Streamline Artwork Management with a Digital Asset Library
by Justin Ward, on December 23, 2019
One of the most worrisome phrases in packaging artwork management is "Where is that?"
When designers, compliance teams and other stakeholders struggle to find important files, something has gone wrong in the workflow. The slowdowns that come from misplaced files or periods of confusion can slow the new product development process to a crawl and negatively impact time to market, so the financial stakes are high when it comes to improving processes.
Despite the clear consequences of suffering asset issues, traditional Artwork Management and related practices create a great risk of this type of breakdown occurring. Employees have relied on email to send information back and forth and used offline spreadsheets to mark task completion. These outdated and heavily manual undertakings make it more likely that human error will enter the equation.
"The era of individual files moving between stakeholders needs to end."
Companies need to make some tactical upgrades to their backend systems to avoid Artwork Management problems becoming recurring and damaging. Today, this often means working with centralized, cloud-based technologies. The era of individual files moving between stakeholders needs to end, with more streamlined workflows taking its place, for organizations to realize the potential value of modernized Artwork Management. Combining digital asset libraries and advanced Artwork Management software is an approach that can deliver this new process.
Digital Asset Libraries: What They Do for Companies
Having centralized access to artwork is an important part of implementing effective workflows - and that comes from digital asset libraries. TechTarget gave a definition of these solutions: They hold content for companies, whether that information is mostly archival or frequently accessed. Furthermore, modern, cloud-based models may be accessible from any computer - or even mobile devices. A good digital asset library will take away the time and effort thrown away on searching for or requesting images and related files and will prevent this content from being duplicated when employees send copies to one another.
One of the reasons digital asset libraries are so valuable for companies is that they go beyond packaging Artwork Management to encompass brand assets for all uses, including marketing. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute noted there is a need for carefully organized and curated libraries of images for content creation teams. Some of the same information these employees use - such as logos - could have value in packaging, while each department will also have its own store of finished assets, with digital marketers favoring ebooks and infographics over package proofs.
The fact that all departments can work together in a digital asset library may in fact be one of the major defining features of such a deployment. Writing for Digital Asset Management News, MediaValet's Denzel Ford suggested that the positive collaborative potential of digital asset libraries is a major source of internal connection for companies. Furthermore, with the metadata and tags attached to digital content helping individuals find what they're looking for, the library becomes a more elegant way for the whole organization to deal with its files. These value cases can only come to pass, it should be noted, if the digital asset library has buy-in from throughout the enterprise.
The Value of Modernized Artwork Management
An Artwork Management Solution that offers a digital asset library is another piece of the puzzle when companies are interested in refreshing their design and approval workflows. These tools give involved stakeholders the visibility they need, pointing them toward the relevant visual files and noting changes that have already occurred. Running this collaborative process through the Artwork Management tool instead of resorting to emails and spreadsheet updates is a promising development for companies seeking more automation and less uncertainty, taking away points of ambiguity and potential sources of failure.
Delivering these packaging artwork solutions in the cloud enables every employee to have a view of the project in progress, wherever that worker is logging on. In organizations that have distributed their graphic design and compliance teams to different locations around the world, this new level of seamless access can represent a huge boost to productivity. With the artwork development software providing easy access to the files within the cloud-based digital asset library, along with a version history of each piece of content, the ambiguity and delays that come naturally with legacy workflows can recede.
"Specialized tools allow users to quickly and efficiently swap out information."
Modernized Artwork Management options become even more useful when companies have to create variations of their packaging, whether that means translating copy for global markets or changing regulatory elements to comply with laws around the world. Specialized tools within the Artwork Management system allow users to quickly and efficiently swap out information while still keeping the basic elements of the package - the branded imagery, for instance - consistent in each version. No matter how many parties have to sign off on the new designs and where these personnel are based, the whole process can take place within the packaging artwork system.
Advantages of Embracing New Artwork Management Workflows
Organizations that update their approach to packaging development process and move into the cloud may find the value of the new solutions comes in many forms. In addition to the improved efficiency of working with digital asset libraries and the reduced opportunity for human error, there is also a greater ability to quantify department operations and use dashboards to monitor the data flowing in. Leaders can track key performance indicators as their departments work on new projects, all without having to resort to offline spreadsheets or other legacy forms of data tracking that lack the same real-time capabilities.
The role of packaging Artwork Management as a potential choke point or bottleneck in new product development means organizations have to take this process seriously. Streamlining packaging artwork development by taking away old-fashioned email and spreadsheet processes is a way to deliver multiple forms of value. Some of the advantages come from things that won't happen anymore - data duplication, communication breakdowns, ambiguity - and others stem from new capabilities - easy global collaboration, simplified localization, access to analytics. Combine these many qualities and it's clear that companies should not let inertia and ingrained processes stop them from making key upgrades to their packaging Artwork Management infrastructure.