We can’t all be designers, but chances are that we all need a designer for something, even if it’s just for getting our name out there. But because designers can be expensive, Adobe has been working on a solution.
Over the past decade or so, we’ve heard numerous people suggest that “design” was the place to be if you wanted to make a living, and certainly with our reliance on all things digital, that’s no surprise.
If you’re good at making digital imagery, you can find yourself making bundles as you work for clients big and small in this day and age.
But very small companies and the Mum and Dad businesses may find themselves paying a little too much when they want their message out there in the hands of a designer, and what if a student wants the same? Heaven forbid the prices they might be charged.
So to give a bit of power back, Adobe has recently unveiled something for the every-person out there, providing anyone who needs it with a starting point for posters, web articles, small videos, and images, such as the kind you might use for Facebook or Instagram.
“Standing out on social media [or] creating engaging visual content is hard,” said Adobe’s Aubrey Cattell. “The fact is there’s a huge market [and] productivity tools like Office are underserving the market for creating the idea with impact.”
The solution to this could be “Spark”, an intriguing concept that offers pretty much anyone the tools they need in a web and app platform to create the visual impact their messages and products may need.
Think of the name “Spark” as in “a spark of energy” or “sparking your imagination”, and that word is intentional for those reasons, giving people a platform to spark their creativity and lift it to a higher level, one where they may not have to hand over oodles of money to a professional designer.
Technically, Spark originates from older apps Adobe has worked on, with the revitalisation of these apps pushing them in a new direction, and allowing people without an Adobe account — with either Facebook or Google — to just login and start making stuff.
And when we say “stuff”, we mean complicated but very magazine-y web pages, short punchy videos, and images meant for advertising, all of which could be beneficial if you need that sort of thing in your life and have a small budget.
“[Adobe] is where professionals create the best content in the world,” said Brian Nemhauser, Product Director at Adobe. Nemhauser told GadgetGuy that not everyone is a pro, and “they don’t have time or money to be pros”.
“That’s what we’re trying to do and accurate with Spark,” he said.
Testing Spark, we found it was definitely skewed towards someone who wasn’t a pro, but that even experts could have fun with the concept, logging in using the website and starting from a template and then fiddling around to get the right outcome.
Take the crafting of an Instagram-based ad, which might just be text on an image. Even that concept lets you start with a basic idea — a phrase — and then a random template, which you can change.
If the template isn’t serving your needs, you can select elements and play with them, changing fonts, colours, transparency, and adding images you might already own or ones that are Creative Commons and free to use for your own work.
It doesn’t take much to build something out of Spark, and when you’re done, you can share it with the world.
It’s not just images, either, with complicated drawn out webpages able to be generated if you have a lot of content, or even a video.
In fact, videos are very interesting, not just because you can spit out a great result in no time, but because Adobe has made it possible to craft what is essentially a message that looks and feels more professional in less time than a professional might take, and for obviously less money since Spark is free.
It’s a different process with nowhere near as much control and not quite the same amount of polish, but it’s still a good result, and one you might find will have some music behind your voice work, handy if you have a message that you want to shout to the world.
“Our mission to let everyone communicate their ideas with impact,” said Cattell. “Adobe Spark makes it easy for anyone to create and share stunning visual content.”
As good as the service appears, professionals attempting it may not be happy with how it presently works, because at the time of launch, they cannot export their Spark creations to other Adobe applications.
That means if you design and build something you’re proud of, it will only be exported into a flat JPEG or PNG on the photo side of things, and only an MP4 on the video side. If you’re expecting a complicated InDesign, Photoshop, or Premiere file, think again, as there’s nothing here for that.
Rather, you get the file as it is, ready to be shared and not necessarily worked on again. Spark is about keeping things simple, which while it might anger some designers keen to work on small projects for loose change, will mean their time can be better spent on bigger projects.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to have a great idea,” said Nemhauser.
Adobe Spark is available now for use by anyone, with the web app working at http://spark.adobe.com and the mobile apps appearing first on iPad.