Why I shut down the FireworksLab

Adobe isn't worth the effort.

On the 7th November 2012 I shut down my side project called "FireworksLab" which was a classical free design resources site for Adobe Fireworks files. It’s been a while but I finally got some free time to explain why I shut it down last year.

The purpose of the site

I started FireworksLab because at the time there were no resource sites for Adobe Fireworks files that matched my expectations in quality. All the free resources available on other sites looked like designs from 2006 (and the majority of them where really created at that time). You know what I’m talking about - Web 2.0 glossy buttons and very basic stuff that nobody could learn from. This is why the slogan of FireworksLab was "the Fireworks resource site that does not suck" - I wanted to create freebies that I would use on my own if I were to find them on the site.

In addition I wanted to support Adobe Fireworks since I thought the community couldn’t be that small at all. I was also thinking Adobe would continue to improve their product. I was horribly wrong.

Some statistics

I was running the site for exactly 18 months. In this time me and a few contributors (thanks to you guys!) have designed 47 freebies which have been downloaded around 300,000 times. Compared to the total amount of page impressions in this timeframe, the download rate was immense (the site had 380,000 page impressions) which clearly showed that there was some serious interest in high quality resources for Adobe Fireworks.

The reason why I shut it down

While I was really satisfied with the statistics overall, I wasn’t satisfied with the product (Fireworks) itself over the time. After the release of CS6 it was clear that Adobe doesn’t have any interest in improving their best product for user interface design but is bringing Fireworks features to Photoshop instead. I wasn’t expecting a lot, but seriously, Fireworks is still an extremely buggy 32bit application which crashes 10 times a day and didn’t get a notable new feature within the last 3 years.

Then, around one year ago, Sketch 2.0 was released. An OSX exclusive app with one purpose: making user interface design fun again. The developers (a two man team) of Sketch are machines - since the launch of Sketch, they have achieved more than the whole Adobe Fireworks developer team have ever done. They release an update with tons of bug fixes and new features almost every week. It still doesn’t have such huge capabilities as Fireworks but they are getting closer with each update – I’m pretty sure if they continue working that hard on Sketch, it will become the major UI design application in less than 2 years.

– screenshot of Sketch 2.0

It was pretty clear that I didn’t wanted to support Fireworks anymore. Adobe is a huge faceless company which doesn’t care about their users and charges way too much for their products, while Bohemian Coding (the guys who are building Sketch) is an indy software development company with super small release cycles.

I’m still using Fireworks for user interface design on a daily basis but I’m frustrated whenever I do.

What‘s next?

Currently, I don’t have too much interest in creating a free design resource site again. It’s a ton of work to produce great and unique freebies and the market is pretty crowded now (even if the majority of sites are targeting Photoshop).

However, if more and more designers will switch to Sketch I might give it a try again - and build a community driven site for Sketch resources.

Can I still download the old FireworksLab resources?

Sure thing - but not on a nice site but just as a big archive which contains all of the files.


Thanks to everyone who contributed to the FireworksLab.

I’m talking about these awesome guys: Galen Gidman, Gaddafi Rusli, Martin Bommeli, Michal Brtníček, Joe Meenen, Gianluca Divisi, Art Blackey, Ondřej Valuštík, 徐 楽楽, Petr Ondrusz and Mikko Vartio.

I also want to thank all the amazing people and media that tweeted about the site or promoted it on their own blog (probably you, SmashingMagazine, Speckyboy, FireworksZone and some more…).

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