How to Fit a DAM System into a Creative Workflow

By Angela Stringfellow - Last updated

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One of the biggest challenges in today’s workplace? Managing and coordinating wildly diverse teams, often with contributors spread across the country and even the world. How do you centralize your creative process? How do you stay efficient? How do you even stay organized?

The real question isn’t how to fit your DAM system to your creative workflow, but rather in how many ways your DAM system will vastly improve your creative workflow.

While it can’t complete the project for you, a robust digital asset management (DAM) system can certainly help. In many, many ways.

What’s a DAM System?

Digital asset management, aka DAM, is the practice of storing, organizing, and accessing all your digital assets: documentation, images, audio, video, presentations, podcasts, animations, and any other digital or multimedia content.

Learn more about the benefits of digital asset management, best practices, and developing your company’s DAM strategy.

What’s a Creative Workflow?

Even if you don’t know you have a creative workflow, you probably do. In the simplest terms, this is your creative process – how you get from start to finish on each creative endeavor.

Creative workflows shake out differently in different industries, but typically you’re looking at topics of organization: How are ideas generated? How do you get from Point A to Point B? Who’s responsible for what? Who makes the final decisions?

And, most importantly, how can you stay efficient? Dozens of edits and revisions, too many cooks in the kitchen, delayed deadlines – a good creative workflow can help avoid them all. In other words, think of it as a creative flow chart, beginning at conception, moving through to development and revisions, and ending at project finalization.

What Can a DAM System Do for Your Creative Workflow?

If the goal of a creative workflow is to save time and avoid problems on a project, then the goal of a DAM system is to save time and avoid problems with your creative workflow.

So, how does your DAM system fit into the equation?

In many ways:

  • Easily search for what you need: One of the biggest benefits of a robust DAM system is that it’s infinitely scalable, so you can organize and access any number of digital assets, in any number of formats – all, easily searchable via file name, tags, notes, and other meta data. Find what you’re looking for, the first time.
  • Save time: A DAM system means that your assets are always well organized, so you know everyone on the team is working from the same file, the same version.
  • Self-service access: In addition to everyone having access to the same file, everyone has the access to download that file for themselves. No longer does your creative director have to spend minutes, hours, or weeks searching for, accessing, downloading, and sending files to each team member.
  • Rights management: Assign who has access to which digital assets – who can view what, file formats, download rights, upload rights, and more. You can even implement license agreements, to allow access for certain periods of time (and no more).
  • Manage format changes: Your designer uses Adobe Illustrator; your developer needs a PNG; your marketing team requires a JPG. Your DAM system can not only handle them all, but also pull them all together into one spot, where everyone has access to the latest versions. No more redundant content.
  • Immediate visible changes: In addition to managing format changes, whenever a file is updated (ex. your designer tweaks a photo), the whole team will have immediate access to the most current image.
  • Save money: How many times have you re-purchased a stock photo, or a vector image, or any other digital asset because you didn’t know (or couldn’t find) one your company has purchased before? No more.
  • Collaborate across the miles: Internal and external collaboration suddenly got easier, even if your designer’s in one place, your developer in another, your copywriter in a third spot, and your creative team back home.

Obviously, the uses, benefits, and implementation of a DAM system into a creative workflow depends on your company, your project, and your creative team. But, no matter how you slice it, it’s helpful.

Download our case study, How a Leading Children’s Hospital revolutionized creative operations, to find out how DAM can impact creative workflows in the healthcare industry.

How to Fit a DAM System into a Creative Workflow

The real question isn’t how to fit a DAM system into your creative workflow, but rather how to adapt your creative workflow to your DAM system?

If you already have a DAM system, then you’re familiar with how it works. The next step: Get your entire creative team up to speed. Everyone should understand the functions, flexibility, and uses of your DAM system.

It may take a bit of adjustment – old ways die hard – but on your next project or collaboration, stick to your DAM system. Do not deviate. Tag assets effectively. Implement permissions. Update files.

And, if someone asks you to send over a file, refer them to the DAM system. If someone uses the old version of an asset, refer them back to your DAM system (and how to find the most recent file version). At every juncture, utilize your DAM system to its maximum advantage.

After the learning curve, you’ll discover a more efficient, more organized, and easier creative workflow. Ready to get started with a DAM solution? With easy implementation, integration with leading CRMs and CMSs, and customizable workspaces to meet your team’s needs, fitting MerlinOne into your creative workflow is practically effortless. Book a meeting with MerlinOne today to learn how the leading DAM solution trusted by the world’s most iconic brands can streamline your creative workflows and enhance brand consistency.

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