Case Study by Wendy Millard RGD, Design Manager at Empire Life
As an In-house Design Manager, you need to find ways to maximize time for creative thinking and minimize time working on text edits. But how?
Our job involves maintaining and updating all existing print collateral, but the amount of effort it takes to make updates to this material can really burn up a lot of the team’s time. Add another language into the production and that’s considerable time that could be spent on new creative projects.
Designers thrive on creative challenges: doing the research; generating ideas; coming up with concepts and solutions for clients and executing the chosen design. That’s what we went to design school for, right? In reality, we're looking at round five of copy edits or making decisions on whether text will be bold or capped or not bold. These minor revisions can become a runaway train if you do not have enough process in place to minimize the back and forth of copy edits.
Beyond defining a clear process for managing workflow, it is important to have the right tools for your team to keep things running as smoothly as possible. Adopting Adobe InCopy is a key part of our solution that has allowed for greater collaboration among the marketing, design and translation teams. It empowers the copywriter, editor and translator to make their own changes directly in InDesign files with minimal involvement from the designer and no chance of their changes affecting the design layout. In fact, when you have the network bandwidth of a larger corporation both the content author and the designer can be in the same file at the same time, making changes without overwriting each other's work. It’s an easy check in/check out process to update the files.
Buy in and trust are both important in making changes to any process, so we started small with a key business partner who often submitted changes to existing materials and was adaptable and open to trying new technology. We used Lynda.com to first get the training needed to use InCopy and then tried it out on several design requests that came through from this business partner. We defined the process and steps and created a Design SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for the team to use. Once we felt comfortable with the solution, we took it to other teams to promote and demonstrate how it improved our process and turnaround time on
What had previously been a back and forth workflow with multiple proofs and annotated pdfs became a much more efficient process. Once we had our translation team actively using the tool, we saw a decrease in revisions and proofs from an average of five down to one or two proofs to final approval. We further rolled out the tool to all Marketing and Communication specialists.
Today, the InDesign/InCopy workflow is a main part of our process for most existing and even new creative development where the business partner is able to try different tag lines and content for review and approval.
Most times the process works without a snag, but we have come across some issues to be aware of:
- The InCopy user needs to be comfortable with technology and take the time to get the training which can be accomplished through online sources such as Lynda.com
- The InCopy user should not be working off of lower-bandwidth or VPN access. This will corrupt your file and cause frustration on all fronts.
- Fonts can be an issue and can also cause corruption. Be sure to set paragraph styles and have the business partner use them.
- It is a best practice to establish clear guidelines/Design SOPs for both the business partner and the designer regarding the process and responsibilities of using the tool.
Overall, our designers love the fact that InCopy can free them of the multiple revision cycle. Business partners enjoy the streamlined process and the ability to make changes themselves. This tool is definitely worth a look if you are trying to find ways to improve efficiency in the use of your creative team’s time and energy.
For more information on Adobe InCopy, visit http://www.adobe.com/products/incopy.html