How far do you think you know Adobe? If all you know about Adobe is Photoshop, Lightroom or Illustrator then don’t tell me you are an Adobe fan. Adobe has more products than you probably thought. One of the Adobe’s products you haven’t probably heard of is Adobe Spark.
It’s understandable if you haven’t heard Adobe Spark since it’s an Adobe’s new product. The tool has just been released publicly in May 2016. One question, what is Adobe Spark used for?
As you have probably known, Adobe already has two design tools in the selves of Illustrator and InDesign. So, the emergence of Adobe Spark might can cannibalizes the two. But it seems that Adobe knows the market better than us users. We have seen the evidence. Photoshop still becoming a favorite photo editing tool regardless of the emergence of Lightroom. It’s because Photoshop and Lightroom come with different focuses.
Same story applies to Adobe Spark. Although the essence of it is a design tool, but Adobe never expected it to replace both Illustrator and InDesign. Instead, Adobe Spark was developed with the different purpose. Specifically, the tool is aimed at helping users to create visual contents for social media. With the tool, you will be able to create a speaking visual contents in minutes.
I have tested Adobe Spark and found that the tool is useful enough. What to know more about the tool? Read on.
The use of Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark is a design tool. It is part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud. The tool is available for macOS, Windows and iOS. In addition, Adobe Spark is also available in a web version, allowing Linux users to use it as well. Adobe Spark uses the freemium business model meaning that you can use it for free although there are some restrictions here and there.
As I mentioned, Adobe Spark has never been intended to be a replacement of neither Illustrator nor InDesign. It works different way with a different focus. Adobe Spark is a tool you can use to create visual contents for social media. You can also use it to create the better covers for the social media accounts you are handling. Or, if you are a blogger, you can also use it to create visual contents for your blog posts. Everything can get done in minutes. If you need a photo for the design you are creating, you can effortlessly import one from Adobe Stock, Lightroom, Dropbox or Google Photos. If you have no photo collections on those services, Adobe Spark also gives you a chance to upload a photo from your computer.
The use of Adobe Spark is not limited to image-based designs. You can also create visual contents in the form of short videos. If you often post short videos on your social media channels, Adobe Spark is also a great tool you can use. There are a bunch free musics you can use as the backsound.
The vast majority of online design tools tend to have the similar interface. Typically, they come with an interface where main menus lie on the left-most side of the screen with an element selector right next to it. Adobe Spark comes with a different style. I can’t say if that is better or precisely worse since everyone has their own style.
The darker sidebar on the right side of the screen is not used to access the menus (which is used to so in Canva and Crello). Instead, it plays different roles depends on the active element. If you activate the text element (by clicking on of the texts), you can use the sidebar to make some formatting toward the text like changing the font style, color, spacing and align. There is no option to change the font size.
Conversely, if you activate the image background, you will see a number options of image filters. Much like Instagram.
If you want to change the default texts offered by the template you chose, simply double-click the text you want to replace. Adobe Spark will turn into a full screen mode where you can type the text you want. The concept isn’t too good since you can’t see the change in a live mode. Another issue is the performance. I was using a 2GB machine when testing and there were some moment where my computer running slowly. The same thing rarely occurred when I tested similar tools like Canva and Crello.
Right above the working canvas, you will see a green circle button. Clicking the button, you will see three more buttons which each used to add photo, text and logo. If you use the free version of Adobe Spark you will only be able to use two buttons: photo and text. The free version of Adobe Spark doesn’t allow you to add a logo to your design.
In addition to photo and text, Adobe Spark also allows you to add shapes like circle, rectangle, square and other basic shapes. Those three elements (photo, text and shape) are the only elements you can add to the design you are working on. No chance to add other elements like symbols, lines or illustrations. Also keep in mind that each photo you add to your design will be sent to lowest layer of you design (background). Especially for photo, you can use a wide range of sources to get the photos you need. You can get the paid photos from Adobe Stock. Or you can also import your photo collections on Dropbox or Google Photos. Adobe Spark also allows you to upload a photo from computer.
Want more option? Adobe Spark also offers free photos, which are basically taken from third party services (Pixabay and Unsplash).
Free version vs paid version
Just like other freemium tools, the free version of Adobe Spark tend to come with tight enough restrictions. In Adobe Spark, the biggest difference between the free version and paid version is related to branding. The paid version of Adobe Spark allows you to replace the Adobe Spark logo with your own logo. You can manage all of your brand in one place and update the branding across templates and themes in a single click. Other thing offered by paid version of Adobe Spark is to leverage personalized branded templates and themes. The rest, there is no special features offered by paid version of Adobe Spark.
Some notes and conclusion
Adobe Spark is a nice tool to create visual contents for social media and blog as well. You can create beautiful, speaking visual contents in minutes with this tool. But, there are several things seem need to notice if you want to use it.
First, the elements you can add to your design are limited enough, at least if compared to similar tools like Canva and Crello. Second, Adobe Spark is designed for an individual use. No collaboration feature offered by the tool, even the paid version. Other downside is that Adobe Spark doesn’t have a decent file manager. While other similar tools allow you to create folders to make your projects be more organized, Adobe Spark doesn’t offer the same.
Please note that the paid version of Adobe Spark is not available as a standalone app. Instead, it is a part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud. If you register to the paid version, you will also get Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC. Annual commitment is required if you want to upgrade your free account.