Most digital designers and art workers in the web design community use Adobe products to produce their work. Whether it’s Photoshop for image manipulation, Illustrator for vector-based output such as logo design and illustration, InDesign for desktop publishing (wow, haven’t used that term in a while!) or Fireworks for rapid production of web graphics and layouts. Whatever the flavour, you can be sure that your design agency is using at least one of the above (collectively known as the Adobe Creative Suite) to deliver web, identity and print design to your company.
As our favourite flavour here at Webnetism is web design, Tim Jay (Design Chief) and I use Adobe Fireworks almost exclusively for creating our own brand of web graphics and layouts. The reason? Quite simply put, it is the most awesome piece of software ever developed for web designers! That’s no bold statement, Fireworks is faster and easier to use than Photoshop, offers an incredibly intuitive workspace and toolset for rapid prototyping and page-based, stateful interaction design and allows for pixel perfect positioning and sizing (try drawing a simple rectangle in Photoshop – sad face emoticon goes here!).
With no intention of indulging an exhaustive Photoshop Vs. Fireworks debate, the list of reasons why this superior software is the only choice for web design is truly endless - which is why we were so disappointed to hear that Adobe are canning Fireworks and halting any future development in favour of ‘the latest generation of creative tools known as CC (Creative Cloud)’ – announced at the MAX conference in Los Angeles, CA in May this year.
The Creative Cloud is the new kid on the block for Adobe – a controversial move into the cloud for the remaining members of the Creative Suite and a few new faces to ‘replace and improve upon’ what’s gone. The latest iteration of apps and services from Adobe will reportedly make easy work of modern day web design, providing modular tools that improve workflow for responsive web design, creative collaboration and feedback, online training and asset management. Not surprisingly, all of this comes at a considerable premium (the Team Plan is £65.44 a month per user!).
Unfortunately, the chatter online indicates that the smarty-pants members of the web design community that use Fireworks aren’t really that interested in Creative Cloud, and rather than embrace Adobe’s bull in a china shop approach to product revision, have opted to resent it and seek out new and exciting frontiers beyond the Adobe universe – a little like Star Trek but without the spaceships and leotards. What they are finding are some pretty exciting software alternatives, specifically created for web and UI designers and now highly visible in the wake of Fireworks’ demise. We won’t start name-dropping here – but they’re out there, and they’re good – like the Guardian Angels on the New York subways (remember them?)
So where do Tim and I find ourselves in this debate, in this alphabet soup of software options, opportunities to learn new skills and resentment at Adobe? Do we stand united with the brand that we have favoured for so much of our professional lives and embrace the Creative Cloud, or do we shake our defiant fists at their bloated, corporate visages and explore strange new worlds, seek out new life; new civilisations… and boldly go where no man has gone before?
Well… it’s a little early to say, there are a few free trials to indulge in and some conversations to be had around our meeting table before we draw any conclusions - so no definitive answer to that question today. However, with our team of highly skilled .Net developers and two extremely passionate web and UI designers right here in our Cheltenham Webnetism office, if all else fails… maybe we’ll just end up developing the next great piece of web design software in-house! Peter Felgate (Webnetism software developer extraordinaire) – are you busy?