The smarter way to manage your creative project workflow

The smarter way to manage your creative project workflow

Creative projects can be a complex beast to tame when using a variety of apps across multiple teams, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Follow our step-by-step guide to setting up and managing a typical creative workflow and discover how simple things can be when you switch to Oppolis Cloud.

Before we start, we need to select a creative project that any typical design agency or creative department might be called upon to produce during any given day. So let’s look at a sales brochure.

We’ll go through the creative workflow for producing this brochure step-by-step, and explain how Oppolis Cloud manages it effortlessly at each stage of the process. Creative workflows can vary from project to project and from client to client, but for this example, we’ll break it down into the following stages: Set up, requesting assets, assigning the creative job, review, approval and sign off, and finally receiving the completed artwork.

Setting up a project

After signing up to Oppolis Cloud, your first task is to set up a space to store all your projects. A space is the top-level folder within the system; think of it as your client. You can have multiple spaces, in the same way you can have multiple clients. Within a space you store all your projects associated with that client. This can be anything from a logo design or annual report, websites, email campaigns and brochures. Each of these projects may require multiple tasks to fulfil them, so these tasks can then be stacked together in sections.

To summarise, we have spaces, projects and a variety of tasks that can be filed into sections.

All the relevant users needed for the project can be added at this stage, or they can be added at the various steps in the process along the way. Spheero is as flexible as you need it to be.

Let’s look at our sales brochure example and how it relates to Oppolis Cloud. Your client, A-Brand, requires a multi-channel campaign to launch a new product, let’s call it Product Plus, and one of the requirements is for a sales brochure.

In Oppolis Cloud, the space would be A-Brand, the project would be Product Plus Launch and the sections within that project would be something like the following: Website, logo design, email campaign, sales brochure, etc,. Any or all of these sections could then include multiple tasks needed to complete that portion of the project. To produce a sales brochure a project manager may need copywriting, photography, and even a printer, for example.

This may all sound way more complicated than it actually is. Watch the brief video above that provides a visual overview of how this all works.

The smarter way to manage your creative project workflow

Requesting assets

With the project set up within a space, the project manager can now work through the various projects for the client, in this instance, the sales brochure.

To produce this document, assets are required from the client, such as a brand pack that contains all the relevant logos, colour swatches and fonts. A ‘request asset’ job is created by the project manager to ask the client to supply this content.

You can read our post on managing project assets which provides an overview of this stage of the process, or watch the short explainer video below.

Once the assets have been received, the project manager can then move the sales brochure job onto the next stage of the workflow: creating the artwork.

Assigning the creative job

With all the required assets received from the client and stored in the assets panel of the project, for any user to access at any point, the project manager can now request a designer to create the artwork. This ‘request creative’ job can be made using just the assets supplied by the client or additional files can be added as required.

This job then sends all the assets to an internal or external designer. If they have the Adobe Creative Cloud extension installed, this request will drop straight into the software palette. If not, they will receive an email prompt with all the details and files. Users with the Adobe extension will get both prompts.

The artwork will be produced, in this instance, in Adobe InDesign, and when completed, the designer will submit the artwork back to the project manager for review. All without ever having to leave their Adobe software. 

As an added function, project managers are able to assign these creative jobs to a pool of internal or external designs, where any designer can pick up the job and take ownership of it. And, as with any pool of creatives, these jobs can be passed back and forth should the need arise to cover absences, to manage busy schedules or if the skill level of another designer is required to complete the work.

Reviewing content, approval and sign off

With the artwork completed by the designer, it is submitted back to the project manager for reviewing. At this stage the project manager can look over the design and check that the brief has been fulfilled and, if required, request changes and submit the artwork back to the designer.

All comments, markups and suggestions will be automatically fed into the designer’s Adobe CC palette, making this stage of the process super efficient.

The workflow in this stage of the creative workflow can get complicated. Each client/project manager/designer relationship is unique. And there may be times when the project manager and designer pass the work back and forth, making comments and updates, until the job is complete, without involving the client at all. Other times, the client may want to have to be kept in the loop at every stage. The work may come to the project manager, who needs to send this on to the client for feedback. When the project manager receives the feedback, they can send it on to the designer to action. 

There may also be external teams or users that need to have input on the artwork, such as legal teams, marketing or boards of directors. The review and approval process in Oppolis Cloud is robust enough to cater for any of these complex eventualities, while ensuring the project workflow remains intact and full visibility of the whole process is retained.

All proof comments, feedback and versions of the artwork are kept in the Oppolis Cloud project to ensure nothing is ever lost, regardless of the number of users and teams involved. Comment threads can be created between the project manager and the designers, or between the project manager and the client, or between everyone within the project.

Users can set up whatever channels the individual project requires.

Having independent comment threads is a great feature for when commercial discussions between the client and project manager need to be held, that don’t necessarily need to be seen by the designer.

Delivery of the final creative

We made it to the end.

Artwork has been created, the project manager has requested changes and the designer has actioned them all. Everyone is happy and the job has been signed off. The project manager now needs the packaged InDesign files so that they can be sent off for printing. And as with every other stage of the creative project workflow, this is also managed within Oppolis Cloud.

The project manager can request the approved files from the designer, who then uploads them directly into the deliverables panel of the project. These deliverable files now sit alongside all the assets and every discussion or comment thread produced for the project. Oppolis Cloud offers users a complete 360° view of their creative workflow.

Watch the brief explainer video above for an example of how easy this is.

In our example, the entire creative project has been taken from the initial stage, through asset collection, design, proofing and approval and on to completion. Not once have users needed to leave the Oppolis Cloud app or utilise a third-party applications to complete the workflow. It’s seamless!

Oppolis Cloud, the creative workflow solution used by creative teams.

Sign up at: app.spheero.com/

Tags:
Oppolis Cloud, creative workflow, digital project management, creative project management, creative project workflow

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