Behance & Adobe: Serving The Future Of The Creative World

Our mission to connect and empower the creative world is getting a big boost today. Our team is thrilled to join Adobe and take Behance to the next level. We’ve been given an opportunity to influence creative work, careers, and the creative industry on a grand scale, and we intend to do just that.

 
The Behance team will remain intact (in NYC!). We will focus on building a better Behance and helping the creative world collaborate and connect throughout the creative process, from start to finish.

Our team still feels like we’re in the early innings of our journey to empower the creative world. The platform is growing like never before, and the most exciting parts of our roadmap still await. We’re thrilled with the prospect of quickly reaching many millions of creative minds around the world – and better integrating the tools we use for creation with how we showcase and discover creative work.

As we considered the prospect of joining Adobe, a few things struck us most:

  • Connecting the creative community is the best way to empower the creative community. The creative industry has always been plagued with inefficiency and disorganization. But when we come together, we can use connectivity and transparency to our advantage. The prospect of using Adobe’s reach to connect the entire creative community is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to empower the creative world.
  • It’s about time our tools integrated with the way we discover, inspire and collaborate.  For too long, the creative world has struggled with a disconnected creative process. Creation should be inherently collaborative – and must evolve more frequently than typical software upgrade cycles. If the tools we use to create are connected with how we showcase and discover creative work, we can help usher in a new era of idea exchange and collaborative creation.
  • Online applications should foster the discovery of talent and “creative meritocracy.” Those of you who know us well know that Behance is obsessed with fostering proper attribution in creative work. With more transparency around who created what – and with whom – your work will increasingly become a source of new opportunity. We call it “creative meritocracy,” and it happens when the creative world’s work is organized, properly credited, and more easily discovered. As you put your work into the world, we want to make sure you get the credit (and opportunity) you deserve.

We’re joining forces with Adobe because the above points resonate with them just as much as they do with us.

The past six years at Behance have been dedicated to building a remarkable team to build a remarkable product that serves the creative community. We’re also excited about the prospects of influencing a set of tools and services that are core to the creative world on a daily basis.
 
 
The Road Ahead

Our mission continues: we want to empower creative people and teams to make ideas happen. We believe that a free and open platform to showcase work – and get discovered – will serve creative careers in extraordinary ways. Not only will we leverage Adobe’s resources to further build Behance, but we have been tasked with the responsibility to influence and improve Adobe’s services for the creative community – making them more collaborative and in sync with the future of creative workflow.

In practical terms, our team will continue to implement our (very ambitious) roadmap for Behance and integrate Behance features into Adobe’s services. We are eager to translate the site into multiple languages and leverage the latest technology to display creative work. 99U, our annual conference, and all of our efforts to educate and organize the creative community will continue to grow. And finally, we will explore new opportunities to move the creative industry forward, through better discovery applications, more transparency in the creative process, and providing access to the data behind the creative world at work.

Adobe has made some bold changes lately, including (1) breaking the traditional software package model with Creative Cloud, an affordable subscription for Adobe’s creative tools and services, (2) the acquisition of Typekit as a big step forward in offering services that make the web better, (3) doubling down on HTML5, and (4) becoming a more active contributor to open source essentials like jQuery, PhoneGap and WebKit and developing new open source-based web tools and services that will evolve the web as we know it (http://html.adobe.com/).   We’re thrilled to lead the next bold move: making community a central part of Adobe’s future. No doubt, the future of creative careers will depend on attribution and exposure for creative work, as well as tools to connect, learn, and get opportunity.

We couldn’t be more excited for the road ahead.
 
 
Reflection On The Road Behind

This occasion also prompts reflection on the path we’ve taken as a team. We bootstrapped for five years, made plenty of mistakes and discoveries, and constantly reworked our products, business, and process. Over the years, we’ve become both a team and a family. In good times and challenging times, our mission kept us together and moving forward. Most of all, your stories – and your work – kept us inspired and humble. We are deeply grateful to the Behance community, and we aspire to build a better Behance that enhances your creations and career in the years to come.

We’ll do our very best to exceed your expectations.

Behance Team

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Q&A With Behance
Send your questions to energy@behance.com, and we’ll do our best to update this Q&A with an answer.

Is Behance still going to be free?
Yes, users can and will continue to join Behance for free and showcase their creative work. And we will continue to provide additional premium services such as personal websites (ProSite) that Behance members are welcome to use.

Yikes, I don’t like change. Is this the end of an era!?
With every change there are naysayers. And with acquisitions, often for good reason. All too often, a company is purchased for its technology and is subsumed into a corporate headquarters, losing its identity and autonomy – and exchanging its mission for some new business objective. On the contrary, Behance is joining Adobe to advance our mission and shared vision with Adobe. Our place within Adobe ensures that Behance will remain in NYC, focus on our community, and continue building out the platform – open to all – with a certain set of tenets that we’ve held since day one. We’ve got a long-term vision for serving the creative community that is greatly advanced by Adobe’s reach, and what we have planned will also improve Adobe’s services in the process.

Fine, but what will change?
In addition to continuing with our roadmap and refining Behance, our team has been given a new and substantial opportunity to integrate Behance-powered community and collaboration features across Adobe’s services (and other tools too!). We think this is awesome. It will grow the Behance community and provide unparalleled transparency and insight into the creative world at work. We want to play an active (historic!?) role in the next century of creative process and leading a creative career.

Of course, we’re also excited to tap some of the brilliant minds at Adobe to improve our technology. There are so many things we’ve always dreamed of doing but lacked the resources, data scientists, and PhD’s to figure it out. We still have much to learn.

Can Behance really retain its identity and independent thinking working in Adobe?
Communities thrive when they allow anyone to join, despite what tools they use or the stage of their career. As such, Adobe deeply respects the sanctity of the Behance community, and will preserve the philosophy and values that drive it. Adobe’s acquisition of Typekit is a recent example; the service has remained intact while also being incorporated into Adobe’s Creative Cloud offering for better accessibility and value for users.

Bigger picture: For a community to grow and sustain online, it must be grounded in certain values that never change. Behance has thrived as a result of our commitment to openness, proper attribution, meritocracy, and supporting creative careers (focusing on education via 99U, fighting spec work and negative crowdsourcing efforts). Not only will these values remain intact, but Adobe shares our belief that they are central to the future of creative careers. Our job is to uphold these values and push them further.

Ok, but it all comes down to leadership. Will Behance’s team remain intact?
Yes. We’re pretty psyched about the new growth prospects of Behance, our ideas for Adobe integrations, and what we have planned for the future. We will maintain Behance’s startup spirit, remaining agile and deeply incentivizing the team to think long-term. All of our leaders across design, product, development, and community management will build out their teams as a result of this step. Suffice to say, we’re just getting started. Want to join us?

Will this affect my ownership/copyright of work displayed on Behance?
No; all work posted on Behance belongs to the individuals who posted it, per our Terms of Services that was developed to protect the rights of Creatives that use Behance’s service. And, of course, your selected copyright settings will continue to be as you selected.

Must have been a tough decision. How did you make it?
Well, our litmus tests for pretty much every decision in Behance’s history have been:

  • Will this help the creative world connect and showcase their work on a central platform?
  • Will this provide better attribution for who created what – and more transparency that will help creative careers?
  • Will this help creatives get more exposure for their work – and thus more access to opportunity that will help their careers?
  • Will this foster creative meritocracy and limit the forces of commoditization and spec crowdsourcing that threaten creative careers online?
  • Will this keep our team engaged and enable us to do the greatest work of our lives.

When the answers to these five questions are yes, then we know we’ve made a good decision for the community, and for our team.  Adobe is going to be a great advocate for the vision and we can’t wait to show you what we have in store for you…  Stay tuned.