Adobe Mighty and Napoleon Design Tools Available in 2014

For creatives who have been keeping up with the slew of Adobe updates and new product launches, the company’s latest announcement is sure to be one of the most significant. Adobe is entering the hardware market in the first half of 2014 with its Mighty stylus and Napoleon digital ruler. These two products were initially introduced at the 2013 Adobe MAX Conference with a TBD release date, but now the cat is officially out of the bag.

Project Mighty stylus

Adobe has partnered with Adonit, a former Kickstarter company and leader in stylus development. Mighty and Napoleon have undergone a few technical innovations. For example, Mighty lost its “sausage” tip in favor of a smaller, “insanely more accurate” model, says Adobe’s vice president of experience design Michael Gough. The stylus also slides into a USB charger, and the charger is used as a base for the carrying case. Napoleon traded multiple buttons for a single one and is shorter for a more comfortable in-hand fit. Gough says that the goal was to deliver a set of tools that allow designers to draw in a traditional way that felt natural and tactile.

Napoleon digital ruler

Gough explains the reasoning behind the updates:

Our customers are changing the way they work, and it’s a pretty dramatic change. Creative professionals aren’t just using one or two tools anymore. They are using many, many more targeted applications, and Adobe is trying to address that changing marketplace. We like to say ‘tools define generations,’ and we’re not the first to say it. We are trying to put a stake in the ground of what kind of tools will define this generation.

Adobe also noted another change in the design community: the democratization of creativity. Now that the internet has allowed everyone to upload and share projects, Adobe wants to help designers get their work out to the masses: “What we want to do is potentially create an explosion of creative tools and services that are all interconnected. We are a strong part of that.” Part of this proposed platform of services in Project Contour (aka Kuler for shapes), an app that allows users to take photos of objects and use Napoleon to craft simple architectural line drawings that can be shared with the creative community.

Mighty and Napoleon with tablet

These tools seem to be a hit with those who have had the opportunity to test them (meaning they weren’t kept under lock and key in a glass case as was the case at Adobe MAX). In the eloquent words of Geoff Dowd, the design lead for Project Mighty, the testers said “Finally you are taking my feedback seriously. Take my money!”

According to Gough, the two companies are committed to improving “the relationship between hardware and software.” One of the biggest perks about this business relationship is that Adonit will be able to ensure multiple price points for every designer who craves a well-made stylus. As Gough puts it, “We realize there us a wide range of customers with a wide range of needs, and we want to help address all of those needs.”

For more news on what Adobe is doing to improve the creative process, head to the Creative Layer blog.


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