Aside from my design responsibilities, I have contributed to the overall interdepartmental communication at Guitar Center by developing and implementing tools that are easy to use and understand:
As simple as a creative brief may sound, it has it’s difficulties when developing for multi-user access and usability. Prior to my intervention, the creative brief was inconsistent, difficult to decipher, and at times lacked sufficient information for designers and copywriters to create effective assets. This would result in project delay, miscommunication, projects needing reworked or completely redesigned, etc.
Upon the creation of the new Musician’s Friend website, which presented many new challenges in the creative brief, I decided to take the brief out of the hands of the Marketing Department and make it my responsibility. The creative brief that is issued includes multiple asset and version requests, email, HTML, landing page, and legal copy. The brief I created has taken the required information, displays it in an easy to understand format, and uses conditional formatting to highlight requests. Not only is it easy to read, it makes brief creation a simple task. The addition of this new brief has resulted in fewer delayed or cancelled projects, fewer missing assets and copy, and less need for in-person project clarification and meetings.
With the many graphics assets that are required and created for each project it can be difficult for other departments to understand and visualize where the asset will live and how it will look on desktop, mobile, email and social spaces. I developed a proofing template that placed the assets and copy in the proper context so Marketers, Merchandisers, etc. could have a better understanding of how their projects would look and where they would appear. The Live Proofing has resulted in less re-designs, less missing/unrequested assets and copy, and better on-brand assets.
Several design projects and hundreds of assets are released by multiple designers on a weekly-basis. To ensure all assets are on-brand and present a cohesive look across all channels I took responsibility over all graphic suite templates. In collaboration with the Director of Brand Art, I created templates for all assets that are used by the Musician’s Friend design team. From typeface to pricing tenants, guidelines were created to ensure that all designers were releasing files that represented the Musician’s Friend brand.
I also, implemented the practice of using Linked Smart Objects and Variable Data Sets to help boost productivity and efficiency. Many graphic suites contain 50+ assets, and at any moment may need to be updated, whether it be copy or a product image. Updating multiple assets to reflect requested changes can be very time consuming and result in delayed asset release and inconsistent assets. By encouraging the use of Linked Smart Objects and Variable Data Sets in combination with Custom Actions, a product image swap or Copy update becomes a simple task that can be completed in a matter of minutes rather than hours. This allows designers to focus more on creative visuals and less on tedious production work.