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DAM for Graphic Designers: Getting Your Creatives On-Board

Jeffrey Bates avatar

Jeffrey Bates

Creative Director

4 min read

DAM for Graphic Designers: Getting Your Creatives On-Board

One of the most prevalent problems with a DAM initiative is adoption by creative teams.

Despite the number of problems that a DAM solves for an organization, it introduces new processes that creatives have to get used to. As a result, many creatives choose to host their assets on their desktops, laptops, and drives, which introduces risks to projects.

It’s a conundrum that many business leaders have to deal with: How do you keep creatives happy while investing in the necessary technical infrastructure for the company?

Creative departments, whether they’re in-house or external agencies, first and foremost focus on efficiency. Understanding how they work, individually and as a team, is detrimental to finding a DAM that will be accepted and adopted by the team.

While every team has different expectations from the eventual end product, every successful creative implementation subscribes to these core fundamentals:

Minimize perceived change

Change can be disruptive to any team, but especially for those that already perform under tight timelines and volume pressure. The goal is to deliver a solution that provides benefits but still follows existing workflows as closely as possible. Work with someone on the creative team to outline the daily tasks and the processes involved, then build use cases and trial examples to be used as the basis for vendor and solution evaluations.

Understand possible bottlenecks

One of the benefits of documenting a creative’s use cases is understanding the entire asset lifecycle and potential bottlenecks. For a high-volume production process, a small delay in completing a task can get multiplied and push deadlines by hours, or even days. Some of the most common areas affected by technology for high-volume creative teams are:

  • Delays in receiving working files – gaining access to raw footage from photo and video shoots can be a challenge and, if overlooked, can cause multi-day delays.
  • Bottlenecks in collaboration – when creative teams are interdependent on each other, small delays, like approvals or sending an asset, can easily add up and extend timelines.
  • Disruption of SLAs – when the support team can’t be accessed around the clock to resolve issues affecting required levels of production, projects can come to a halt.

Find a champion

Finding the right champion can make or break a project.

Indesign editor and creative spaces portal show images in a gallery of various international landscapes and how to browse assets

A great champion is someone who’s experienced the pain that can be resolved by the solution: their files were lost, their deadlines weren’t met due to collaboration issues, they waste hours searching for images, and so on. If your solution can resolve that challenge, they’ll be more likely to support it, because they’ve felt the pain firsthand.

On another hand, a champion can also be found in a team member that often volunteers ideas on process improvement, shows greater technological aptitude, and uses apps to improve their work and day-to-day life. They will typically be early adopters of new solutions and once they start seeing benefits, can share with the team and help the others along to adopt the new process.

Get the team on board

Evaluate new systems with the goal of finding ones that will have minimal disruption to the current creative workflow. Demonstrate to your creative team why the change is necessary and explain the extent of the changes or disruptions to their processes. Keep an open mind and be patient. You won’t convince everyone overnight, but persistence pays off. Have a handful of supporters that you train beforehand to lead the transition, and once you’ve proven that the technology is valid, start with a small-scale deployment within a core team and then expand to other teams and regions.

Set a schedule

Transitioning an entire team to new software all at once can run the risk of putting production way behind. Set a schedule to train teams in stages, and make sure people know when their training will begin. By doing this, you’ll learn what works, keep your implementation agile and allow the people who are trained first to hype the system. Set a deadline for the transition, but be flexible. Even the most realistic rollouts can be pushed back by unexpected roadblocks.

Thriving in Creative Chaos

While this post gives you a sneak peek into the world of your creatives, it just scratches the surface. To do a deep dive into the minds of your creative team and what they look for in their business technology, download our latest eBook “Thriving in Creative Chaos".

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