They have maybe the worst reputation in software. They are to design tools what Microsoft was in 2001: a giant, ugly behemoth. I don’t know any paying customer who likes them, and being a customer of theirs is like being in a relationship with a serial abuser.
But there is so little competition that everybody in all sorts of 2D design circles has at least some workflows they rely on Adobe for. For me, it’s photo work and print design (InDesign specifically).
They are mostly good at photography, but their colour rendering — a key part of photos! — is way behind. And InDesign is egregious bloatware that remains slow even on my fully loaded M1 Max machine. That should never be the case.
Illustrator can’t pan or zoom without beachballing on the same machine, even in an empty document. Lightroom is discernibly laggy in use, but it’s integrations with photoshop — still the king of non-destructive layer-based image editing — make you feel like an idiot if you don’t use it.
Adobe Fonts were great until Adobe isolated it from the OS in their own little virtual layer. Now they constantly deactivate themselves. They auto-activate when you need them, but only if — you guessed it — you need them in Adobe software. Need it in Figma, or Word, or Pages? You’re SOL.
The main Creative Cloud app is a resource hog that’s constantly phoning home. One colleague of mine is convinced Adobe is recording his screen remotely 24/7 because they gobble up so much data.
And on top of that, every. Single. App. They make reliably crashes.
For these privileges, I pay them something like $80 CAD/month.
Meanwhile, Figma is a performant dream. It’s an electron app that makes every other electron app look and feel like a potato. Were it not for the fact that it requires an internet connection, you’d assume it’s a native, Metal-equipped Apple Silicon app. It was the anti-Adobe, made by people who grew up with and were frustrated by Adobe. So people — myself included — have spent years making Figma a huge and central part of their workflow, including almost (reportedly) the entirety of Microsoft’s internal teams.
It’s not surprising that people are concerned and upset. I heard one woman sobbing today, worried that Adobe would shut down the free pricing tiers that enable her to do her work in a lower-income part of the world. I heard a grown man choke back tears because Figma helped him escape from Adobe a few years back, and he doesn’t want to go back. But there is no other option now, except for Sketch. This industry is under-served, with few tools and a massive cost to entry for new entrants. Adobe is the behemoth, the thousand-pound gorilla, the elephant in the room, the T-Rex destroying all else at the top of the food chain.
I cannot stress this enough: people hate Adobe.