November 21, 2011

Subscription vs. Purchase

I just received an offer from Adobe to upgrade from Creative Suite 5 Design Premium to Creative Suite 5.5 for $399 to buy, or $95/month for a year or $139/month, month to month to subscribe. Interesting idea, renting my software, but is it better?

Adobe averages an upgrade about every 1.3 years as best I can figure, some have been faster, like 5 - 5.5 some longer. So if I buy CS5.5 it's $399, if I subscribe for a year it's $1140 and if CS6 takes longer than a year to come out it would be more. Obviously if your a designer you know that Adobe Creative Suite is part of what you must have to do your job so subscription really isn't a benefit. However in some situations subscriptions might be an advantage. I was considering looking into getting an intern and one hang up is a lack of software for them, subscription might be an advantage there.

This deal came in the form of an email. I went to the link and a sales chat popped open and asked if they could help me with my decision. I assume subscription confuses people so Adobe is actively trying to help people with their decision. I went ahead and chatted with them and asked a couple of questions: (This isn't the whole conversation, just parts that pertain to this post).

Kenton: What does subscription mean?
Adobe: Kenton, purchasing the subscription is like renting the software.
Kenton: So what are the advantages of subscription?
Adobe: If you purchase the monthly subscription you can use it for any number of months and can cancel it when you do not need it.
Kenton: So what is the advantage of owning it?
Adobe: If you own the software, you will be eligible for any future upgrade.
Adobe: Once the latest version is released in future you can just pay the upgrade price and get the latest version.
Adobe: However, if you purchase the subscription, it is not eligible for an upgrade.
Kenton: If I subscribe to to CS5.5 for a year and in 9 Months CS6 comes out, can I subscribe to CS6 at that point and apply the 3 months left on my CS5.5 subscription to CS6?
Adobe: I am sorry, we do not have an option for that.
(Some of the information in this conversation is incorrect, please see the end for a correction from an Adobe Representative)

So it appears if you're a designer and you must have Adobe Creative Suite to do your job buying it is to your advantage. Your first purchase is a bit painful at over $1000, but once you have it the upgrade prices are easier to take. So keep that in mind when your asking for design school graduation presents.

Subscription based software is a growing phenomenon, I subscribe to the Wordpress Theme I use for most of my websites, (iThemes Builder). It will be interesting to see how this changes future of doing business as a designer.


Thanks to Jennifer Kremer from Adobe for posting the correct information in a comment. This makes a lot more sense and makes subscribing much better. Hopefully Jennifer will let the sales support team know there is a little misinformation going out over chat.

Here is some of Jennifer's comment:
...if you subscribe to CS5.5 now, when CS6 comes out you will automatically get CS6 via your subscription. You can learn more here:

November 08, 2011

Postcards are Popular

I seem to be doing a lot of postcards lately, but not all of them are for mailing. It seems it's really popular to have a postcard instead of a flyer to handout at trade shows, job fairs or just a little informational piece. Maybe it's because it's so easy to get them printed for so little money right now. Possibly it's the smaller size and versatility of it. Whatever the reason it can be a lot of fun.

The way printers have cut costs on printing 4 over 4, or full color on both sides, is by ganging up the work. You send in your job and they print it with a bunch of other jobs and then cut everything up into card sizes.

The advantage of this is obvious, huge cost savings. The disadvantage is no press check, so your file has to be right because you can't adjust the color on press. Also you usually have to adhere to pretty strict rules to be sure file comes out correctly. Another disadvantage is no spot color or spot varnish, just CMYK with an aqueous coating to protect the printing.

I personally have a couple printers I use for this kind of work. They've always worked well for me. The first is Molding Box and I talk to Matt. They're local and it's nice to know your printer in person. The other one I've used is is Modern Postcard. Bigger and more strict but they have their advantages too.

Here's a couple of pieces I've done recently.

This was a handout at a car show.
This was actually a bit more complicated because it had some scratch to win boxes on the back.
It was printed at Rastar with the help of Kae Lynne.

So think about a post card as an alternative to your usual handout.