Organization in the Digital Age
With digital assets representing a large investment by brand owners, organization and management are of critical importance.
WHAT'S IN A package? Prior to the addition of cereal, hand cream, aspirin, or bug spray, the essential elements of a package or label include text; graphics; regulatory information; photos; CMYK, RGB, and 3D images; templates; line art; logos; layouts; and PDFs—to name just a few.
The process of making that package involves every stage in the packaging supply chain, from engineering to marketing and legal to purchasing and production. Factor in additional legal requirements and regulatory information for food, pharmaceuticals, and other regulated industries, version history, materials specifications, etc.—distributed across many departments, in many hands, in many stages—and the result is a diffuse mass of disparate data that is beyond the power of simple archiving to organize and access. Complex, multilayered packaging information can get lost in translation at any stage among various departments, where too many cooks can, and often do, spoil the broth. The answer: Enter digital asset management (DAM).
Bring order to content chaos
Any digital media file with value to an organization is a digital asset. In the aggregate, unstructured digital and analog assets are known as "content." Basically, digital asset management works like a hierarchical database, although it typically goes much further by promoting controlled information and content-sharing among suppliers and partners. DAM systems provide centralized storage for packaging media on a hard drive or disk subsystem, which then functions as a structured, highly accessible digital warehouse for digital assets.
It's important to note that the workflows that generate the "rich" assets typical of consumer product packaging are dynamic, reflecting requirements that change as regulations change or as flavors, colors, or ingredients are added, subtracted, or modified. Consequently, DAM tools and DAM systems must be able to accommodate the hundreds of file formats used in modern package design—everything from multilayered Photoshop and Illustrator files to those produced by 3D modeling and rendering. In the fiercely competitive world of consumer packaging, DAM systems must, above all, be secure, while also permitting access to authorized internal and external users. DAM software typically is able to mesh with any core prepress system that includes add-ons for packaging applications.