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Creativity & Home Office: Breaking Down Barriers

By Matthew Jones • May 12, 2020

At the time of writing, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that digitalisation across multiple areas has sped-up considerably. A key area that has been affected is working from home. While for some working from home has long been normalised, others working in graphic design and media production are finding out quickly (and all too often, painfully) that doing so presents multiple difficulties, all related to access to content.

At first glance, working from home may seem to be all about having the right personal hardware for the home office: a computer with a processor that packs a punch, with a graphics card to match. Plus, a drawing tablet and perhaps the favourite piece from the portfolio on the wall… just for a little inspiration. Oh and of course, the right webcam and headset: enabling communication with clients, collaborators and colleagues.

Ready to go, right? Unfortunately, wrong. The reason: impaired access to content.

The smooth continuous flow of creativity works best when collaboration can be carried out seamlessly. Ideas can rapidly be transformed from inspiration to intellectual property, without hindrances or hiccups. Sounds great but it’s all too often impeded by frustrations caused by the ‘Creative Content Challenge’.

Combatting the ‘Creative Content Challenge’

We’re going to cover three key areas that cause the ‘Creative Content Challenge’. We’ll outline what causes these issues and how to solve them:

  1. The Distance Dilemma.
    Working from anywhere but the office causes issues related to accessing content.
  2. Time Drain.
    Countless hours are wasted on slow searching & IT is faced with security challenges.
  3. Broken Workflows.
    Accessing content involves going outside of creative applications, leading to distractions.

1. The Distance Dilemma: Big Distances Don’t Have to Mean Big Challenges

When working from the office or business space, graphic content can be transferred in a variety of ways, that may include LAN hosted file servers or even portable HDDs. However, when it comes to being out of the office: things get much more complicated. Using a file server, hosted locally, means setting up a VPN connection to the office space: often leading to a slow connection and clunky workflow. When it comes to portable HDDs, the problems are immediately clear: no disk means no access!

Picturepark Cloud helps break down some of the barriers built-up by distance. Designers and agencies can work as though they’re local, whether they are in or out of the office, whether 1km or 10000km away. Home office should be exactly that: a place to give you the freedom to work from your home, allowing you to recreate the office experience.

2. Time Drain: Save Time for Yourself and Your Colleagues

A frequent issue that comes from working remotely on graphical projects is time drain. It’s an issue that not only affects artists and designers directly but it also indirectly affects their colleagues. Let’s look a typical scenario:

Slow Searching Delivers Inaccurate Results

Picture the scene: you’ve seen that file before, it was in the latest media pack you made for the client. The thing is, they want it altered. You created a different draft version but they didn’t choose it. Now, months later they think they’ve found the perfect use for it, after a few tweaks of course… But what was the file name? Not only is it difficult to remember the name: was it PAMPLET_280420? Perhaps LEAFLET_280420? Now is the part where you spend a lot of time searching for different keywords, looking for the exact filename.

Let’s say it’s your lucky day, five minutes of searching delivers you the file. It’s not great but hey, it’s better than trying to find that Adobe Photoshop template from 2012 on all those portable HDDs, right? That took over an hour, last time! Okay, so now you’ve got the file. Except there’s a problem: you’ve got the .png export, you need the .ai Illustrator template so you can make the edits.

So, how does Picturepark solve these two issues ? Well, the use of powerful semantic relationships mean that you can skip searching for overly-specific search terms. Whether its leaflet or pamphlet in the filename, it doesn’t matter: the two terms are semantically linked and thus will appear in search results regardless of whichever is used.

The second way in which Picturepark offers a time saving solution is through access to ready-made formats: that means that while you can access the original editable files from Photoshop or Illustrator, it is also possible to access the extracted images, all in a range of sizes or resolutions.

All sorts of different berry related media displayed within the same search results.

Your Single Source of Truth

A key area of frustration for those working with graphics is a lack of a centralized single source of truth. Graphics change with time: new logos come and go, brand guidelines are adapted and corporate colour schemes are changed. When working on a new project, it is key to know and have access to the most up-to-date data. All too often designers are wasting time searching across multiple file systems for the information such as the latest company slogan, the right font files and the correct print advert disclaimer.

Using Picturepark cuts through these issues in one fell swoop by offering a master source of information. Instead of searching through folders of brand guidelines with filenames like BRAND_GUIDELINES_V3.pdf, BRAND_GUIDELINES_V3_FINAL.pdf, BRAND_GUIDELINES_V3_FINAL_EDIT.pdf: they focus in instantly, with direct access to only the most recent and up-to-date information.

Fonts, icon graphics and boilerplates benefit from Picturepark in the same way: instead of having to request the right font files from a colleague via email, workflows are kept agile - wherever there’s internet access, there’s access to a master record of all necessary content.

Keeping IT Departments Happy with Swiss Safety Standards

Graphic designers and their direct teams are undoubtedly those that are directly affected by the time drain involved in wasteful workflows. However, every action has a reaction and one of the key secondary effects hits IT teams.

Working away in the background, IT teams are always on the lookout for security flaws. Additionally, IT Teams are often busy maintaining mission-critical areas, enabling remote tools are available for all. Storing graphical content on file servers gives IT an extra task: they are responsible for ensuring strict security measures. That means: keeping an eye out for new vulnerabilities, patching and ensuring high levels of uptime.

The Picturepark Cloud comes to the rescue of IT teams: by using it, IT can free up their valuable time to focus on the many other threats out there. Instead of having to patch increasingly insecure file servers or worrying about sensitive documents on USB devices getting left in public places, they are instead free to focus on other key areas.

Picturepark Cloud hosted content comes with its own solid level of security and is delivered by a Swiss content management provider with over two decades of experience in cloud computing. Additionally. for IT departments seeking an even higher level of security, there is also a Picturepark Suisse Safe option available that delivers an even high level of back-up related security measures.

Find out more about Suisse Safe.

3. Broken Workflows: Don’t Bottleneck your Creativity

During times of change, people cling to familiarity. That means that learning new workflows or techniques becomes an ‘extra chore and can lead to creativity becoming bottlenecked. As working from home may be a new experience for some in graphic design, for creativity to flow unhindered; the fewer changes, the better. After all, it has been suggested by researchers that an incredible 40 - 95% of everyone’s day-to-day life is taken up not by conscious thought but by well-trodden habits.

Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) products are like a familiar digital home to so many that work with graphics, after all there aren’t so many software companies that own products that have become so widespread that they have entered dictionaries as an officially recognised verb!

Thanks to the CI HUB Connector for Picturepark, creativity and collaboration can flow unhindered: it enables direct access to content on Picturepark from within Adobe Creative Cloud’s product suite. Files are available to drag and drop, at the click of a mouse. Leave slow and distracting workflows, that involve switching between windows, behind. Collaborate with agencies and colleagues freely. Then distribute directly to clients. All from within Adobe CC. Not to mention that those using the connector also benefit from the many other powerful features of Picturepark such as a much stronger search with semantic relationships.

'Drag and drop' in action, shown using both visual media and text snippets.

Setting the Bar for Security and Familiarity

Whether working remotely from home or while travelling, the ultimate goal remains the same: to be able to simulate an experience most like working from the office, as seamlessly as possible. Picturepark delivers a high-quality experience that is ideal for a wide range of graphic designers, editors and illustrators alike: adapting to pre-existing workflows, detracting from the impact of the distance dilemma and providing peace of mind through trustable high Swiss security standards.

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