Photoshop Is Now One Big Happy “Family”

Photoshop family logo

A few weeks ago at Photoshop World, John Loiacono (Senior VP/Creative Business Products at Adobe) revealed the new “Photoshop family” of products, complete with logo, which encompasses the various Adobe products branded with “Photoshop”:

  • Photoshop CS3 Extended
  • Photoshop CS3
  • Photoshop Lightroom
  • Photoshop Elements
  • Photoshop Album Starter Edition

I think it’s been obvious for a couple years now that Photoshop has constituted a family of products: Elements has been around since mid-2002 (launched with Photoshop 7) and Lightroom has been rightfully positioned as a Photoshop sibling even in its beta stage, before it was renamed “Photoshop Lightroom.” This year’s Creative Suite 3 release created a second version of Photoshop, CS3 Extended, with specialized features for various industries such as medical imaging and architecture. This made it even more logical to group the products as a true “family.”

However, the question is: Is the “Photoshop family” concept going to benefit the user community, or is this more of a corporate branding concept? Let’s look at some key aspects of the “Photoshop family” concept:

The logo. It looks like a cross between the letter “P” and a word bubble, all deliciously covered in a candy coating. As logos go, it’s well-designed and looks sharp. Scott Kelby has gone on the record to say that he didn’t like it at first but now is “fairly comfortable with it.” I myself don’t mind the brand itself but what strikes me is the overbranding of Photoshop. There are a lot of Photoshop brands already out there—Photoshop, Extended, Lightroom, Elements, Album—so will the “Photoshop family” brand stand out in the marketplace? Will we see the logo on every Photoshop product? Let’s say we pull Photoshop CS3 Extended from the shelf at CompUSA—will the packaging tell buyers this product is a member of the Photoshop family? I haven’t seen it yet, and Adobe has probably missed the boat already since CS3 has shipped out for awhile now. Perhaps they will put it on future shipments of Photoshop family products, but at this point the logo is only seen on the Photoshop family page on Adobe.com.

“See What’s Possible.” This is the tagline for the Photoshop family brand, and it’s a good tagline: it fits the product well and positively reinforces the brand. However, as with the logo, currently it’s shown only on its little piece of Adobe.com real estate. Until it gets some exposure out in the marketplace, it doesn’t really serve the Photoshop family brand except online. Speaking of which…

Photoshop family webpage graphic

The header graphic on the Photoshop family page.

The Photoshop family webpage at Adobe.com. This is the focus of all Photoshop family marketing efforts. There’s a very nice Flash movie that shows how “There’s a Photoshop for you” (another slogan used in conjunction with the Photoshop family brand), a full list of the Photoshop products and some Photoshop resources. There’s also a Photoshop product comparison page where you can click on your profession (designer, photographer, medical professional, etc.) and see which product or products are right for you. Unfortunately this page is somewhat hidden—look for the “There’s a Photoshop for you” link in the first paragraph at the top.

Reaching the page can be a trick if you take any wrong turns. The best way to reach it is to select “Photoshop Family” in the Products drop-down menu, which is accessible on any page. If you use any other method, such as typing in adobe.com/photoshop or going to one of the specific Photoshop products, look for a Photoshop family logo tacked on the bottom of the page or a mention of the “Photoshop family.” The Photoshop members of CS3 (Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended) have a list of Photoshop family products and a link to the Photoshop family page. However, the Photoshop family is not emphasized on these pages: the logo is at the bottom and, if there’s a list of Photoshop family products, it’s rather small and shoehorned in below the price listings.

In conclusion, I think the “Photoshop family” concept is a good one, and very timely now that there’s several different products carrying the Photoshop name. I also think Adobe should have done a few things to bring the Photoshop family concept out into the marketplace, because right now it isn’t causing much change in the industry. Everyday users will still be buying “Photoshop” because that’s all they know about. There are clients I work with who don’t know what Photoshop Lightroom is yet. Adobe will have a good chance to cement the Photoshop family brand in a year or two when CS4 launches, but I think they hurt themselves when they failed to hitch the Photoshop family brand to the CS3 launch. That would have really brought the family together.