Tools

 

3 min read


Customers of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) had ample warning that DPS would no longer be supported. In August 2019, Adobe DPS officially reached its end-of-life, leaving many publications, corporations, associations, (and so on) unsure of what to do.

We’re curious to know how other DPS users in the same situation resolved the challenge.
Are you still sharing unsupported DPS content? Did you stay with Adobe and migrate to AEM? Did you find another distribution platform? We’re interested in learning more about your decision.

If you haven’t found the perfect fit, may we suggest you consider Twixl Media?

Before we migrated away from Adobe DPS, we researched a number of digital content distribution options, and ultimately decided Twixl was the best option for our purposes. Take a look at our top three reasons we settled on Twixl.

3 benefits to using Twixl

1. It’s affordable. Twixl has an affordable base price point with a variety of integrations, giving you the ability to only pay for the specific features you choose to utilize. We found it to be more cost-effective than Adobe DPS, and clearly less than AEM’s enterprise price tag.

2. It’s efficient. It’s not a replica of Adobe DPS, but many users have found Twixl to be much more efficient. As DPS users, we had to create multiple layouts for multiple devices, but with Twixl, we can build once and publish a responsive layout to a variety of devices.

3. It’s flexible. Publish a variety of content, from InDesign, HTML, and PDFs, to rich media like slideshows, videos, and RSS feeds. All in one app.

We made the switch from DPS to Twixl. If you’re interested in hearing about our experiences, we’d be happy to share our thoughts. Use the form below to request a free 30-minute consult.

What’s more, we’re Twixl Creative Partners and Twixl Certified Trainers. We’ve worked with DPS, migrated from DPS to Twixl, and helped others do the same. And since we first started using Twixl in 2017, we’ve remained confident in it as a solution provider.





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Posted on: November 11th, 2019 by Laura Uber

 

(Really, we’re just trying to make your life easier. And ours.)

3 min read

At The Creative Department, we often design and build long-format documents, in Adobe InDesign, for clients to use in house. This could be a proposal document, annual report, publication, general collateral — we’ve strategically designed and developed custom branded print pieces of all types for our clients.

When wrapping up one of these templated documents for a client, we ALWAYS run through a spell check. Misspelled words mean BIG trouble in the work we do. We take this stuff seriously.

A lifetime with spell check

When using standard spell check, we realized InDesign was constantly catching words that our clients frequently used and wanted to keep. Spell checking was taking so long, it was tempting to bail on the process altogether. We had to closely review every abbreviation, industry-specific term, last name, and even more modern terms that you THINK would be in a dictionary (we’re looking at you ... “Wi-Fi” and “email”). Overall, this process took 10–15 minutes — at least. As you can imagine, it would be utter torture to endure this process multiple times throughout the life of a project.

Efficiency is top of mind for us at The Creative Department. We value craftsmanship, detail-oriented work, and going the extra mile if it means a high-quality product for our clients. If our client is using this template as the basis for hundreds of documents, how much time could we save them by addressing this annoying spell check process?

Enter: custom user dictionaries

Could it be? A light at the end of the eternally long and drawn out spell check tunnel? YES! IT IS! Now introducing: custom user dictionaries for InDesign.

Alongside InDesign’s standard user dictionary, it’s possible to create a list of unique words for spell check to ignore. It’s also possible to save this list as a new dictionary that complements the user’s standard dictionary.

Do you know what this means?

About 80% of the words that spell check historically flagged were correctly used, per client standards, just not recognized in a standard dictionary. If our spell check process took 10 minutes for one run, our use of a custom dictionary could save 80% OF THE OVERALL TIME it takes to spell check. Multiply that by 100 documents built off an original template, and that is an extra Friday you could spend on a beach somewhere instead of spell checking.

A custom dictionary could save 80% of the overall time it takes to spell check.

About custom user dictionaries

Individually, user dictionaries can be created and maintained by one user. While the “dictionary keeper” edits and updates the custom dictionary, everyone (using a shared server) can access the dictionary as a read-only file. The file can be loaded into each user’s InDesign program, and once the new dictionary is linked, it will update (contingent on relaunching the program or “refreshing” all text, using Command+Option+/ keyboard shortcut).

Already have a word bank of company lingo? We can quickly generate a new dictionary with that list. Starting from scratch? That works too. Bonus: Once the new dictionary is established, it’s easy to export. That means you can import it into other applications, like Microsoft Word.

The real win

What it really comes down to, is that one small consideration for our clients led to a high-quality, more efficient work product. A spell check process on a long-format document might seem like a tiny, insignificant detail. But little efficiencies can add up in big ways. And it’s our pleasure to work with our clients in the biggest and littlest of ways to produce effective work that makes us all proud.

Curious how we can work efficiently for you? Give us a call or email us today. We can talk about incorporating strategies, like custom user dictionaries, into your unique company documents.


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Posted on: December 13th, 2018 by Laura Uber

 

In summer of 2013, Adobe announced a major shift in its software offerings: the end of relentless versioning of the Creative Suite (CS) to make way for its crown jewel, Creative Cloud (CC).

Four years later, some have continued to hold onto the last release of CS6, while others have charged ahead with the “latest and greatest” CC. As for us, we joined the movement kicking and screaming in fall of 2014. We’ve come to question if CC is really the best option, or if it’s the only option.

We made a pro-con list to illustrate our thoughts about Adobe’s Creative Cloud:

Pro #1: Access to ALL apps.

With Creative Suite, you only had access to the specific applications you purchased. With Creative Cloud, you can access your primary apps and dabble in others you wouldn’t have necessarily bought individually under the Creative Suite model. Creative Cloud has 28 desktop apps!

Con #1: Cost.

CC is not a one-time fee like CS. It’s a subscription you pay for time and time again, whether you set it up as a monthly withdrawal or an annual payment. Based on our past purchase/upgrade cycle, CC has been more expensive, which has been the biggest hurdle to overcome. After the first-year discount, CC costs tripled for our small business. Even with more available apps, we still only rely on the Big 5: InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Bridge, and Acrobat Pro. We are subject to comply with any cost increase, whether we like it or not, if we want to keep using our creative tools.

Pro #2: Despite its name, work offline.

You might think that Creative Cloud requires you to be connected to the internet to access any programs. That’s not the case. You do need an internet connection to download and update applications, but once you’ve done this, you can use your apps offline. An important piece of info regarding the cloud portion: a membership provides 20 GB of free cloud storage.

Con #2: At the mercy of Adobe.

This con is among our greatest concerns with Adobe CC. As a business, it’s imperative that we are always up-to-date with our subscriptions. Last fall (2016), we lost access to all CC applications on one of our “Creative Cloud for teams” accounts, while other users functioned normally. Instead of operating “business as usual,” the user and tech assistant spent the workday morning and afternoon contacting Adobe Support to resolve Adobe’s error. In the end, we lost billable hours and received a measly $25 credit from Adobe.

Pro #3: Get the latest updates.

A huge perk is receiving regular updates to any and all applications. With CC 2017, the latest version available, we’ve noticed a cleaner workspace and even faster loading and rendering times. After the launch of a new version, you can choose to install any updates as they arrive straight to your computer. These regular updates keep us relevant and educated on innovative discoveries in our industry.

Con #3: Mismatching versions.

With routine updates comes a constant need to watch for changes in interface and functionality. Clients and other team members can fall out of sync when they work on different versions within CC, meaning we may not be able to access documents as efficiently.

Our verdict

Whether you’re for or against “the Cloud,” you shouldn’t expect Adobe to take any steps away from its subscription-based services. Adobe’s market is in good health, so we know CC is benefiting the billion-dollar company.

For the record, we love Adobe products. We’ve been using their services since 1994. Their applications are innovative, robust and user-friendly. Would we recommend it? Yes, with a series of caveats, some listed above.

Monopolizing the market, Adobe surpasses all of its competitors. As users, we need to keep an eye on Adobe’s changes and be ready to question its functions and its rising rates.

Our solution

So how can businesses get more value from Creative Cloud despite the price increase?

1. Stay up-to-date. We aim to keep our Adobe products updated so we can work most efficiently for clients.

2. Use cloud storage. Collaborate and share high-quality, original files with clients and colleagues, even those who don’t have Creative Cloud.

3. Use more CC tools. We’re making an effort to expand our knowledge of CC offerings. What other apps can we utilize to increase our productivity? Take a look at what we learned about InCopy® and how to incorporate it into our workflow.

Tell us about your experience and participate in our poll below. What Creative Cloud applications do you regularly use?

Posted on: June 8th, 2017 by Laura Uber

 

A workflow where editors share revisions for designers to implement can add more time to a project than necessary.

Don’t get stuck in the back and forth of your editing and publication process.

For more than two decades, Adobe’s InCopy has streamlined writing and editing. The robust application allows copywriters and editors to efficiently collaborate with designers. While editors proofread copy, designers can simultaneously focus on InDesign layout, creating a more seamless operation.

Editing and updating with InCopy can increase accuracy and productivity.

Before you learn the specific operations of InCopy, here are 7 ways this tool can better your workflow:

1. It prevents edit overrides or duplicate efforts.

Editors can claim assignments and make changes to an article without worry of another user overriding any revisions. All users can see when a story is open and who’s working on it. Assignments claimed by you, or another editor, are not directly editable in the designer’s layout, which reduces any potential for accidental typos within your publication.

2. It works remotely.

The InCopy/InDesign workflow operates best on a shared server, where latest versions are saved in the same location. While this setup is ideal, a remote workflow is also an option. Share and receive files among your writers, editors and designers — even if you’re working at different locations — through a cloud drive or email.

3. It offers MORE editing capabilities than Microsoft Word.

You can format text, track changes and even crop images. Rather than sharing a revised Word document (or a scribbled paper of edits), you can make changes in InCopy that are then implemented into InDesign. With shared character and paragraph styles between the two applications, you can edit without altering any text already formatted by the designer.

4. It reduces the overall time spent on a project.

The ability to edit directly eliminates potential miscommunications in notes between editor and designer.

Designers can see when content has been modified and refresh the layout without ever inserting the new text themselves.

5. It shows how copy fits in layout.

Rewriting a sentence? Ensure your revised copy fits into the already-designed document. See how copy falls — where line breaks occur, where widows and orphans form, where text overflows — and make decisions to fix any issues.

6. It saves users from extra typing.

The text macro feature is a real time-saver. Instead of constantly typing — or more realistically, copying and pasting — boilerplates or standard copyright info, create keyboard shortcuts and let InCopy fill in the lengthy jargon.

7. It allows editors to create PDFs of the designed document.

Share PDFs around the office during your review process. Quickly export PDFs from InCopy without accessing the designer files. This isn’t necessarily a recommendation for final art but a solution for a tiny tweak before sharing with a colleague, for example. Where the original process involves contacting the designer and waiting on an updated file, you can independently edit and export.

Think InCopy can help your team work more efficiently? Without buying the entire creative suite, purchase InCopy through the Single App form for $4.99/month, reduced from $19.99/month last year.

Posted on: June 6th, 2017 by Laura Uber

 

It’s no news flash that sitting at your desk all day poses negative health risks. But “all day” reveals the key here. Standing all day isn’t the solution either. The real killer is remaining sedentary during a full day’s work.

That’s why TCD has invested in adjustable standing desks for designers Megan and Laura.

Their standing desks allow them to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the workday, increasing activity and productivity. The switch in position allows the body to move, benefiting physical and mental health.

A quick Google search will present hundreds of studies revealing that workers who practice this discipline of sitting and standing not only stay well but stay engaged and more alert also. Sitting, especially with poor posture, can leave employees cramped and fatigued at the end of the day.

Our designers use the VARIDESK Pro Plus 48. This standing desk holds two monitors on its top tier and a keyboard on its bottom tier. The raised monitors encourage better posture by keeping the head and neck up rather than hunched over.

“I absolutely love my standing desk,” Laura said. “It’s easy to raise. Plus, it’s very spacious, so it helps me stay organized too. It’s nice to be able to stand up and stretch my legs and then to be able to sit down when I start to wear from standing.”

With 11 adjustments, it’s easy to set the desk to your desired height. This is best determined when your arms are perpendicular to your body, with your forearms resting flat on the bottom tier.

“When friends and family swing by the office, the standing desk is usually the first thing that catches their eye, which typically leads to a quick demonstration,” Megan said. “It’s so easy to pop up from sitting to standing, even with two ginormous monitors and the keyboard tray.”

If you don’t have a standing desk, you can still practice good posture when sitting. Engage your abdominal muscles, and practice leg lifts and stretches under your desk. Another solution is to sit on an exercise ball (or some other chair that’s just unstable enough to keep you moving and supporting your weight). Take a break every 20–30 minutes to stand up — even if it’s just for a moment. It’s also a good idea to walk every so often. In our office, we encourage water consumption, so that can provide good reason to get up for a drink.

Take steps to be more active in your workplace. Find out if the VARIDESK Pro Plus 48 fits your workplace needs.

Posted on: May 26th, 2017 by Laura Uber

The Creative Department is a proud sustaining member of AIGA.

We follow AIGA's Standards of Professional Practice and adhere to its principles of integrity that demonstrate respect for the profession, for colleagues, clients, audiences or consumers, and society as a whole. We utilize AIGA's Basic Terms & Conditions and Intellectual Property Provisions to maintain the professional practices of the design industry.