What Is the Adobe Creative Cloud?

Definition & Examples of Adobe Creative Cloud

Graphic designer uses tablet and Adobe Creative Cloud to illustrate

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The Adobe Creative Cloud is a collection of Adobe software products. In addition to offering the products—either as a package or individually—the Creative Cloud also offers cloud storage. Creative Cloud products are sold with a monthly subscription model.

Here's what you can expect from Adobe Creative Cloud.

What Is Adobe Creative Cloud?

Creative software like Photoshop and Premiere was once sold on CDs that customers used to install the software on their computers. Now, with cloud technology, there's no need to sell a physical product. So instead, Adobe started selling products as part of a cloud-based service that includes cloud storage.

The products sold in the Creative Cloud are examples of software as a service (SaaS).

Customers can buy the entire suite of SaaS products, or they can pick and choose between the products that they think they'll need most often. Creative Cloud charges a monthly subscription fee, but the amount of the fee depends on how many products you purchase. There are also special deals for businesses, schools, and teachers.

How Does Adobe Creative Cloud Work?

The first step in acquiring the Adobe Creative Cloud is to choose a plan:

Individual: Individual plans are perfect for freelancers, hobbyists, and anyone else who wants to use the Adobe software for their own individual use. Getting all Adobe apps on an individual plan costs $52.99 per month (as of Aug. 8, 2020). Another popular package is the Photography package, which comes with Photoshop, Lightroom, and 20 GB of storage for $9.99 a month.

If you buy an all-app plan, you don't necessarily need to install all of the products right away. The products are waiting for you in the cloud, and you can download them as you need.

Businesses: These options are perfect when you need multiple seats in the Adobe Creative Suite. With a business plan, you can reassign licenses to new users as your business needs change, use collaborative video editing features, and sync across devices. Businesses can either get all apps for $79.99 per month per license, or they can pick and choose apps for $33.99 per month per app per license.

Students and teachers: If you are a student or a teacher, you can get a significant discount on the entire Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. The first year on a student or teacher plan is $19.99 per month, and after the first year it increases to $29.99 per month—still much less than the standard individual all-app plan's $52.99 price tag. To qualify for a student discount you must be enrolled in a university or college, primary or secondary school, or homeschool. There is specific proof of eligibility requirements for both students and teachers.

Schools and universities: Schools and universities have a variety of plans they can choose from if they want to give students access to Adobe software. They include a per shared device plan that offers all apps for an annual fee of $330. There's a per student plan for an annual fee of $189. Adobe also offers institutional plans for all students and staff to gain access to Adobe products, but these plans are only offered on a customized basis, so you'll have to call to learn about how much it would cost your school or university.

Keep in mind, you aren't actually buying these products outright. These products are sold on a subscription basis, so you're only buying temporary access to the products covered by the plan you choose. If you stop paying the subscription fee, you'll lose access to the products.

What Is Included in the Suite?

There are several categories of items included in the Creative Cloud Suite. These include design apps, web & UX apps, photography apps, and a/v apps. Check the chart below for all the apps included in a complete Creative Cloud plan (as of Aug. 8, 2020). There's some overlap in categories because some software has versatile uses.

Apps Included in the Adobe Creative Suite
Design Apps Web & UX Apps Photography Apps Video & Audio Apps
Photoshop Adobe XD Photoshop Premiere Pro
InCopy Spark Lightroom Premiere Rush
Spark Dreamweaver   After Effects
Illustrator Animate   Spark
Adobe XD InCopy   Audition
Dimension InDesign    
InDesign Photoshop    

Key Takeaways

  • Adobe Creative Cloud is a subscription plan that offers Adobe's creative products such as Photoshop and Premiere Pro.
  • The products included in the Adobe Creative Cloud are examples of SaaS.
  • Pricing plans vary, from all-inclusive plans that cover all apps to single app plans.
  • Businesses, schools, teachers, and students may qualify for special deals on Creative Cloud plans.