What Is Adobe Creative Cloud Express?
Adobe Creative Cloud Express is an integrated web and mobile solution for creating and sharing simple visual content—including simple webpages, social media graphics, videos and presentations— across multiple platforms. Creative Cloud Express also allows users to easily create traditional print marketing pieces. The best thing, however, is that the platform is geared toward nondesigners and is more user-friendly than Adobe’s other design products. This makes it easy for someone to pick up and create quick designs, even if they are not the most design-savvy—especially since there is access to templates, royalty-free images and other design assets that you can use to create drag-and-drop, professional-looking visual content.
Creative Cloud Express might look familiar to you if you have ever used Adobe Spark. Last December, Adobe rebranded the Adobe Spark product as Creative Cloud Express, keeping the major functions of Spark but adding more social networking features. The rebrand also unified all of Spark’s capabilities and functions into one single platform, though the Spark Video and Spark Page mobile apps remain.
First, if you are already a Creative Cloud user, I will note that the interface of Creative Cloud Express may seem a bit odd at first, but keep in mind that the platform is geared toward nondesigners, and the feature set is more basic than that of a pro-design solution. If you have never designed graphics or marketing mate- rial before, then the simple interface can be less overwhelming and easier to use as opposed to a pro-solution.
Within Creative Cloud Express the user has access to thousands of templates that are available for many different types of design projects, including social media graphics, stories, banners and thumbnails, as well as posters, flyers and business cards. If you want to get creative and prefer to build your project from scratch, or if you find using templates too limiting, there are plenty of assets and tools within the platform to use to design the project yourself.
Most users, however, will likely start by choosing to use a template. Once you have selected your template, you can then select images to use from the Adobe Stock royalty-free photo collection or use your own images. Depending on your mem- bership category—free or premium—you have access to a certain number of images and fonts, as well as tools that can apply effects, filters, textures and overlays, and even remove backgrounds from images. In addition to static text, Creative Cloud Express also allows users to include animation features, like animations one would use in presentation software like PowerPoint or Keynote.
In addition to creating social media graphics and other traditional marketing material, you can also create video content with Creative Cloud Express. I have found the video features in the premium plan particularly useful when I have needed to create professional-looking intro and outro videos for a video blog. While the videos created within Creative Cloud Express are designed to be short—each slide within a video is limited to 30 seconds—the video tools allow users to easily add video and sound clips, photos, text, icons and Adobe Stock music to create content. Users can also record their own voice to add narration. Just as with other projects within the platform, the drag-and-drop feature makes the process of creating video content quick and easy.
If you need to resize or remove backgrounds from images; convert videos to GIFs; or crop, trim and edit videos, Adobe Creative Cloud also has these tools available for both free and premium users. The premium plan has additional robust editing tools for images, videos and PDFs.
Both free and premium (paid) plan options are available. The free plan will get you access to the core features of the product, including a limited number of templates, a limited collection of royalty-free Adobe Stock images, basic editing tools and 2 GB of storage. If you try Creative Cloud Express for free and like the product, then spending the money on the premium plan may be worth it to gain access to the extra features.
The premium plan is priced at $9.99 a month, or $99.99 prepaid annually.
The premium plan includes access to all templates and design assets, access to the entire collection of royalty-free Adobe Stock images, more robust editing features and 100 GB of storage. Additionally, with the premium subscription plan you can use a built-in tool to plan and schedule social media content to go out across multiple channels. The user can also create a consistent brand theme—fonts, colors, logos—within their premium account to apply across projects with one click. You also get access to features found in the Photoshop Express mobile app, Adobe Spark Video for creating video slideshows, Adobe Spark Page for quick webpage publishing, and Adobe Premier Rush for shooting, editing and sharing videos.
Because the platform is geared toward nondesigners, Adobe has really focused on marketing the product as user-friendly and one that is designed to be easy to get started with little to no training. You can access the platform via the web and/or mobile app. The app is available for download on iOS and Android. Once you have signed up for the free or premium plan and created an account, you are ready to get started.
If you are an existing Creative Cloud subscriber, the apps within Creative Cloud Express are all already available to you. Despite the limited functionality, you may still find the product helpful to use rather than using a pro-app under certain circumstances—such as when you need to quickly create and push out content.
How Does It Compare to Canva?
Canva is another web-based design app geared toward users without a lot of design experience. It can also be used to easily create visual content, including social media graphics, presentations, posters, flyers and more. Much like Creative Cloud Express, Canva takes an easy-to-use template approach to creating content and includes access to royalty-free images.
Adobe Cloud Express is designed to compete with Canva. However, both Canva and Creative Cloud Express have their pros and cons. For instance, Canva has more templates, Creative Cloud Express is cheaper, Canva allows for easy collaboration, Creative Cloud Express allows you to create a single-page, Adobe-hosted website, etc. Ultimately, it may come down to personal platform preference and/or what type of project you are working on.
Regardless of which platform you choose, and whether it is a paid or free account, design applications such as Adobe Creative Cloud Express can assist you in designing content to increase your marketing presence on social media.