After Raising $235K, Abode Remains Committed to Taking on Adobe


Abode, a satirically named but serious project that aims to take on Adobe, just concluded its crowdfunding campaign where it raised £181,709, or about $234,900. Now comes the next step: delivering the software to the more than 3,000 artists that backed it.

The promise of a software suite that can actually compete with the Silicon Valley behemoth that is Adobe was clearly tantalizing, and organizer Stuart Semple has shown there is strong interest in seeing the king dethroned.

Semple, a multi-disciplinary British artist, promised to build “a brand new suite of world-class design and photography tools, with an uncanny similarity to the tools you’ve been indoctrinated in.”

The project looked, at first, like a joke. The Abode logo and branding appeared like satire and given Semple’s history, that tracked. Semple is no stranger to the public eye and perhaps his most prominent appearance there was a spat against artist Anish Kapoor, a famous sculptor who is the creator of the well-known Cloud Gate in Chicago, also known as “The Bean.” Kapoor also was given exclusive rights to use Vantablack for the purposes of art, a substance known as the “blackest black” paint because it reflects almost no light. That exclusivity irritated fellow artists, including Semple.

So, in response, Semple created what he calls “the pinkest pink” paint, which is available for everyone to purchase, “except Anish Kapoor.”

Obviously, there is an aspect of humor in what Semple does, and that extended to Abode.

“It’s always been very serious, but my work is always satirical. I like to deal with serious topics in a lighthearted manner. I find humor is a great way to raise awareness for something,” Semple tells PetaPixel.

This time and especially now that the project has been funded, the time for laughs is over.

“The subject is very serious, we have a cost of living crisis, we have creators being replaced by AI, and times are tough out here. The idea is to try and help a little bit by liberating the tools we rely upon. I’ve done this for decades in my other work,” Semple adds.


The response to Abode’s Kickstarter was enormous, and far greater than Semple expected. With an original goal of just £50,000 (about $65,000), enough people were interested in the project to more than triple expectations.

“It went way beyond what I thought it would. I’ve been absolutely blown away by all the support from the community. I’m so grateful and happy that we get to make this dream come true,” Semple says.

He tells PetaPixel that his feelings on making this software the real thing have not changed from when the project was first introduced.

“There’s a really urgent need for a suite of creative tools for creators that they actually own rather than rent. In a way, this first started when Adobe and Pantone decided to paywall the Pantone colors and I created Freetone — which was a free color plugin so creators could continue to access their palette,” he says.


“I noticed how expensive the subscription was and so many designers wrote to me and told me they could no longer afford to use Adobe for their work. I thought I might be able to help so I launched the crowdfunder to make us all a software suite that was truly ours.”

Critics of Semple’s campaign to create Abode point to a couple of major hurdles. For one, software development is expensive and many remain unconvinced that enough capital has been raised to actually produce anything — let alone do so by November 2024 like the Kickstarter campaign promised. Semple remains convinced they have more than enough runway.

“So we always had three developers onboard to help. And the community will be playing a major role in testing and suggesting features,” he says.

For visualization purposes only. Abode says that the final software will look different.

“As we raised much more than we hoped, the idea is to make an even fuller suite than we anticipated and we have budget for more geeks to help with those features. I will be involved as much as I can.”

Speaking directly about the funding amount raised, Semple says it feels “more than adequate” to deliver on promises.

“There’s a lot of love in the team here and enough to pay them a fair wage whilst they work.”

The other, perhaps more urgent issue is the threat of Adobe’s legal department. The marketing and branding of the software looked a little too on the nose for the multi-billion dollar company to ignore. Semple says he’s ready should Adobe decide to flex its legal muscle.

“I have lawyers, and I’ve taken advice. We have solid plans in place. I would also point out that nobody has seen the final branding and no software that infringes on any of Adobe’s trademarks has been produced,” he says.

Examples of the software icons Abode displayed on its Kickstarter.

“I have successfully challenged IP owned by Tiffany and Co, Pantone, Mattel, and others over the years. I feel we have a good and thorough understanding of where the legal line is and an ability to get as close to that as possible without overstepping it.”

With the Kickstarter behind him, Semple and his team now get to work — they have just a bit more than 16 months to deliver software to backers if Abode intends to stick to the original timeline, which isn’t long in the software development world.

Adobe did not respond to a request to comment on this story.

Image credits: Abode, Stuart Semple

Update 4/26: The original story incorrectly stated Anish Kapoor created Vantablack when he only has exclusive rights to use it in art. We apologize for the error.