The Adobe Creative Suite

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The Creative Suite is an extremely powerful collection of graphic, video and multimedia applications for creative professionals. When a single Adobe application can run to $2000 or more individually, the creative suites for around $2-3k are a good value purchase. This guide is written to help you choose which one is right for you and covers:

  1. Which version do I need?
  2. Are there cheaper alternatives?
  3. Can I use the Educational version?

1. Which version do I need?

There have typically been three flavours of the creative suite. They are Design, Web and Production (or Video). There is also a Master Collection which includes all of the most popular Adobe applications.
The version you need is reliant on the kind of work you want to do. If you are planning to do design or desktop publishing to design things like brochures, posters, fliers, logos, corporate identities or similar items then the Design suite is what you're after.
If you are planning to design and build web pages, online tools, interfaces, web graphics or animations then the Web suite is going to work for you.
If you are planning to create videos and animations for the web, TV, theatre, film or similar media, the Production suite is your kit.
If you are looking to do a bit of everything, then the Master collection may be more economical for you.

2. Are there cheaper alternatives?

Yes and no. There are alternatives out there but for value for money you can't beat the Adobe suite unless you don't need all the bells and whistles.
If you go through this list and identify one or more items as the primary task you want to achieve using the Creative Suite, you may be better off sticking to more consumer-level products which are often very cheap or free.

  • resize photos for the web
  • create heading graphics or banners for your personal website
  • perform quick colour corrections for personal photos
  • compile video footage for a personal dvd or for youTube
  • put together your community newsletter to be printed on a consumer level printer
  • use templates to crate your website

3. Can I use the Educational version?

The cheapest and most common copies of the creative suite that you will find on eBay will be the educational versions. These will typically cost around a third of the full version. While appealing on price, it may very well be wasted money if you are not a student or if you intend on using the software to make money.
This advice is given in a broad capacity. Check your own eligibility in the license agreement from Adobe.
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