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Creative Cloud Express is Adobe’s newest design app. Here’s how to get it for free or with a subscription.
You can download Adobe Creative Cloud Express now (opens in new tab) to get started with Adobe’s latest addition to its suite of creative software. Okay, so Creative Cloud Express isn’t actually a brand new product; it’s an updated version of Adobe Spark with a few tweaks, but the new name now makes it a little clearer what it’s all about: a quick, straightforward browser- and mobile-based app that allows you to design social media posts and flyers in no time at all.
Set to be hugely popular with social media creators and non-designers, Adobe Creative Cloud Express enables you to design from scratch or choose from a huge range of templates for logos, posters, Instagram posts and stories and much more.
However, as is often the case with Adobe, how to get the software can initially be a little bit confusing. With most of Adobe’s creative apps, you have the option of a seven-day free trial, and then you need to pay for a subscription (see our guides on how to download Photoshop and how to download Illustrator). Adobe Creative Cloud Express is a little different because there’s also a completely free version of the software, although it has some limitations, as we’ll see below.
To learn more about the software, skip down to What is Adobe Creative Cloud Express? or read our Creative Cloud Express review. However, if you just want to dive in and explore the software for yourself, read on to learn exactly how to download Adobe Creative Cloud Express (opens in new tab).
Get a Creative Cloud Express Free Plan from Adobe (opens in new tab)
The Adobe Creative Cloud Express Starter Plan is a limited but entirely free version of the software that you can use straight away. It offers a load of free templates, images and icons, and you can also design from scratch.
Yes, you can download Creative Cloud Express for free. In fact, there are three ways to do so. Like all Adobe creative apps, there’s an option to sign up for a free trial of the full version of the software (see below for that) but in this case, there’s also a completely free version. You can get Adobe Creative Cloud Express on a free plan to use in your browser, or download Adobe Creative Cloud Express for free for iOS or Android, and carry on using it forever.
The catch is that the free version has limitations, and unfortunately some features that used to be in the free version of Adobe Spark are not present in the free version of Creative Cloud Express, for example resizing.
Nonetheless, the free version allows you to get a good feel for the software and, unlike many free design apps, your designs won’t have a watermark plastered over them. The free version still offers thousands of templates and design assets for different social media platforms, plus Adobe Fonts and a limited selection of royalty-free Adobe Stock photos. It offers basic editing effects options including the ability to remove backgrounds and to add animation. You get 2GB of storage, and you can use the app both in a browser and on your mobile.
You’ll need to create an Adobe account to access the free version of Creative Cloud Express, but you don’t need to hand over any credit card details. There are also two ways to get the full version of Adobe Creative Cloud Express for free. You can sign up for a free three-month trial or claim free access if you’re in education (see below for both options).
Get a 3-month free trial of the full version of Adobe Creative Cloud Express (opens in new tab)
The full version of Adobe Creative Cloud Express offers a three-month free trial that gives you plenty of time to decide whether you want to continue with a paid subscription (if you don’t, you can easily cancel before the trial expires).
If you want more features, including resizing, full access to Adobe Stock photos and options to apply your own branding, you’ll want the Premium version of Creative Cloud Express. However, while this version requires a paid subscription to use it long-term, by following the link above, you can get a free trial for three months. That’s much more generous than the trials that Adobe offers on most of its other apps, which usually last just seven days, giving you plenty of time to play around with the software to see if it works for you.
Get Creative Cloud Express Premium from $99.99 / £101.15 per year (opens in new tab)
After the three-month free trial of Creative Cloud Express, if you continue with your subscription you can pay monthly or annually, with the monthly sub costing $9.99 / £10.15 or an annual subscription costing $99.99 / £101.15.
Get Creative Cloud Express Premium with an all-Apps Creative Cloud subscription (opens in new tab)
Creative Cloud Express is also included in the full Creative Cloud suite of apps, which also includes Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and more for $52.99 / £49.94 per month. This is your best option if you use several Adobe apps.
After the free trial ends, Creative Cloud Express costs $9.99 / £10.10 per month or $99.99 / £101.15 per year if you subscribe to the single app alone. This is the most economic option for those who only plan to use this Adobe app, which may be the case for social media creators and other non-designers who want to use it as a quicker, easier way to create posts, flyers and other pieces without the cost and the learning curve involved with more comprehensive Adobe design software like Photoshop or Illustrator.
However, if you’re going to be using more than Creative Cloud Express alone, your best option is to consider a full Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription, which also includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and more.
Why use Creative Cloud Express if you have access to the full suite of apps? Well even if you have access to Photoshop and InDesign, you might still prefer the quick and easy convenience of Adobe Creative Cloud Express for smaller design jobs, especially if you’re working on your phone while you’re on the move.
If the price seems too expensive, do note that Adobe occasionally runs discounts on its subscription plans, which can be worth holding out for. Keep an eye on our regularly updated guide to Creative Cloud discounts to make sure you catch the offers.
Get an Creative Cloud Express free for education (opens in new tab)
If you’re a student or a teacher, you can get the full version of Creative Cloud Express completely free. You will have to prove that you qualify by showing you work or study with a licensed educational institution or nonprofit educational organisation.
Available in the US, UK and Australia, Adobe Creative Cloud for education is another way to get the full version of the software for free. If you qualify, you’ll have access for the length while you remain in education, making this a great option for design students and teachers. You’ll need to provide proof that you work or study with a licensed educational institution or nonprofit educational organisation.
Creative Cloud Express works as a browser-based app, but you can also download Adobe Creative Cloud Express as a mobile app for iOS or Android. Adobe Spark had three individual mobile apps: Spark Post, Spark Page and Spark Video. The latter two are still available to download, but the first has now been replaced by Adobe Creative Cloud Express: Design.
Access follows the same format as the browser-based software. You can download the free version of the app from either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and get started right away (you can log in via Google or Facebook to use it), or you can get access the premium version of the app if you sign up for a free trial or a paid subscription to an Adobe Creative Cloud Express Premium Plan or a Creative Cloud All-Apps plan.
Get Creative Cloud Express: Design for iOS (opens in new tab)
Need a handy app for making graphics, templates and logos? Creative Cloud Express: Design is free to download and allows you to quickly create everything from flyers and posters to Instagram posts and Stories and YouTube thumbnails.
Get Creative Cloud Express: Design for Android (opens in new tab)
You can also download Creative Cloud Express as a free app for Android. Sign in with your Google Account to get started right away or choose the option to sign up for a paid plan for more features.
Creative Cloud Express is Adobe’s stripped-down simplified browser- and mobile-based design programme. Aimed mainly at social media creators and non-designers that want to quickly create Instagram posts and Stories, YouTube thumbnails or flyers and posters, it offers a much easier entry point compared with more comprehensive design software like Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign.
You can design from scratch, but the software’s main selling point for non-designers is its huge range of templates and design assets ready to go for a range of formats. You can simply choose a template and modify the content for your needs, replacing images and texts and removing elements you don’t want. It comes with access to Adobe Fonts and Adobe Stock, which you can incorporate into your design, and you can change layouts and add animation.
The Free version is very good for a piece of free design software but doesn’t include access to all of the templates, assets, and some tools. The Premium version adds the ability to resize elements and to add your own branding, plus full access to all of the templates and Adobe Stock images.
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Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes, news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at a design and branding agency based in London and Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors. He enjoys photography and wellness and also dances tango.
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