Creative Market Previews Its API For A Digital Asset Marketplace With Photoshop Extension

Creative Market, the online store for creative digital assets, including graphics, themes, templates and fonts, this week introduced a new Photoshop extension that’s designed to preview the power of its upcoming API. Creative Market already offers a central web-based store that acts almost like an Amazon for digital creative professionals, but its ultimate vision is much broader – it hopes to give pros the opportunity to buy and sell their wares right where they’re already doing their work, which is what the API is all about.

With the Photoshop extension, people can browse and buy assets within the application itself, making them available instantly for use in their creative work. Installation takes only a single click, and regardless of whether users buy the assets within Photoshop or from the web-based marketplace, they’re instantly available to users within the extension itself once they’re logged in. It dramatically simplifies the process of starting on a new machine, or of wiping your hard drive for a fresh install, by making sure that your fonts, graphics and more are easily available on your fresh install without having to physically copy files over.

“The Photoshop extension was kind of the easiest way for us to paint the picture of how obvious this problem is, and yet it’s overlooked a lot,” Creative Market co-founder and CEO Darius “Bubs” Monsef explained in an interview. “Software that we use doesn’t actually have the assets that we use in the software, in the software. That’s something that we’ve wanted to do ever since we pivoted COLOURlovers to become Creative Market.”

Photoshop was a logical place to start, Monsef says, because Creative Suite alone represents a massive potential market. Creative Market recently conducted a survey of over 1,000 creative pros, and found that on average they spend around $150 a year, which, multiplied by Adobe’s reported paying user base of 40 million customers, adds up to a potential $6 billion in annual sales.

Of course, Creative Market isn’t without competition in its efforts to bring asset management and marketplaces direct to creative products. Adobe recently said that it will formally introduce and explain its own asset marketplace, Adobe Exchange, at its upcoming Adobe MAX conference. The timing isn’t ideal for Creative Market, but Monsef still thinks the approach his company is taking it better for both sellers and buyers.

“Adobe has released their Adobe Exchange in-app as an extension, too, finally allowing people to buy assets inside of Photoshop,” he said. “Unfortunately, like products built by large teams focused on other problems, it doesn’t work as well as I think it could. I’ve tried using it and it’s very confusing and I think not nearly as elegant as what we’ve built.”

The other big advantage for Creative Market is that once it starts working with the makers of other creative software products, assets purchased through its API and its web-based store will be instantly available within a wide range of apps, not just those from Adobe. Not being locked to a vendor in terms of where your assets are kept is a considerable competitive advantage. Plus, Creative Market plans to share its take of royalties with API partners, the first batch of which it’s in the process of selecting now.

Managing creative assets is not something everyone things about all the time, but it’s a necessary element of any creative professional’s job, and the way it’s handled online is largely unchanged in recent years. Creative Market offers creators a bigger percentage of the cut than they get elsewhere, and presents media and usage rights in a simpler way that’s easier to both use and understand. If it can pull of the feat of becoming the integrated creative media library where most professionals do most of their work, it’ll make a big dent in a strong and growing market.