Adobe has rebranded its Spark multimedia creation suite as Creative Cloud Express and created a standalone version. The idea is to help folks create rich visual content like social media posts, stories, flyers and banners using a straightforward drag-and-drop interface. Along with a fairly generous free plan, there's a $10 per month or $99 a year premium option.
The free version includes thousands of templates, fonts and design assets as well as some royalty-free photos. You'll have access to some basic editing tools and photo effects on the web and mobile, including background removal and animation. You'll get 2 GB of cloud storage too.
While that might be enough for more casual users, professionals might find the premium plan more suitable. Along with everything from the free tier, they'll get access to all premium design assets and templates (around 50,000, according to a demo), more than 20,000 fonts and all of Adobe's 160 million+ royalty-free stock images.
A brand manager will allow paid users to include their logo, branding, colors and fonts with a single tap, which could be a major time saver and help maintain a consistent design language. There are more in-depth editing features, such as graphic groups, resizing and refine cutout. You'll be able to import and export PDFs and other file types.
There's integration with Creative Cloud Libraries. All Express assets and templates can be edited and managed across other Creative Cloud apps. You'll also get 100 GB of storage. In addition, the premium plan includes access to features from other Adobe apps. They include video capture and editing on mobile and desktop (Premiere Rush); combining photos and creating collages (Photoshop Express); video slideshows (Spark Video); and building web pages from text and images (Spark Page).
Creative Cloud Express uses Adobe Sensei, the same artificial intelligence and machine learning tech behind the company's core apps, such as Photoshop and Premiere. The framework powers features like the ability to turn videos into GIFs and merging videos. There are also plans to integrate ContentCal, which automates social media publishing and reporting, into Express. Adobe announced an agreement to buy ContentCal last week.
Until now, Express had only been available with Creative Cloud plans. A standalone version could help Adobe better compete with the likes of Canva, Prezi and Picsart, especially given that there's a free option.
Express is included with Creative Cloud All Apps and flagship single-app plans costing at least $20. The suite is free for K-12 as well. Creative Cloud Express is available now on the web and as an app from the Microsoft Store, Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Versions for Enterprise and Teams will arrive next year.