Brooklyn Public Library

"What Would You Call it if the Adobe Suite Was Suddenly Free? alternative universe?" (shout-out to the Brooklyn public library)

Upon finally receiving my Brooklyn public library card, I ventured over to the Central location–what would become my new home in the job search process. I don't know what kind of working environment I was expecting, but nothing (and I mean nothing) would have prepared me for what I would soon discover: this library has designated Mac computers fully equipped with the Adobe Suite.

When the librarian told me this, my jaw dropped. Game-changer.

Even days, weeks later I am obsessing over this idea. This software is averaging some $960/yr or if a person has a 30 year career, that is $28,800 spent on a tool that is practically mandatory in the industry. That leads me to the question of: Who do we leave behind when have these kinds of limitations? Essentially, we are saying that in the graphic design field, we are only willing to educate those of us who can afford "tools" of the trade. I say "tools" in this way because as much as we are taught that the computer is just a tool, the industry has shifted so dramatically that most current/modern graphic design studios won't look twice at you if you don't have a computer background.

So what is someone who is passionate about graphic design supposed to do if he/she isn't financially stable enough to purchase the Adobe Suite (let alone the notion of affording a college education)? This bothers me so much because our industry doesn't feel much like art to me anymore. The beauty about being an artist is the flexibility, resourcefulness, and freedom in the craft. You hear these romantic stories how a painter can't afford to buy canvas so he/she works on cardboard. An illustrator didn't have a college education, but self-taught himself/herself because he/she picked up some used books on figure drawing. These examples demonstrate the liberty of option. But in graphic design, we have decided that options do not exist. You must buy the Adobe Suite in order to be taken seriously in a modern design studio. Art should be about accessibility, not consumerism. Just because a corporate giant has a monopoly on software doesn't mean it should be the only choice.

This is exactly why the Brooklyn public library's free access to the Adobe Suite is so valuable. Regardless of financial background, if you want to learn graphic design, to play around with Photoshop, you can. Not only that, but if you can't afford a college education or just want to brush up on your skills, the library also provides free access to (video tutorials on all things computer-design related). What the library is doing is giving options in allowing public access to graphic design. That is huge.