Just in the nick of time following the post I wrote yesterday, I made a trip to my local bookstore last night and I bough the new issue of Dynamic Graphics magazine (April/May). The issue’s focus is mainly on type but there is a entire article in the mag devoted to the issue I was discussing.
The article (titled “Jack of Both Trades“) makes the point in the very first paragraph that, nowadays, designer’s clients have come to expect Web skills from their “print” designers, not as a nice-to-have asset but as a matter of fact. I see the same the other way around. Web designers are now often required to design print assets as clients prefer to deal with a single vendor for all their branding/identity needs rather than to having to do business with 2 or more (in addition to printers, etc). This really is not a new trend either as I have seen this evolving that way for years now.
Why hasn’t Adobe marketing answered to that trend better than they have with their Creative Suite 3 packaging is their responsibility to explain. It is quite clear to me when you look at the new features of individual apps in the CS3 Suites that the developers and product managers have listened to Adobe and former Macromedia customers and answered their needs. It is also quite clear to me that marketing has not listened so well.
The Web/Print dichotomy really does not make a whole lot of sense anymore and software vendors like Adobe really need be more flexible in the way they provide designers the tools they need. It is too late to do anything about this with CS3 but let’s hope that Adobe hears the current outcry of users who feel their needs are not being met adequatly when they plan their packaging options for CS4.
I think the best option they could explore for the future is offering designers a way to buy downloadable packages “à la carte” and allow them to select the individual products they need. Like I said before, I have no need for Contribute but InDesign is becoming essential to my workflow for a variety of tasks. Contribute and InDesign are of course not equivalent in terms of price or value but getting InDesign instead of Contribute in a Suite tailored to my specific needs should cost less than buying the Web Premium Suite upgrade and buying InDesign standalone or getting the Design Premium Suite and getting Fireworks standalone. What do you think?