When I was growing up software was easier to pirate, easier to crack, and all around easier to fool around with. Today that is not the case with a majority of major programs being distributed solely through walled gardens known as App Stores. The most popular smartphone on the market, the iPhone, can only purchase content from a single App Store unless you jailbreak it. A lot of Android devices claim to be open but are actually just as restricted. Tablets are a walled garden and Windows machines are headed in that direction as well.
Why am I making all these obvious claims you may ask. It’s because todays move by Adobe, the design company that ushered in modern graphic design, will actually lead to a shortage of graphic designers. When you’re twelve years old, there is absolutely no way you can afford $30 a month or $1,200 for a license of Adobe Creative Suite. You could ask your parents for it but that is not how interest develops in a child, it’s from a friend telling you they have a copy of Photoshop and asking you if you want it. YES. Heck, most college students would rather pick food over a tool that would allow them to put forth a better resume. But today Adobe announced they will no longer sell licensed software and while that’s fine for individuals like me with a job, it will have unintended consequences. Primarily, a shortage of skilled young individuals that wish to pursue graphic design or any design for that matter. Without being organically exposed to a product like creative suite, I’ll admit, less than on legal terms (at the age of twelve), I would not have developed any skills related to my ability to maneuver Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign today (and purchase the software at the age of twenty). While Adobe’s motive makes good business sense on paper, for the moment, they are unknowingly chopping off their nose to spite their face. In an attempt to exert more influence over their software, they will discourage individuals from pursuing graphic design.
When will this happen? Today.