Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Standard / Premium review

29 Sep 2008

Adobe builds on its print strengths to take its rich design mission online. And it has made

Price when reviewed: 
1,029Upgrade: Standard frommore
5

It's easy to forget these days, but Adobe began life developing software and fonts for imagesetting machines. Things have moved on considerably since these humble beginnings, but Adobe's core focus and strength remains in publishing.

Key to this are the four flagship applications that together comprise the Design Standard suite: Photoshop CS4 for handling bitmaps; Adobe Illustrator CS4 for handling vector graphics; Adobe InDesign CS4 for handling multiple page publications such as magazines; and Acrobat for editing and creating PDF files.

As the individual reviews show, Adobe has not only added important new functionality in each case but, just as importantly, it has made it much easier to tap each application's existing power.

And at a price for all four applications that's not much greater than for QuarkXPress 8, it's little wonder that the Standard suite now dominates the world of design-for-print.

Paper-based publishing remains central to Adobe's mission, but in this release the importance of onscreen electronic publishing via the web comes a close second.

In its Design Premium suite, Adobe has been able to take advantage of its takeover of Macromedia to drop its own second-rate web offerings and replace them with the web industry standards: Dreamweaver CS4 for producing code-based web pages and Flash for producing rich internet content and applications.

And both, for the first time, have now been fully brought into the Adobe fold, with the same brand spanking new CS4 interface. In addition, for the first time, the bundle also now includes Fireworks CS4 for web-optimised bitmap and vector handling and website prototyping.

In fact, with industry-leading software packages across the board, and all of them working more tightly together than ever, the two CS4 Design Suites remain the benchmarks by which all others must be judged. Despite the inflated UK prices, it's difficult to argue with the flexibility, power and value that each one offers.

Click below for the reviews in full:

Adobe CS4 Master Collection

Design Standard / Design Premium CS4

Photoshop CS4

Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended

Adobe Illustrator CS4

Adobe InDesign CS4

Details

Price ex VAT £895
Price inc VAT £1,029
Overall rating 5
Ease of Use rating 5
Features & Design 6
Value for Money 5
Software subcategory Graphics/design software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes