How to create design workflows for greater output and consistency

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How to create design workflows for greater output and consistency

Sep 10, 2019 1:25:32 PM by Michael Pfeiffer |0 Comment Add Comment

A content design workflow is essentially a description of the tasks that need to be undertaken in order to create a piece of content. Think of it as your roadmap: in other words, a clear definition of who is accountable for various tasks, how those tasks are to be carried out - and when.

If you are one of the estimated 60% of marketing and communications professionals who struggle to produce content consistently - or if bottlenecks and delays are all too common when you are trying to get material out, workflow optimisation could be just what’s needed to get your design ‘production line’ back on track.

Here are the steps to follow to help you get your workflows right.

Set up distinct workflows for each category of marketing and communications material

Whatever you are designing, the end goal is the same: to deliver a piece of work that’s polished, that’s on brand - and that meets the original brief. Furthermore, you want to achieve all of this as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

But in practical terms, the steps that need to be followed to produce a print brochure are likely to be very different to what’s needed to create a sales email. So rather than having a ‘one size fits all’ workflow for all occasions, you will almost certainly need separate ones for each category of content.

These categories may be along the following lines:

  • Web pages (e.g. product pages, landing pages and microsites)
  • Online banners
  • Social media
  • Email
  • Video
  • Print material (e.g. posters, brochures, flyers and exhibition stand material)

Define roles and responsibilities

It isn’t just your designers who are involved in the workflow. You also need to define what other people serve as touchpoints, who is involved - and what responsibilities they have. Even if you have a well-resourced in-house design team at your disposal, you may need to draft in specialist help from outside from time to time. One of the beauties of a clear workflow is that it becomes possible to seamlessly integrate third parties into the process - providing them with clear direction and helping to avoid inconsistencies.

Individual roles may be as follows:

Design initiators - in other words, the person or persons who order the work to be carried out. Examples may include sales and marketing managers, branch-level managers - and heads of other departments - Marcomms, HR or Customer Service.

Strategists - i.e. the persons who decide on the content type, topic and angle.

Creators - examples include writers, developers, graphic designers, photographers and video producers.

Editors - several people may need to be involved in the editorial and review process. This may include not just the person who initiated the work in the first place but also individuals who may want to check the work from a ‘user experience’ perspective.

Deadlines are all-important

Without clear dates and deadlines, there really is no ‘flow’ to your workflow’!

If you are not careful, it’s actually very easy to get bogged down in a long and drawn out approvals process. So try to make sure that everyone - even senior managers with sign-off responsibilities - have a deadline to stick to.

A simple example is as follows:

  • The design initiator refers the project to the strategist who has 3 days to complete a brief
  • Content creators then have a week to create a draft
  • Managers have three days to request revisions
  • Once approved for publication, the finished material goes live within 48 hours

Get the right tools

If you store and share all brand guidelines and every asset in a central location, your workflow becomes so much more efficient. That’s why, if you don’t have one already, the addition of a Brand Portal could be the single biggest boost you could give to your design workflow.

A Papirfly Brand Portal goes a step further than other marketing tech stacks. This fully functioning Brand Activation Management (BAM) solution delivers leading Educate, Store, Share and Create tools to your organisation, making any content design workflow you implement simple to use, brand consistent, time efficient and cost effective.

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