Alex Sailer

Collaborating with Creative Cloud Libraries

Let’s say you’re a UI designer. You’re finishing up an icon set for a new site your team is working on. You save it out, upload it to a file server, and instant message your teammates about where it’s located. They then have to find it, pull it down to their machines, open it in Illustrator and start pasting the icons from Illustrator into Photoshop to add them to the UI they’ve created. Sound familiar? Well, wouldn’t it be nice if instead you could save them to a shared repository that anyone on your team could access in Photoshop whenever they wanted? Luckily, Adobe has heard our cries and released a feature called Libraries for their Creative Cloud subscription service. With Libraries, you can create, share, and sync design assets across your entire team.

​First of all, Libraries is easy to use. It’s as simple as drag-and-drop or clicking a few buttons. For example, you can add type styles for all your headings just by selecting a layer and clicking the type icon. You can add colors, layer styles, and graphics as well. It’s just as easy to use elements from a library. If it’s a graphic, you can just drag the element on to the canvas. If it’s a type style, you can select the type layer you want to change and just click the type style in the library panel. Changing color works the same way as changing typography.

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Adding base typography styles, color palette, UI elements, and modules to a library is useful for personal organization, but the real value here is being able to share these libraries with your teammates. You could share a library with another designer working on the same project or even a developer who’s working on the front-end styles. Not only is the library viewable and usable but it’s also editable. Everyone who has access to the shared library can contribute to it. It’s a living, breathing, style guide that syncs to the cloud and lives within Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

Here’s a quick list of a few example use cases:

  • Wireframing in Illustrator: Being able to add graphics is huge. A graphic can be pretty much anything. It could be a site header, buttons, icons, or entire UI modules. If you’ve ever heard the saying “Design systems, not pages.”, then you’ll know that being able to add and reuse UI modules is crucial.
  • Organizing icon sets in a library: Libraries aren’t limited to being project-specific. Think about having every single icon set accessible through a library in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
  • Global Elements: Create a library to house universal elements like social icons, mouse pointers, and spinners. Never go digging through Dropbox again.
  • Font Pairing: Create libraries for nice font pairs.

We think Libraries is awesome. It can be what you want it to be but, at the end of the day, it is just plain useful. We’ve told you a little bit about how/why we use them and now we want to hear from you. So, how do you use Libraries?

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