Adobe's Black Friday deal cuts 25% off all-app subscription: pros and cons

Have you been mulling giving Adobe's Creative Cloud subscriptions a try? Does the Black Friday promotion of a 25 percent discount off $53 a month for a year -- down to $40 -- sound attractive? 

If you were planning on subscribing for the first time or upgrade from your dependable old (old, old) perpetual-license version, then this is a really good time to do it and you have until Nov. 23 to take advantage. But if you just want to kick the tires, there are some other factors to take into account before plunking down your credit card.

What's the deal?

There are two Black Friday discounts on the table:

Access to all of Adobe fonts -- the service formerly known as Typekit -- now comes with the plans, as does 100GB storage.

The offer's for a year's subscription. Though the terms state that you have to prepay the entire year in advance, that doesn't seem to be true. Clicking through the buying process charges you only the first month's $40, and a call to the sales line confirmed that was correct. 

However, it's still a year's commitment; if you change your mind after the first 14 days and want to cancel, you'll be out half the annual cost.

As you'd expect, the discount is only available to new subscribers, and limited to one subscription per customer. At the end of the year, it will automatically renew at the full price, which is what you'll be paying in perpetuity because I've never seen a discount for an existing customer. However, Adobe does offer discounts at least a few times a year, so you'll likely get another chance at a deal.

What's not to like?

If you just want to see whether you'd like the CC ecosystem or give the 2019 applications a go before committing, you may be better off getting the seven-day free trial and take it for a spin before the 23rd, then subscribe if you still want it.

Why isn't a year better than seven days? The tar pit problem. If you really use the system, trying to get all your work out if you choose not to continue is at best an aggravation and at worst, impossible. Once you've got a couple thousand photos catalogued in Lightroom, getting them out with all the metadata -- ratings, keywords, captions and so on -- is a pain. You can save the metadata for a whole catalog into the individual photos' sidecar files, but it takes a while; having Lightroom save the metadata to the file as you update them bogs down the software. Choose your poison. And if you take advantage of the coolest new features, like range masking, those don't travel with the file -- only the basic adjustments do.

Love the libraries? I do. But you can't download anything in them; the only way to use the assets is within Adobe's apps. Graphics produced by the Adobe Capture mobile app go straight into libraries, and they're standard SVG files. But to get them out of CC, you can only save them one at a time, and only using the mobile app. Forget about styles, color palettes or patterns.

You get the idea.

Is any of this unusual? Lots of companies lock their best stuff within a walled garden. But that's the caveat you have to watch out for before sinking a lot of time and money into an expensive year-long trial thinking it'll be easy to move on.

Check out our running picks of the best Black Friday deals this year.

Here are the best Black Friday deals you can get right now.