A smarter way to manage your creative workflow

A smarter way to manage your creative workflow

Follow our step-by-step guide to a typical creative workflow in Oppolis Cloud.

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

The creative workflow

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

Setting up a project

After signing up for an Oppolis Cloud account, your first task is to set up a space to store all your projects. A space is a 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, annual reports, websites, email campaigns, and brochures. Each of these projects may require multiple tasks to fulfill, 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 various steps in the process along the way. Oppolis Cloud is as flexible as you need it to be.

Typically, team members added to a project would be graphic designers, creative directors, content managers, clients, stakeholders, and the marketing team.

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 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, social media, 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.

A smarter way to manage your creative workflow

Requesting creative 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. The project manager creates a ‘request asset’ job 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, manage busy schedules, or if the skill level of another designer is required to complete the work.

Online proofing: The content review process

With the artwork completed by the designer, it is submitted back to the project manager to review content. 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.

Each time the project moves through the stages in the dashboard, the status updates. Keeping everyone on the same page.

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 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 for 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 to 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, 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, but that doesn’t necessarily need to be seen by the designer.

Delivery of the final creative design

We made it to the end.

The 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 upload 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, online proofing, approval, and on to completion. Not once have users needed to leave the Oppolis Cloud app or utilise third-party applications to complete the creative workflow.

It’s a seamless creative workflow solution!

Oppolis Cloud creative project management software used by creative teams.

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