The Bitter Suite

Adobe Creative SuiteWe’ve had a copy of the Adobe Creative Suite in the office for a few weeks, but it was only today that I got around to installing it on my PowerMac G4. I spent the afternoon trying to knock out some comps for a project using Illustrator CS and Photoshop CS, using essentially the same techniques and methods that I would normally use with their predecessors. In fact, there is nothing dramatically different about these revisions, which is a kind of disappointment to me given the rather pronounced rebranding effort invested into this software suite by Adobe.

Illustrator and Photoshop Icons

I had expected a much overhauled set of interfaces, but it seems more as if they’ve been merely tweaked; the engineering focus seems to have been placed on adding new features and addressing only the most glaring shortcomings of existing ones. It’s apparent to me that almost no effort has been paid to trying to resolve larger interaction issues, the most notorious of which is both programs’ crack addict-like dependency on floating palettes. There must some thirty palettes or so for each of these programs, which makes for a user interface embarassment, if not an outright disaster.

Adobe: Match game. As cheesey as they are, the icons for Illustrator 10 and Photoshop 7 are easier to identify than their new Adobe CS counterparts.

One more complaint: though I had previously applauded Adobe’s rebranding, I have to quibble with their decision to completely remake the icons that represent each application. After years of looking for the admittedly cheesey Photoshop eye and the Illustrator Venus icons, I’ve now got to retrain myself to look for, er, a flower and a feather? Which is which? At the very least, Adobe should have preserved the same blue and ochre color schemes for these icons so that I don’t find myself trying to solve some senseless rebus every time I try to launch or switch to these programs.



  1. I discovered – to my horror – that InDesign CS documents are not backwards compatible – there’s not even an option to save to the previous version. So I can’t possibly upgrade yet, because nobody else has. Sigh.

  2. Illustrator CS also presents a backwards compatibility nightmare when it comes to type. Watch out. If you export back to AI 10, all your type becomes ‘point type’ (in other words useless).

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