Adobe Creative Cloud is a subscription service that grants you access to a range of creative software used in graphic design, video editing, web design, web development, photography and marketing. Many of these tools, including Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and Premiere Pro, are considered industry standard', so if you want a creative career, you’ll probably need at least some familiarity with them.
Note, though, that despite having ‘Cloud’ in the name, this isn't actually software you operate in the web browser. Instead you have to download and use it on your PC or Mac, and you can't use most of the apps on a phone, tablet or Chromebook. The main exceptions are the Photoshop app for the iPad, and an iPad version of Illustrator which is planned for release later this year.
The 'Cloud' part of the name really refers to the ability to save your work in the cloud, and collaborate on work with others; although if you just want to work on your own and save work to your computer, that's fine too. In fact, other than initially downloading the apps, and getting occasional updates, you don't need a web connection to use the Adobe Creative Cloud, and you only need to connect to the internet once every 99 days to validate your membership.
Adobe Creative Cloud pricing
There are a few different ways to access the software in the Adobe Creative Cloud. The priciest is a full All Apps subscription. This gives you access to the entire, comprehensive suite of 20+ apps, plus 100GB of cloud storage, the portfolio creation tool Adobe Portfolio and the Adobe Fonts library.
You have the choice of paying for that either annually or monthly. The annual plan at £49.94/$52.99 per month is the best value overall, as long as you expect to use the Creative Cloud for a whole year, because you’ll have to commit to 12 months of payments. The month-to-month plan is much more expensive at £75.85/$79.49 per month, but does give you the flexibility to stop and restart your subscription without a cancellation fee.
There are cheaper options, however, if you only want one or some of the Creative Cloud apps. The Photography Plan, for example, bundles together Photoshop, Lightroom and Lightroom Classic, along with 20GB of cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts and Adobe Spark, for a very reasonable £9.98/$9.99 a month. That rises to $19.99/£19.97 a month if you want to increase storage to 1TB.
Alternatively, you can choose to subscribe to just a single app. Most of the best-known Adobe Creative Cloud tools can be accessed for a single-app subscription of £19.97/$20.99 a month, over one year, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, InDesign, After Effects, Audition, Dreamweaver, Animate and Dimension.
Others are cheaper: Acrobat Pro is £15.17/$14.99 a month, InCopy is £4.98/$4.99 a month, and Lightroom, XD and Premier Rush all cost £9.98/$9.99 a month. With a single-app subscription you’ll also get Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts and Adobe Spark, plus 100GB of cloud storage (or 1TB of cloud storage with Lightroom).
Adobe Creative Cloud: free download and discounts
As you’ll have noticed, a subscription to CC doesn't come cheap. However, you can download Adobe Creative Cloud for free using Adobe's 7-day trial. That should certainly be enough time to give the apps you’re interested in a full go, and maybe even complete a small project. Just make sure you cancel within the trial period, or you’ll then get charged automatically.
If you're thinking about subscribing properly, it's worth keeping an eye out for a decent Creative Cloud discount. Occasionally, Adobe knocks up to 40% off, but you'll need to be on the ball to take advantage of these discounts. We'll be updating this article with any offers as soon as they go live, so bookmark this page and check back!
Right now, there's no big Adobe Creative Cloud discounts running, but there are some long-running offers you can take advantage of. If you're a school, college or university student, you can get a 60-65 per cent discount. Also, if Adobe Spark is the main tool you're interested in, then there's a generous two-month free trial to be had there.
Adobe Creative Cloud free download | Start a free trial
Take out a 7-day free trial to try out any of Adobe Creative Cloud’s 20+ apps, including Photoshop, Illustrator and Adobe XD. Your free trial also includes access to step-by-step tutorials, 100GB of cloud storage, your own portfolio website and premium fonts. Note: you’ll need to cancel before the end of the free trial period or be charged for a monthly subscription for the rest of the year.View Deal
Students Adobe CC deal | Get 60-65% off
Subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps plan, including industry-leading apps like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, and as a student you’ll get a big discount on the full subscription for the first year. This saves you 65% in the UK (£16.24 per month for the first year instead of £49.94) or 60% in the US ($19.99 per month for the first year instead of $52.99).View Deal
Australia and New Zealand | Get 24% off
Subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps plan in Australia or New Zealand at AU$60.94 per month and you'll get a 24 per cent discount on the full subscription for the first year, compared with the normal price of AU$76.99.
Offer ends May 8.View Deal
Adobe Spark | Free two-month trial offer
Adobe Spark is aimed at people with limited design skills who want to create graphics, web pages, and short videos, easily and quickly. A subscription is usually £10.10/$9.99 per month, but right now Adobe is offering a generous two-month free trial so you can try it out properly. This trial must be activated on desktop and is not available when activated on mobile. View Deal
Adobe Creative Cloud for students
If you’re currently enrolled in full-time education, whether that’s school, college or university, then good news. As long as you’re 13 years old or over, you can get Adobe Creative Cloud at a massive discount.
That varies slightly depending on where you are in the world right now: so you can get 65% off in the UK, 60% off in the US and Canada, and a massive 70% off in Australia and New Zealand. Note, though, that you will be asked to provide proof of eligibility before the discount is applied.
What's included in Adobe Creative Cloud?
There are more than 20 apps includes in a full Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. These include:
An image editing and graphic design tool that’s used for image manipulation, photo retouching, graphic design, visual web design, app prototyping and 3D modelling. Photoshop is used by a wide range of creative professions, including photographers and photo retouchers, digital artists, graphic designers and art directors, 3D designers and VFX artists.
A drawing programme based on vector graphics. Illustrator is commonly used by artists, illustrators and graphic designers, to create logos, icons, infographics and illustrations.
Adobe After Effects
A tool for compositing video footage and creating visual effects, motion graphics and simple animations. After Effects is typically used by graphic designers, animators and in TV and movie production houses.
A vector-based UX tool for prototyping web and mobile apps. XD is commonly used by graphic designers and web designers.
A desktop publishing and a page layout tool. InDesign is used primarily for print, but also has digital publishing capabilities.
An image organisation and image editing tool that’s commonly used by photo studios and photographers who handle large numbers of images.
Adobe Premiere Pro
A video editing tool used in the film and TV industry, as well as by YouTubers and design studios.
A tool designed to make it easy for non-professionals to create graphics, web pages and short videos for social media.
...and plenty more
Adobe Creative Cloud also includes Premiere Rush, Acrobat Pro, Fresco, Dimension, Dreamweaver, Animate, Audition, Lightroom Classic, Character Animator, Bridge, Media Encoder, InCopy, Prelude, Substance and Fuse. You'll also get 100GB of cloud storage for your projects, and access to Adobe Portfolio and Adobe Fonts.