7 Brands Offering Free Creative Tools During the Pandemic

Access to software, online classes and coloring books from Adobe, Apple and Slack

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With Covid-19 confining many people to their homes indefinitely, brands are trying to make it easier for creatives to keep working or take up new hobbies indoors. Brands are offering new and extended free trials of their creative software, free online classes and projects for people to express themselves creatively or simply pass the time. Here’s a rundown of how brands such as Apple, Slack, Adobe and Skillshare are offering free access to their programs during quarantine.


For college students and professors who have to rely on Adobe software for remote courses, the company is offering free temporary licenses to its Creative Cloud desktop apps such as Photoshop and InDesign. Through the end of May, students can gain access if they attend a school that’s registered as an Adobe education customer. However, the applications can only be completed by a school’s IT administrator. The software company is also offering two months of Creative Cloud for free for existing customers, as well as free access to its Connect webconferencing software for everyone through July 1.


For Mac users, Apple has temporarily extended free trials of creative apps. The tech company is offering 90-day trials of video editing software Final Cut Pro X and audio editing software Logic Pro X, normally free for 30 days.



The online learning platform has partnered with Bombay Sapphire to offer everyone a free, two-month Skillshare Premium trial for a limited time. The trial offers more access to Skillshare’s online classes on topics ranging from graphic design to creative writing to business analytics. Skillshare is also offering two months of Premium free to all high school and college students (16 and over) with a school email address, and a limited number of free two-month memberships to those in need who apply for scholarships online.


The business communication platform is offering free plans, specifically for nonprofits and businesses providing crisis relief during the pandemic. The company is offering free access to its paid plan for three months; companies can apply on the brand’s website. Approved companies already using Slack can upgrade to a standard or plus plan for free for three months. The brand is also offering free consultations on how to use the platform remotely.


The software company (developer of the Affinity Photo, Designer and Publisher apps) is offering free three-month trials of each for Mac and Windows users with no obligation to buy. For those who choose to buy and keep the apps, the company is offering a 50% discount. Additionally, Serif has pledged to spend the equivalent of its annual commissioning budget in the next three months to support more than 100 freelance creatives.



For coloring enthusiasts of all ages, Audi has released an Audi Collection coloring book. The 14-page book is available as a free PDF download on Audi’s website for people to print at home.


The imaging products company is offering 10 free online classes for amateur photographers and hobbyists through the end of April, on topics such as making music videos and photographing pets. The classes are part of Nikon’s new virtual event series #CreatorsHour, which also engages quarantined customers through live talks with brand ambassadors and social media challenges.

ian.zelaya@adweek.com Ian Zelaya is an Adweek reporter covering how brands engage with consumers in the modern world, ranging from experiential marketing and social media to email marketing and customer experience.