Adobe’s Misaligned Priorities
Not going to lie—I’m a little torn about this. I think the insight into Adobe’s branding process is really cool. Plenty of people think the CS5 splash screens are stupid, but I’m going to have to throw my hat in with the opposite camp. I especially like the Otl Aicher inspiration.
That said, branding is simply not Adobe’s problem. Since CS3’s “elements” redesign, their apps have been immediately and universally recognizable as part of a wider suite. Yeah, the splash screens are a little bland, but at least they follow a reliable, uniform aesthetic—unlike, let’s say, Photoshop’s sliders.
The people who live inside Adobe’s applications day in and day out are indeed artistic, design-y types who appreciate the little touches, but they also need tools that work—to borrow a phrase, “real artists ship”. The Internet is awash with complaints for people who rely on Creative Suite to make their living, and other length-of-time-stared-at, no one is whining about splash screens.
Maybe it’s not abundantly clear to Adobe’s higher-ups, but the vast majority of designers in the world prefer to work on an operating system made by Apple, which—let’s not mince words here—is currently at war with Adobe. iAd is a serious threat to the near hegemony Flash has in interactive online advertising.
If Apple were to custom-tailor some Creative Suite-esq applications for its already extensive line of high-end production software on OS X, while Adobe twiddles on splash screens instead of fixing the problems that actually matter, the firm could see its competitors in Cupertino snatch away the lion’s share of both the rich-content and design markets it currently relies on.
No splash screen is pretty enough to spin a positive outcome from that sort of failure.