Ryan Hadley – with a little help from colleague Chris Lovell - of adsynergy, a Leamington Spa UK based advertising agency, talks about how the GoProof add-on for Adobe Creative Cloud was ‘a revelation’ in creating a safe and simple proofing system to approve design creative with clients.
We’re adsynergy, we’re a full service advertising agency, so we take on a range of clients and we’ll service anything that need to market and further promote their company.Whether that be small flyers or additional things like adverts on that internet – web advertising – right up to full printed brochures, very large mailing / door drop campaigns. We’re currently working on a TV campaign! So yeah, whatever the client wants really we can put resources towards it.There are four of us permanently, we occasionally draft in freelancers. We started I believe 12 or so years ago but I’ve been with the company for 4-5 years now… about 4 and a half years, I’d say.
Our largest client over the last few years has been Hammonds Furniture. They’re a UK-based furniture company, they started back in a sawdusty workshop building cabinets. The credit themselves with having been the first ever company to fit wardrobes as opposed to freestanding wardrobes and they’ve spent a long time developing that product and we’ve been doing marketing on and off for them for… a long time before I was with the company. We’ve done many, many brochures, door drops and other advertising all using Creative Suite, so yeah it’s been invaluable for us to have that resource.
All of our clients… I mean there are very few of our clients that we do one specific thing. For example, a company who’ve now been taken over Banner Homes – they’ve now been taken over by CALA Homes we were doing brochures for them; well we did a brand for them and then in time did a brochure for them and then that progressed into using Digital Publishing Suite for creating digital versions of that for use on iPad, which was something we were using a little while ago. But then some things have changed with the Publishing Suite so we haven’t – well not because of that; that project finished for them and I haven’t actually used Digital Publishing Suite since but I’m ever looking forward to having another project as that was a lot of fun too.
[So there is a lot of diversity in your work] absolutely yeah, people don’t come asking for a leaflet anymore, they come asking for advertising, which is everything!
We were using Creative Suite for individual products. First off, we were using predominantly InDesign and Photoshop - well InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator I’d say since pretty much day one that I’ve been here. This company split into two once upon a time and this side of the company didn’t have an in-house graphic design resource, which started when I came on board. So, when I started here I was using Creative Suite for InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. And then from there I’ve used other tools such as Adobe Edge and various other applications.
That ability was enhanced when the Creative Cloud came in because suddenly I had all these tools and I didn’t have to buy one expensive package for, I could use the whole of Adobe all ready to go. I just had to wait for it to download! So that was brilliant when that transition came about.
I’m an artist outside of my designing work for adsynergy, so yeah I can see me drafting up ideas using an iPad Pro and certainly the pencil, alongside the Adobe tools on an iPad. That would be very useful.
GoProof is certainly the only product we’re using alongside the Adobe products. For web design we use WordPress but other than that the tools we use our generally Adobe products.
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT GOPROOF?
We got an email, had a look at it, requested the demo and thought this is going to work. Consulted with Ryan who obviously was going to make the decision on it and we trialled it.
It was a bit of a revelation if I’m honest! The biggest thing that GoProof sells it on is you won’t have to save hundreds of PDFs anymore. And all of a sudden the weight of my files on my machine has gone down as I can proof straight from whichever product I’m using, like InDesign, which I find, as a designer it feels a lot safer. Somehow when I save out a PDF I’m turning it into something else – there is risk of the client seeing something slightly different because it can be viewed slightly different on different screens. But I know for a fact that that PNG that GoProof is going to save will resemble exactly what I’m trying to show the client, which is brilliant.
Ok yeah, so as I say there are only four of us here permanently, so two of us are designers. John and I will create artwork on our machines independently and we do share sometimes internally but only being in a small office we can just wander around to each other’s screens. So I can see how GoProof can be very useful for a larger team but mostly at the moment we just use it for proofing to clients and proofing amongst their teams.
A lot of our clients have big teams, so if I proof it into some in a Gatekeeper role, I can copy in lots of other Reviewers and I can watch this larger conversation go on about the project and get some really solid feedback.
[GoProof] It’s been picked up well – we’re all busy, so showing them something new can be met with a bit of ‘Oh, no, I just want to do it by email’ but other processes we’ve looked at before... project managing systems and things like that have muddled clients, where GoProof they have picked it up within a day. There’s been the odd bit at the start where I have sent a project and they’ve signed it off but they meant to send it back with reviews, so I’ve had to remake the file and send it again for them.
But there are only teething issues which are just solved with a telephone conversation straight away. They pick things up very quickly and they find it very useful as they can see a record of their amends and they can also really interact with the file and send things back in a more illustrative way than PDF stickies and that sort of thing.
Being able to send it to their larger team and being able to look at their conversation and see their feedback played out in front of me in reviews is very useful, as I can see their conversations and get a better understanding of where their coming from with feedback. And then I find there is less to-ing and fro-ing with files – people are looking at PDFs independently they are not discussing it, they are having their own opinion on it. That can create conflict, I’ve found before. Whereas this is more of a conversation.
HOW GOPROOF ENHANCES THE APPROVAL PROCESS
Yes certainly. There are teams that I send to that have got 5 or 6 members in for a few clients. If I send an email with 5 or 6 people copied in that has got a PDF on it, they can all independently download that PDF and add their own comments to it. Some will contradict; I’ll have to have four PDFs open on screen with lots of different sticky notes.Whereas recently, using GoProof, I can send it to a team of people and I can just see a list of all their comments. And if anyone contradicts each other they can have their own conversation to remedy that problem, so yeah, it’s far better.
Occasionally people want to step out and have a bit of a conversation on the telephone but that generally gets put back into the review. Say they come back to me with a phone call, we’ll discuss the project and then they’ll wrap up what they’ve spoken to me on the phone about in a review and then send it back, so that means I’ve got it down in writing and we’ve had that discussion too.
People wanting the traditional silent ‘just send me an email’, that sort of attitude, are people who’ve picked up GoProof, so even those who would prefer to just have an email, I’ve found.
Say I’ve updated something and they’ve maybe not understood why – a creative choice or something like that, that’s a longer conversation than leaving a review in the Comments box but that can then be summarised or approved very quickly straight back through GoProof.
FAVOURITE GOPROOF ASPECTS
The panel, the fact that it is part of InDesign, I just feel like it’s another tool. I don’t have to load another program or have another window open. I can do the whole thing through InDesign, which is great.Just the process is a very simple one. The simplicity of it, you don’t need to go into it too much. It’s just proofing a file to someone, them receiving it [a notification and link] on their email, loading it up, seeing it, thinking it’s OK and signing it off. That simplicity is brilliant. And I’ve got a record of that, I can see when it was done, how it was done, if there was a comment. Yeah, I just think the simplicity is good.
ANY IDEAS FOR FUTURE RELEASES?
When I’m setting up a new project or a new client, I do need to go back to my browser to the GoProof website. Well it’s my understanding I do! I can’t do that from the panel. But that’s not too much of a problem, just referring back to my dashboard to set things up isn’t too much of an issue but that is one process that takes me out of the panels in the Adobe program.I’d feel more comfortable setting up a new client through the dashboard online but occasionally I’ve gone to my drop-down and I’ve realised that it’s not a leaflet, it’s a press ad I’m proofing here, so maybe I should create a press ads project, or if I could just put in a new project there.
Quite often I’m doing campaigns on a repeating basis for clients, particularly Hammonds Furniture, so they’ll have a campaign that run for a couple of months. And then they repeat the structure of that campaign, so all the point of sale items, all the leaflets… they’ll repeat that but it will just be redesigned and updated to the next campaign. So for ease of workflow I quite often open up those previous files and then resave them under new names.
I found that one thing GoProof does, it recognizes the old file even if it’s been renamed somehow, as it asks me if I’ve moved it or if I’ve copied it, that sort of thing. Yeah ‘cos it remembers the details of that older project, so if I proofed it onto the client it would talk about the last month’s campaign. I mean that’s down to a lazy designer! I should recreate the files! But yeah it’s just a quick workflow thing isn’t it!
WOULD ALLOCATING A MIDDLE MAN IN THE GOPROOF PROCESS HELP?
At the moment I’m sending it to marketing teams. I can see that maybe if I was working for a larger client that had a copywriting agency and a web design agency but I was only working on the design side, yeah I could see that as beneficial. But at the moment for the clients we have I’m just sending to an in-house marketing team who deals with all sides of it and we are doing the copywriting, we’re writing the copy, designing it and then doing the web side of it.
GOPROOF NEEDED TO BE EASY TO ADOPT AND USE
There are weeks where I don’t think I look up, if you know what I mean! So if there’s something getting in the way of me getting something ready for a deadline or getting something to a client, I would probably just work around it because I wouldn’t have time to look at anything but the project in that week.
So taking on something new, like when we started with GoProof it really had to work straight away otherwise it probably would have got dropped because you just revert back to emails ‘cos you know that would be understood and you know that was going to work.
But GoProof was picked up so quickly that it just very quickly became the workflow and allowed that process to be enhanced rather than putting anything in the way.
We do use Podio to set up jobs and give them a job number, so we’ve got an online list that we can all share and look at where’s there’s a brief there and various details and assets of the different projects.
File management – I keep files locally and manage those through the Finder but to archive things and share larger finished files we use Dropbox – we’ve got a professional Dropbox account. We already had Dropbox set up, it was just in place, so I haven’t really use my Creative Cloud storage at all.If it was unlimited on Creative Cloud then I would look at the workflow because I trust the Adobe workflow probably better but now we’ve got so many files set up on Dropbox, and we’re already using that process, then we’ll stick with it for ease.
ACCOUNT HANDLING ROLE IN GOPROOF
So for the account handling role, as we’re a small team we all handle that between us really, so if it’s account handling that comes in that needs my attention then I’ll handle it. But then our copywriter would handle the copywriting. Yeah I think that sounds interesting. I think it would be a good extension to the product.
GOPROOF IN SUMMARY
It does save a lot of time, it’s a much cleaner process and streamlines everything and takes out a lot of missing files and misunderstanding. It’s a better way to communicate, I think.Percentage-wise, 25% to maybe 50% time is saved on a project because there’s less misunderstandings maybe. Certainly on some projects it’s cleaned up a lot of that. Like I said earlier, I can see a conversation between a team at the client end and a much better understanding of what the group’s thought is from that end.
Certainly as an agency it cleans things up our end so we can work more efficiently for the client and certainly saves us money on a project that’s already been agreed, if you like.
Definitely with some new clients we have taken on we have discussed this in early pitch meetings to reassure the client that the process is going to be simple. I think it’s quite daunting for some clients who have never maybe not taken on an agency before that they know what the process is going to be and they understand what their input is going to have to be. Suddenly are they going to have to be really creative? Suddenly are they going to have to be very techy?
So if we can explain that we have a very simple process that will come through them on email, they will go to a simple web page where they will be able to write comments and come back, it puts their mind at ease. It’s certainly a selling point for us.