Open space for technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in Nairobi.

image from

iHub By Mugethi Gitau / February 3, 2014

Is it cloudy yet? (Adobe Creative Cloud)


Image sourced from

So if you are a visual artist who does it commercially you probably use the Adobe Suite of products. Illustrator (I’m a vectors girl), Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere, the works

A few of us have bought a copy of CS6 (or are using a corporate licence courtesy of their employer).  Based on a statistic that Photoshop CS5.1 is the no. 2 most pirated software I am willing to bet that quite a few people out there are using a cracked copy. That’s right, I used the C word.

In our defence, some of us might have USD 3000. But it’s not for buying software! The rest of us do not have USD 3000. Yet.

So armed with those solid justifications, we comfortably use our alternatively sourced CS6.


Enter Adobe Creative cloud.



So it’s 50 dollars monthly.

First time I heard that I went, 50 dollars EVERY month? Why??

Granted I as an individual have been having challenges considering software as a tool of my trade. Many artists I know are perfectly happy to spend at least USD 1100 or much more on a MacBook Air, software is a whole other story.

Someone I look up to pointed it out to me that it was not USD 50 compared to nothing, it was compared to USD 3000! (He said a few other things about loving freebies but let’s not go into details) Now that got me thinking.

He then further challenged me by asking me how much I am worth hourly as a designer. I did the math and came to USD 40 hourly. “So what you are saying is that you need to work for 1 hour, 15 minutes, to pay your monthly fee for the cloud?” Aha!


When you put it like that, it doesn’t sound too bad.

So I decided to have a chat with someone who is already using creative cloud – our video and photography guru and find out why anyone would want to pay 50 good ones every month to use software on a cloud.


  • First of all, updates are instant. You don’t have to wait for cs7 to be released for the new features and bug fixes to be done. It’s instant. (Well you know how annoying bugs are). And you don’t have to buy that. It’s a free update.
  • Secondly it’s light on your hardware resources. The whole suite is available to you but you only download what you use. So this guy downloaded Photoshop, InDesign and Premier. While I the vectors girl; can download Illustrator, and Fireworks :-)
  • Thirdly, You have access to the cloud. Your work will not only be safe and portable, but if you get the team or enterprise package, you can easily collaborate due to the central access
  • To crown it all you will have the peace of mind to know that you are using a legally acquired suite of excellent software (his words, not mine)


So I throw it to you

  • Should you as a visual artist (not) pay for the tools of your trade?
  • Is USD 50 monthly a reasonable amount to expect from a freelancer?
  • Has the time come for us as a community to abandon the culture of “alternative sourcing of software”?


I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Tags , ,

Author : Mugethi Gitau

Mugethi Gitau is an all round creative. A techie by training, she is into all things design - Graphics, fashion, interiors. A writer of fiction and a poet, and tech/gadget blogger on Mugethi has a rich mix of experience ranging from training, community development and advocacy, research and design. A people's person, she enjoys linking the iHub Tech Community with each other, investors/corporates, academics and other stakeholders. She has a dream that one day, Kenyan techies will innovate their own computers and mobile devices and people all over the world will buy them. And use them.

  • Kelly Muhindi at 10:41:10AM Monday, February 10, 2014

    Thanks for the enlightening article. I especially like the ‘cost per hour-charge per month’ analysis. However I feel that there’s more to it especially on the technical side.

    I’ve once used CS6 (Photoshop) ended up frustrated after performing an operation on an image and waiting for like 10 seconds for the updated image to render (and I was on a corporate network). Do you think this cloud model makes sense when internet connections are not fast enough (read poornetwork infrastructure ) for heavy duty applications?. Secondly what happens to your precious design work stored on Adobe’s servers if you don’t pay your monthly subscription?.

  • Murage at 10:57:06AM Monday, February 10, 2014

    Hi, I don’t think they consider students (like me) who need to use the software but have no means to afford $50 per month (which roughly translates to Kshs 4250/-). I’m i no way advocating for cracked copies. I’m just saying that if I had the money I wold pay for it…but I don’t.

  • Mugethi Gitau at 10:58:04AM Monday, February 10, 2014

    Hi Kelly,

    Thanks for engaging. I hear your concerns.

    So were you using the Creative Cloud?

  • Mugethi Gitau at 11:01:02AM Monday, February 10, 2014


    Thanks for sharing.

    The cost issue is a major issue.

    Even for a freelancer, it may be tricky considering you need to pay first, then access the software, then use it to make money

  • Linda Kinoti at 12:25:59PM Monday, February 10, 2014

    If you actually try to purchase the creative cloud as a Kenyan or from europe it isnt 50dollars a month it comes to about 85dollars and you would have to pay for a whole year in advance, as you will be buying/paying to adobe dealers and not adobe themselves. So the price of 50dollars I guess is only for their US clients only which is rather discriminative in my opinion

  • Mugethi Gitau at 13:14:20PM Monday, February 10, 2014

    Very observant there Linda!

  • Alfred M at 14:40:31PM Wednesday, April 30, 2014

    I have no qualms about spending 50 dollars a month/ 600 a year to have legit software. The problem is, Adobe won’t let me! Try buying CC from any Sub-Saharan country. If you registered your account on African soil… tough luck. The irony is that they created a site called Adobe Africa: that only opens up on line subscriptions to South Africans.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

{{ theme:js file="jquery.fittext.js" }}