Over the past year, we’ve seen a swift shift to the cloud.  Probably one of the most significant shifts involves Adobe.  When Adobe introduced their Creative Suite (CS) in 2003, it took the world by storm, soon becoming the “standard” for graphic design, website development and video editing.  In May 2013, Adobe announced that CS6 would be the final installment of the series and all future versions of the software would be available through their new, subscription based, Adobe Creative Cloud.  The shift of offering such a massive and prolific platform in a cloud environment was a landmark.  Disk drives will become a distant memory, while mobile devices are becoming more powerful.  The way we “compute” today is completely different than five years ago, as apps and tools are now becoming more and more popular.  Creative professionals in particular have embraced this technology which opens doors for new ways to express their craft. Let’s examine some useful cloud-based tools for creative professionals:

Gliffy

If you create floor plans, flow charts, diagrams, technical drawings, organizational charts or Venn diagrams, then Gliffy might be an option to consider.  The versatile, online diagram-making tool is easy to use, allows for native collaboration and is quite affordable, starting at just $4.95 per month per user.  There is a “free” version, however, your projects are made public.  It also integrates with Google Apps, which we will talk about next.

Google Drive

If you haven’t tied Google Drive, I recommend you give it a try.  Google allows you to store your documents, photos, spreadsheets, presentations – anything you create – in their secure cloud environment. It is convenient because you can access your files from any device with an Internet connection. There are also convenient sharing and collaboration features. Google Drive is especially beneficial for graphic designers, photographers and writers who may desire to back up and/or store their creative work somewhere other than their hard drive for safekeeping. For added protection, a company called Spanning offers back up for your Google Apps as well as other free and useful tools.

Yarny

This online writing environment allows you to compose articles, books, screenplays – anything you want to write – and save it to the cloud.  The AutoSaving feature eliminates the distraction of having to manually save, while adding peace of mind that your work is safe and secure and won’t get “lost” if your hard drive crashes. Yarny allows you to keep your writing private, or share it with others.  The basic version is free.  A premium version is available for $4.00/month and allows for mobile access (via their iPhone app), premium theme options, e-mail forwarding, typewriter sound effects and more.

Studio Webware

One of the biggest complaints among creative professionals is the distraction of the “business” side of their business. Studio Webware provides cloud-based accounting and project management applications designed specifically for interior design professionals.  Using a streamlined approach, design professionals can now manage every aspect of their client projects in one integrated platform, which can also be accessed from any mobile device.

Creative professionals are exploring the benefits of cloud-based tools and applications and utilizing them to help maximize their creativity. And, since most are either free or inexpensive, giving them a try won’t cost you an arm and a leg.  As users become more open to the cloud, look for online applications to soon become the standard.