobe user for a very long time. Back when downloads weren’t even a thing. You had to go to a store to purchase an Adobe Product. Imagine!

Thankfully with the onset of technology we don’t have the hassle of that anymore.
But we take it for granted that apps are just available at the tap of a button nowadays.

And the fact that they are is fantastic but that doesn’t take from the fact that they had to be developed in tthe first place by Adobe and on an ongoing basis.

Let’s look at the cost of owning Adobe Products

There are two options available, monthly or annually. There is a saving on the Individual price (of $36/yr) if you pay annually but the price is the same for Business customers.

A single App purchase doesn’t make financial sense to me, as the cost for most individual Apps (Photoshop or InDesign) is $20 – $34/ month. To purchase the whole suite is more cost effective.

Bang for Your Buck

If we look at an Individual buying the full suite, paying monthly, the cost works out at $1.74/day.

Compare that to a medium branded coffee it is about half the price. That seems pretty reasonable to me.

Why do people think that Adobe is expensive? No one likes a bill, right? The majority of people are going to take the monthly option. Suddenly you have an extra $50 going out of your account each month. It has to be worth your while. If you are a graphic designer, then you have to look at the cost of the applications as part of your business running costs. Even if you are just starting out. So you need to factor that cost into your clients expenses. If you are not, then you are undercharging.

But look at what you are getting. As I say, when I started on my graphic / publishing journey, all Adobe Products came in a box with Disks and a manual.
To say this was stressful is an understatement. What if one of the disks didn’t work? Back in the box. Back to the shop. And also back to the beginning of the upload.
And the cost back then. It would make your teeth curl!

Everything now is so streamlined with being able to purchase online and then downloading what ever apps you need as part of your plan.

Not only are you given the access to the app online but also the constant updates that the software developers are distributing with any bugs sorted out.

This to me is a Win Win situation. It is like buying a new app every time there is an upgrade, but without having to outlay hundreds of extra dollars.

Don’t Forget the Special Cases

This is something that we cannot dismiss. Adobe of course are a comppnay that hopes to make money but they also understadn the value of education.
If you are a student (high school or beyond) they offer discounted rates for you.

You can select the Student Rate at purchasing point and then send a copy of proof that you are in school or college.

This is a fantastic opportunity to avail of Adobe Products.

For this price you get everything in the suite, and will continue to be offered this price until you finish your studies. This is a saving of 60%.
This price is also available to teachers, but not to be confused with the school / university option.

This is another tab in the purchase page.

Do you fall into one of these categories? For sure it’s expensive for a student if you thought initially you had to fork out $3 per month but $20 per month is manageable.

What are the Alternatives?

There are of course alternatives to Adobe products. Some of which are Open Source and Free.
Free is always a word we like to hear but we also have to consider that Free doesn’t always mean the same capability as Adobe.

Let’s look at a couple of alternatives

Firstly Scribus, which is an alternative to InDesign.
It is Open Source that can be downloaded to both Windows and Mac OS.
It can handle all types of publishing projects, including multi page documents
It allows you to create PDF files.

It has no Spell Check (an important missing feature)
It’s a little clunky / slow with large files
There is no picture linking available (so don’t move any files whatever you do!)

Looking at Pixlr as an alternative to Photoshop

Once again, this software is Free, which is hard to beat
It’s great for editing pics – resizing / cropping
It has a number of similar tools to Photoshop available

You need a good solid internet connection to run it (which even in this day and age is not always available)
Once pics are edited and saved the quality and resolution is not as clear as Photoshop.

The cost of Adobe is certainly something that needs to be considered when entering into any agreement. You are entering an annual agreement / contract even if you are paying monthly. If you cease paying half way through the year, you are still obliged to pay Adobe.

As I say, there are many alternative, and many that are free. Maybe this is a better option for you if you are just looking for something short term.

However remember that you can buy an Adobe product for one month for a slightly higher cost. But if you are not familiar to Adobe Products I wouldn’t recommend this very steep learning curve.

Here are some other posts you might find useful:

Which Adobe should I learn first?

Is it worth learning Photoshop?

Is it worth learning InDesign?

Tara Cunningham

My name is Tara. I am a Graphic Designer for the last 25+ years. Designing everything from Wedding stationery to Magazines. I have been using Adobe products since I was in college and know all the tips and tricks that make life a little easier when completing a project. Hopefully you will find the answer to your question on PurpleHotKeys.com

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