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Unleashing the creativity of university design teams

by Catherine Chiang  |  October 2, 2019

3 min. read

Prospective students have many choices when it comes to higher education, and it’s the investment of a lifetime to most. This puts the pressure on university creative teams to make their schools stand out from among the crowd with compelling design, imagery and storytelling.

Challenges of the shifting higher education space

Today’s increasingly digital higher education space, which has more online degrees and students who are digital natives than ever before, challenges university creative teams to move beyond the traditional medium of print materials and embrace innovative digital content.

We’re seeing more interactive online content as well as visual storytelling that makes use of imagery and video. The visual component is huge, because prospective students growing up in the digital age expect multimedia experiences that allow them to envision themselves on campus. University creatives are working in a golden age where they can and must break out of the mold with photography, design and video to reach audiences in new ways.

It’s not just the changing nature of work that challenges today’s higher education creative teams (after all, that’s the fun part!). It’s the nitty-gritty details of their day-to-day workflows in response to these growing content demands that can get in the way of unlocking their full creativity.

Students in a street

Creative friction slows down university creative teams

Because visuals are so important to marketing and communications materials across different departments, other departments, such as admissions, athletics, alumni relations and fundraising may request visual assets from the creative team, or teams may collaborate on larger projects such as admissions brochures or alumni magazines.

The last thing most creative teams want to do is field asset requests when they could be working on the materials that bring tangible benefits to their organization. And when team members have to spend so much time looking for images, the creative team tends to just use the assets that are easiest to find, rather than having the option to choose the best asset for the project.

To better streamline creative work, teams must answer these questions: How can creative teams fulfill asset requests in a timely way without letting this aspect of their work overwhelm their ability to create content? How can designers make the most of the team’s full digital asset library, rather than using what’s easiest to find? How can team members eliminate bottlenecks so work flows more smoothly?

view of the campus

How digital asset management helps university creative teams flow more smoothly

Think about how much more energy and time a team can devote to creative projects once finding and accessing assets are no longer bottlenecks. Effective digital asset management (DAM) can help smooth over friction points, allowing teams to unleash their creativity.

Having a centralized hub for all digital assets helps work flow more smoothly by enabling self-service. For example, Furman University uses Canto’s DAM solution as a centralized library for all of their photography. The communications team knows where to find anything they need and can send collection links of imagery to other departments, helping all departments move more quickly.

Once there’s a centralized image library where everyone can find content easily, team members can focus more on how they use the content rather than simply trying to find what content they have – helping to unlock the team’s creative flow.