March 31st, 2009 by Jim Kidwell
You’ve got to make the tough choices, and perhaps that means that you can’t upgrade to Apple’s latest and greatest OS just yet. To help keep you going with professional font management, we’ve updated our single-user font manager, Suitcase Fusion 2 to be compatible with Mac OS X 10.4, Tiger.
Version 13.1 also includes a number of new features and fixed issues. This includes:
- New ability to search for fonts by the “Date Added” to Suitcase Fusion.
- Added ability to search by “Keyword” with the QuickFind tool.
- New “Library” column in the Fonts pane shows where your fonts are located.
- Updated font corruption warnings when adding fonts.
- Ability to disable warnings from Suitcase Fusion 2.
- Plug-in manager improvements, including the ability to install more than one copy of a plug-in for multiple versions of a host application.
- Automatic removal of obsolete plug-ins.
- Suitcase Fusion 2 users on Mac OS X v10.4 (Tiger) now have access to plug-ins for Adobe CS4 and Quark 8.
This is a free update for all current Suitcase Fusion 2 users. It’s easy to upgrade your current installation if you have Suitcase Fusion 2 currently installed. To update, from the Suitcase Fusion 2 menu, choose Check for Updates and follow the instructions to download and apply the update.
In uncertain times, we’re all more vigilant about where we spend out money. If you’re like me, you probably ask yourself many times a day if you can afford one purchase or another. From small purchases like your daily coffee all the way up to whether now is the time to replace your car or move to a new house, you want to make the best decision possible.
When investing in your business, you probably use many factors, not the least of which is how much time and money a purchase is likely to cost as well as add value.
Aberdeen research published a study that identifies the top technologies that best-in-class companies are currently implementing in response to the economic downturn. The list includes many tools that you’ve probably been using for years. as well as many that you’ve probably considered. They include:
- Email marketing software
- Lead management software
- Digital asset management software
- Marketing dashboards
- Marketing automation software
Digital asset management (DAM) systems were found to be a critical component of successful companies. In plain terms, the study found that companies who use DAM software outperformed companies who did not, and that performance translated into significant cost savings. There were a variety of reasons for the improvement, including:
- Elimination of repetitive tasks
- Decreased speed in asset location
- Centralization of content
- Increased access to assets by all users, including those who work remotely
So, while you may have considered holding back on your purchases, doing so now may just be holding you back.
For more complete details about all of the recessionary marketing tools, I highly recommend reading the following article over at Ecommerce Times.
This last Tuesday we had a very well attended webcast focusing on Digital Asset Management (DAM) Best Practices. If you’ve missed it, you can watch the recorded presentation at your leisure. I had several people who followed up with questions regarding resources to help them in their DAM journey. So here are a few that I recommend:
- Digital Asset Management Best Practices Guide — a PDF covering some lessons learned and best practices for organizing and cataloging your assets.
- Portfolio “How to” Videos (scroll down the page until you see “Portfolio Client”) – Short videos (4-8 min long), showing you how to organize your files, how to create a catalog and ingest your assets, how to distribute and archive your rich media assets, and how Portfolio integrates with your workflow and creative applications.
- Portfolio webcasts — If you’re hungry for a longer presentation about Portfolio Server and the benefits it could provide for your organization.
- Maximizing the Value of Rich Media Files in a Down Economy – Our upcoming Case Study presentation, featuring Methodologie, top communications strategy firm in Seattle, serving customers such as The Coca-Cola Company, Boeing and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
- All recorded and upcoming webcasts — We continually add to this page, updating it with new webcasts and recorded presentations.
- Portfolio trials — 30-day trials of Portfolio in your choice of platform: Mac or Windows.
We’ve also recently revamped our site to provide more information about your specific needs, so check it out.
Periodically, we’ll post here at our blog some interesting articles regarding digital asset management in general, such as this post about a Gartner report, or offer some perspectives about how DAM helps you in these tough times.
One of the things that they don’t teach at art college or design school is that when you graduate and finally get into the commercial world of design and business that a large and frustrating part of your working life will be spent searching for files.
Whether you’re looking for files to send off to a customer in servicing requests or looking for files that a colleague had created, the fact is that a large amount of valuable time is spent searching for these ‘digital assets’. What’s even tougher for creative folk (the people typically responsible for creating these files) is that as a task, being organized doesn’t come easy.
I’ve heard it mentioned before how really creative people have really messy desks and even messier desktops. The irony is that whilst every computer user knows that it’s quite sensible and logical to save files with some sort of structured file name and folder hierarchy, creative people aren’t particularly interested – whilst they’ve had first hand experience of the pain of disorganization and even had those flashes of logic wanting to be organized, the problem is inherent within the biological make-up that being organized is something that is quite literally one of the things furthest away from their thoughts. Couple this fact with the popular belief that databases are boring and the that meta-data has no listing in creative users vocabulary and I’m sure that the majority of creative people will want to leave the room or fall asleep when it comes to hearing about Digital Asset Management (DAM) software.
Neural scientists have documented how the left hand side of the brain is the logical side and how the right side is the creative side. It is also suggested that each of us naturally prefers one side of the brain over the other. Whilst there are a number of online tests and theories to support this, one certain way to discover which way you swing is to think to the time you used your computer and to what steps you completed when you last went through the simple process of saving a file.
I’ve made my own observations over the past decade of working with different customers and witnessing the way in which creative computer users save, re-save, duplicate and then try and organize and distribute their files. It’s interesting to sit with users being fantastically creative in their creative applications (performing right brain intensive tasks) to have their logical left brain desert them when it comes to saving the file as ‘logo.eps’ – “Well clearly ‘logo.eps’ might be a good name but what are you going to call tomorrow’s logo file – ‘logo2.eps’?” Indeed, with some users you can almost hear the gears in their head grind together as they try to engage the left side of their brain.
Saving a file shouldn’t be a hassle. Indeed, when you’re working alone a good structured file naming convention is fairly easy to decide upon. The problems with saving files however is despite best intentions you can find yourself again in an unstructured mess where the logic initially deployed fails because it’s been too structured or too rigid. A good system of managing files should continually evolve in a controlled fashion being able be adaptable to the changes placed upon it.
The other requirement of a good DAM system is that should be able to control and guide the human logic used to reference the files. The benefit here is in automating the filename. This might seem like an absurdly trivial task but later on will prove to be at the foundation for any good system. Keeping things simple will also benefit all those who come into contact with the system. Automating the filename (and controlling the logic on input will also benefit in the longer term since human logic not only differs from user to user but individually human logic can change on a day-to-day or even hour-to-hour basis. I’ve seen creative users sit down using Monday’s logic on Monday to save the file but then on Tuesday (using Tuesday’s logic) be completely lost when they’ve wanted to retrieve the file. Automating the addition of metadata to files will help to guide human logic and in time, your customers both internally and externally will grow to appreciate the subtleties you decide upon.
When it comes to other metadata, a good DAM system should allow you to reference files in a way that makes sense to those using it. Whilst you could easily add all of the metadata simply as ‘keywords’ there are many benefits to be had in using custom fields of metadata. This is essential when your need to refer to files using proper nouns or by product codes, customer names or job numbers. Further more, whilst those who have just started to nod-off at the mention of metadata, one quick way of getting started with Portfolio to make sense of your :C drive or Documents/Images folder or network share is to turn on an option in the Portfolio preferences to build keywords automatically from the path. In this way it’s possible to get started within minutes of installing the software to finding real efficiencies in saving time without having to learn any fancy new tricks.
Digital Asset Management systems like Portfolio are after all designed for the right-brain dominant creative within all of us.
I just came across this very stimulating project that uses two of my favorite things in life: type and sun (using chocolate would have been an added bonus).
The One Day Poem Pavillion that Jiyeon Song created for the Media Design Program at the Art Center College of Design uses a Sijo, classical Korean poetic form that emphasizes topics such as human life, nature and virtue. How fascinating, don’t you think?
March 24th, 2009 by Jim Kidwell
Kinetic typography has been all the rage lately. And while this isn’t exactly the same as other videos, it does show how prolific and extensive the creative use of typography has become.
Now that it’s trickled down to the kid-consumer level, I wonder what other projects will soon include the extensive use of type? Perhaps baby bottles?
March 23rd, 2009 by Jim Kidwell
Yup, spring has finally sprung. In the northern hemisphere, we’re starting to see our days getting longer and the winter weather subsiding.
For me, it’s also a time to pull myself out of the winter blahs, and get going on new projects. It’s time to take those dusty ideas that I placed on a shelf months ago and begin to make them a reality. Writing for a living, I have a ton of ideas – websites, books, projects and papers – all of which could be really fun to spend some time creating.
The most important thing is to decide what you want out of your project, and that’ll help you decide which project to pursue.
Are you looking to bring in more clients for you small business? Perhaps looking to gain some street cred? Perhaps a project for a contest might suit your needs best. At the end, if you win an award, what better way to tout your skills to potential clients. And, better yet, if your project is for a non-profit, you’ll gain exposure to many potential new customers through that client’s contacts.
Since we’re in a tough job market, if you’ve got the extra time, why not use it to learn a new bit of technology? Designing websites may have been a hobby in your past. Why not use this time to bone up on your CSS chops? If you want to do it quick and dirty, start up a site using WordPress or Drupal, then spend your time learning the ins and outs of site customization.
Or do you simply need a creative outlet that’s different than your core job function? I have a friend who recently started hosting a daily English-language radio show in Korea. It’s entirely outside of his normal job as an English professor at one of the local universities. I’ve seen how this job has brought an entirely new spark to his life.
Personally, I plan to spend a little time in the evenings fleshing out one of my projects. I haven’t quite decided which one just yet. I’m going to start by making a list of all of the ideas, then pick the one that best meets my requirements of it being fun, as well as require new skills .
The most important part, is getting started.
So what are you waiting for? Get your rear in gear and create something!
In April we’ll be hosting a Digital Asset Management for Creative Services Forum at the offices of one of our Portfolio customers, Ignited Minds. While looking at their creative work (really cool stuff), I came across this New Media Dictionary, Vol 2.
You don’t necessarily have to be involved in social/new media to enjoy the witty definitions on this dictionary. My favorite one is: Information stagnation — The phenomenon of access to news sources expanding dramatically while the percentage of well-informed Americans remains relatively unchanged.
After visiting Extensis’ home city of Portland a few weeks ago, (see pictures here), the Cut&Paste Digital Design Tournament 2009 is coming to London next month. The UK leg of the tour takes place on Saturday 4th April, at the Coronet Theatre in Elephant & Castle and is one of sixteen global events, culminating in a world championship in New York on Saturday 20th June.
If you are not familiar with Cut&Paste tournaments, the idea is that designers compete with each other over 15 minute rounds, to produce the best piece of work within the theme and design constraints provided by the Cut&Paste team. Not only are they under pressure from the clock, but their work is shown on large screens, so the audience can monitor their progress. There are a total of three competitions for this year’s tournament – 2D, 3D, and Motion Design.
Other stops on the tour include Toronto, Chicago, Amsterdam, Berlin and Sydney. If you are interested in attending, a full list of stops and further information can be found on the Cut&Paste website.
Personally, I am interested in seeing how the designers work differs from country to country, as well as how the contestants cope with the pressure. I am not sure I would like all the spectators watching, I am bad enough when someone peers over my shoulder when I am at my desk!
Heads up! Join me next week for the very popular Digital Asset Management Best Practices presentation. Webcast is free and will occur on Tuesday March 24 at 11 am Pacific.
I’ll be sharing with you customer stories and lessons learned on how to best utilize a DAM solution. We’ll cover topics such as what to consider when evaluating the different products in the market, understanding your current environment, defining your future DAM goals, the importance of metadata and effective taxonomy, and how to organize, archive and distribute your rich media assets (images, video, audio, PDFs, collateral, etc).
If you have specific questions, we’ll also have a Q&A session at the end of the webcast. I promise to keep it lively and interesting, so register today.