Adobe Creative Cloud: What It Is and How to Use It

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Explore how creators use Adobe Creative Cloud apps to create an array of visual content, and explore if investing in Adobe Creative Cloud is for you.

[Featured image] A graphic designer in a gray sweater reviews printouts of wireframes and designs on their laptop with Adobe Creative Cloud software.

What is Adobe Creative Cloud?

Adobe Creative Cloud refers to a bundle of more than 20 software applications that creators use to produce visual content for personal or professional use, including: 

  • Flyers, brochures, business cards, and infographics 

  • Books of any length

  • Websites and apps

  • Edited photographs

  • Logos, color schemes, social media graphics, and other design elements for a brand

  • Videos of any length 

Many types of creators can get value from the apps in Adobe Creative Cloud, including graphic and digital designers, photographers and filmmakers, sound editors and designers, animators, web designers, marketers, and desktop publishers. 

According to Enlyft, marketing and advertising companies account for the majority of companies using Creative Cloud, followed by companies in information tech, computer software, retail, construction, higher education, media production, and health care [1]. 

Adobe Creative Cloud vs. Adobe Creative Suite

Adobe Creative Cloud was called Adobe Creative Suite until 2013, when Adobe updated not only the stack’s branding and software but also the payment structure, switching from a license to a subscription service.     

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How much is Adobe Creative Cloud?

As a bundle, Adobe Creative Cloud is available at different price points depending on the plan you subscribe to: 

Individual plans

  • $82.49 for one month subscription

  • $54.99 / month for an annual subscription, paid monthly

  • $599.88 / year for an annual subscription, prepaid 

Business plans 

  • $84.99 / month for an annual subscription, paid monthly

  • $1,019.88 for an annual subscription, prepaid 

Students and teachers 

  • $19.99 / month for an annual subscription, paid monthly (for the first year, then $29.99 / month upon renewal)

  • $239.88 for an annual subscription, prepaid  

Schools and universities 

  • $34.99 / month per user

  • $330 / year per device

  • $142 / year per 100 students 

  • *Pricing for institution-wide license requires consultation

Adobe Creative Cloud apps

In the table below, explore the individual apps inside Adobe Create Cloud by cost, features, and use for different jobs. 

Adobe Creative Cloud AppMonthly and yearly costWhat it’s forJob titles / functions
Acrobat Pro$23.99 / month $287.88 / yearPDF solution for desktop, web, and mobileBusiness owners, sales reps, sales enablement content manager, HR manager, marketer
Photoshop$35.99 / month $431.88 / yearCreating graphics, photos, drawings, and paintings on desktop or iPadGraphic designer, photographer, marketer, artist, brand specialist
Illustrator$35.99 / month $431.88 / yearCreating designs, illustrations, and vector graphics on desktop or iPadAnimator, concept artist, fashion designer, marketer, web designer, brand specialist
Premiere Pro$35.99 / month $431.88 / yearEditing videos and films with professional qualityVideo editor, video manager, animator, motion graphics designer
InDesign$35.99 / month $431.88 / yearDesigning and laying out pages for print and digital mediaGraphic designer, digital designer, marketer, technical illustrator, copywriter, desktop publisher
After Effects$35.99 / month $431.88 / yearCreating motion graphics and visual effects for film, TV, video, and webVisual artist, animator, video editor, motion graphics designer, UX designer
Adobe XD$22.99 / month $275.88 / yearDesigning, prototyping, and sharing user experiencesUX / UI designer, web designer
InCopy$4.99 / month $59.88 / yearEditing text and modifying layouts, without affecting designsGraphic designer, copywriter, copyeditor
Audition$35.99 / month $431.88 / yearAudio recording, mixing, and restoringSound technician, sound engineer, video editor, musician, podcaster, voice actor
Lightroom$35.99 / month $431.88 / yearEditing, organizing, storing photos from desktop, web, and mobilePhotographer, photo editors, artist, graphic or digital designer
Adobe Stock$29.99 / month $359.88 / yearAccessing royalty-free assets for creative projectsGraphic designer, photographer, photo editor, graphic or digital designer
Dreamweaver$35.99 / month $431.88 / yearDesigning and developing responsive websitesWeb designer, web developer
Animate$35.99 / month $431.88 / yearDesigning interactive vector animations for multiple platformsAnimator, cartoonist, web designer
Substance 3D Collection*$99.99 / month $1,199.88 / yearModeling, texturing, and render 3D assets and scenes3D designer, architect, game designer

*The Substance 3D Collection includes the following subset of apps: 

  • Modeler, sculpt and build 3D models

  • Sampler, create 3D materials and lights

  • Designer, design parametric 3D assets

  • Painter, texture 3D models in real time

  • Stager, compose and render 3D scenes

  • Assets, high-end 3D asset library 

Read more: What Is 3D Design? And How to Get Started

Is Adobe Creative Cloud right for you? How to decide

Now that you know the cost and functions of apps in the Adobe Creative Cloud, follow the steps below to decide if these tools are right for you.  

1. Review your design goals and needs. 

Get clear on what you want to achieve as a creator, including the skills you want to master, the projects you want to complete, and the career path you want to consider. That way you can select the apps from Adobe Creative Cloud (or other brands) that can best help you achieve your goals. Draw from these examples of design goals:

  • Master digital design skills and launch your own business. 

  • Bring life to a personal creative project. 

  • Find your dream job in a specific area of digital design. 

  • Advance into a leadership role in digital design. 

2. Take courses in creative, digital, or graphic design. 

Taking courses in your area of emphasis can be a great way to master skills and select the software you need with more confidence. Look for courses that introduce you to different software programs, including the apps in Adobe Creative Cloud, and that guide you through using software to complete projects.  

For instance, with this hands-on guided project Getting Started With Adobe Spark (now called Adobe Express), you can practice using design tools, editing different elements, and more in under 1 hour. 

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guided project

Getting Started with Adobe Spark

'Getting Started with Adobe Spark' guided project is for anyone who wants to learn how to create visual content online using Adobe Spark design app. By the ...

4.7

(55 ratings)

3,066 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 1 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Adobe Spark

3. Explore the entire Adobe Creative Cloud. 

Consider signing up for a seven-day free trial of Adobe Creative Cloud to experience using the apps individually and in conjunction with another. In addition, make use of the support documentation in the Help Center, as well as the Adobe Support Community to learn as much as you can during the trial subscription period. 

4. Explore alternatives to the Adobe Creative Cloud. 

Comparing Adobe Creative Cloud with its alternatives and competitors can be a powerful final step in this process. Take pricing, features, capabilities, your long-term goals, drawbacks, learning challenges, and industry standards into consideration as you compare.  

Here are some Adobe Creative Cloud alternatives to investigate: 

Learn graphic design with Coursera

Coursera offers several course options for learning digital design and exploring career applications. The one-hour Guided Project Getting Started with Adobe Spark offers a hands-on opportunity with the design tool to create material for social media, web, and print. CalArts’ Graphic Design Specialization teaches Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator skills, among others. In the Google UX Design Professional Certificate, you’ll get experience with tools like Adobe XD and Figma.

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specialization

Graphic Design

Make Compelling Design. Learn and apply the principles of graphic design towards a comprehensive branding project.

4.8

(14,997 ratings)

306,816 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Visual Communication, Branding Communication, Graphic Design, Art History, Typography, Creativity, Graphics, Design Theory, Color Theory, Adobe Illustrator, History, Adobe Indesign, Art, Graphic Arts, Adobe Photoshop

Placeholder

guided project

Getting Started with Adobe Spark

'Getting Started with Adobe Spark' guided project is for anyone who wants to learn how to create visual content online using Adobe Spark design app. By the ...

4.7

(55 ratings)

3,066 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 1 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Adobe Spark

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professional certificate

Google UX Design

This is your path to a career in UX design. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than 6 months. No degree or experience required.

4.8

(57,269 ratings)

716,111 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

User Experience (UX), UX Research, Wireframe, Prototype, User Experience Design (UXD), Usability Testing, mockup, Figma, Adobe XD, UX design jobs

Article sources

  1. Enlyft. “Companies using Adobe Creative Cloud, https://enlyft.com/tech/products/adobe-creative-cloud.” Accessed December 1, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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