How ProKarma Streamlines Collaborative Design Work with the CC Libraries + Powerpoint Integration
by Marc Schenker
posted on 05-11-2020
As a designer, your mind naturally wants to explore, solve problems, and think outside the box. This creativity can be a superpower, one no designer wants to sacrifice. For most, doing rote tasks that take up mental resources and eat away at your creativity can feel like kryptonite.
The trouble is that designers often have no choice but to get bogged down in the slog of repetitive tasks, especially if they’re working on projects with a team of people. One change to a design asset usually means that you have to go back and change each and every file—and then resend it to everyone you’re working with.
But designer Avery Hutcherson has managed to break her cycle of tedium, by finding a much better way to share design assets with her team. She’s an experience engineer at PK, a firm known for matching strong tech with great design. Read on to learn how she’s leveraging the integration between Creative Cloud Libraries and Microsoft PowerPoint to reap the rewards of design liberation.
A different kind of design company
Sometimes, when we think of design, we overlook the technology aspect of the craft. At Avery’s firm, the relationship between design and tech is paramount, and this results in her clients having stronger ties to their products.
“Think of us as experience engineers. We’re a company of thinkers, makers, and builders who partner with our clients to pioneer experiences grounded in human insights. We take great design and match it with strong tech to give our clients a deeper connection to their brand, employees, and audiences,” she said.
“We look at the moments that matter and always approach our projects by pinpointing the right problems and working how best to solve them. We balance insight and design extremely well, and our human-centered approach delivers some pretty amazing outcomes.”
This shifted perspective on how to approach insight derived from design has enabled Avery to work on a wide range of stimulating projects in her time at PK.
“We’re extremely lucky to have our hands in numerous types of projects through a wide range of clients. I’ve had the opportunity to work on customer stories and journeys, loyalty programs, and presentations in software, retail, healthcare, and more. Within the design team, I’m just a piece of an amazing group of creatives who believe all design (UX, UI, graphic, and development) should be functional and visual. I help assess aesthetics, provide guidance, and make things work visually,” she said. With this range of stakeholders and collaborators all around the world, and variety of deliverables, Avery is constantly on the hunt for the right toolsets to facilitate smooth workflows.
“I’ve been using Adobe Creative Cloud for about 10 years and PowerPoint for even longer. I was watching the keynote from Adobe MAX and as soon as the integration between Creative Cloud Libraries and PowerPoint was mentioned, I immediately added the feature and started testing it out. I’m an advocate for simplifying workflows, and the ability for a few of the programs I use on a regular basis to function and communicate on a different level was intriguing. Day one, I was a fan,” she said.
Avery was able to quickly put this new integration to use immediately where it mattered the most: in her design projects.
Avery Hutcherson demonstrates how Creative Cloud Libraries works within Microsoft Powerpoint.
Simpler workflows liberate designers to be more creative
On a recent project, Avery was able to deal with her usual moving parts more seamlessly than before. The turnaround time for the project was short, so support for workflows had to be on-point, especially with team members in different locations.
“A coworker and I were onboarding for a quick turn project that needed a PowerPoint deck. We had our meetings, discussed the calendar, and brainstormed a few story pitches to better guide the content we were asked to include,” she stated.
“The design was moving in two directions. One was data focused. We were using text, photos, and color to influence the story. The other direction used analogy. We talked story and paired each slide with visuals to allude to the data, connecting relatable concepts with meaningful research.”
It was also vital for she and her coworker to collaborate in real time without anything getting in the way. The integration proved to be a game changer for this reason.
“As we moved forward building assets for both possible directions we could go in with this project, our need to connect and see, in real time, how pieces were coming together was crucial. We didn’t have time to send, wait for feedback, and edit. We had the opportunity to pull, create, edit, and discard and trust CC Libraries to link our team to a living collection of resources. As I created, a teammate was collecting the pieces in the deck, arranging as needed and throwing simple requests or tweaks my way,” Avery said.
Further on the project, Avery demonstrates CC Libraries’ integration with PowerPoint.
A designer that came onboard midway through the project didn’t even need a primer on where everyone else was. All it took was a simple sync, and he had all the answers he needed.
“Another designer was moved into the project a few days into the work. He’s based in Portland, and usually catching someone up can take time (syncing, filling in the project details, where we’re at, linking to project folders and the deliverable, etc.). However, with one sync and an invitation to the asset library, he was up to speed on where we were at. We knew colors, fonts, images, graphics…all the necessary pieces to complete our project ask,” she said.
Overall, as a tool for creative asset management, the integration of Creative Cloud Libraries with PowerPoint now makes Avery’s professional life much easier.
“It’s an easy resource to use. It’s intuitive, collaborative, and cuts down the anxiety of providing the right files at the right time. If I make it, I add it to the library. If someone needs an asset, I share the library. It’s a lot easier to send an email or to ping me in Slack with small requests than going through the game of email tag, firing off file after file, and praying all other versions never resurface!” Avery said.
Breaking the cycle of repetition
Most designers can probably sum up their workflows with just a few words; something inevitable when working in a production environment. “I find that, as a designer, you get caught up in the cycle. Create, export, import, and repeat. If you made a mistake, needed to change a color or a line, or replaced a font, you circle back, rename a new file, and import it into your program of use,” Avery said.
“Every designer has a file graveyard. Iterations of the same logo, graphic, wireframe, presentation, whatever—it’s all shoved in there somewhere. I can remember when exporting numerous file types to share with a range of people would become overwhelming. Especially if there was a change that needed to be made and every file needed to be revisited and resent. It was tedious and exhausting.”
Now, with the Creative Cloud Libraries and PowerPoint integration, Avery is able to stay better organized on projects that span both the Adobe and Microsoft worlds.
“I think as a creative, you want to best utilize your time thinking and making, and you end up feeling bogged down with repetitive tasks that cut into that creative time. Being better organized, even within the programs I’m working in, has given me a different kind of liberation. I don’t feel the need to root around my folders and files, instead I open the necessary library, pull the asset I need, and move on,” she said.
Products: Creative Cloud