Having a digital asset management (DAM) solution in place was always on the roadmap for Dia&Co – Grace even recalls DAM being mentioned during her interview three years ago – but the early-stage startup couldn’t justify the financial investment at first.
In the meantime, Dia&Co stored their assets in a combination of hard drives, Dropbox, Google Drive and an internal server. With each shoot resulting in anywhere from 150 to 10,000 raw photos, the creative team’s fast-paced and high volume work meant their asset library outgrew this piecemeal system in just a couple years.
“We were getting to a boiling point trying to store all of these assets as a growing startup. We were shooting a terabyte of assets a quarter and had years and years’ worth of terabytes of assets that we were trying to store in hard drives, and we reached the point where we really needed a DAM,” says Grace.
And it wasn’t just a storage issue; accessing their assets slowed down the entire company.
“We would slow down the Internet for the entire staff by trying to use the internal server. It wasn’t sustainable for us.”
Dia&Co evaluated DAM solutions and chose Canto for its rich functionality and affordable price point.
“Canto was a happy medium between pricing and functionality. The creative team was really satisfied with the service that Canto provided and we didn’t feel like we had to sacrifice what we wanted for the price. Canto had everything we needed, even though it was significantly cheaper than the other options we were exploring,” says Grace.
Today, Dia&Co stores around 300,000 assets in Canto, including brand and design assets, such as logos and fonts, both raw and retouched photography, e-commerce imagery, top-performing video ad campaigns and talent releases.
Grace onboarded the company and decided to set up the library structure in Canto to mirror the way they organized assets previously.
“Each department has a folder. Within the creative team, assets are chronologically organized by year, then by quarters, and inside each quarter we have folders for each shoot. Within each shoot, there is usually a full take folder, a retouched folder and a final selects folder,” says Grace.
A central hub for everyone
Teams across the company love having a centralized location for all their assets. Merchandising uses photos for the website, the marketing team pulls assets from Canto to use in emails and ads, HR uses Canto to grab assets for presentations.
Since Canto is easy to use, team members have taken the initiative to make Canto their own.
“Canto is digestible enough that after 15 minutes of talking through the tool, most employees are empowered to get organized and do their own work in Canto,” says Grace. “I was able to leave it up to the other teams to organize their assets under their department folder in the way that makes sense to them.”
Simplified sharing and collaboration
The creative team plays a central role at Dia&Co by creating assets for the rest of the company. Canto has helped streamline the way the creative team shares assets with other teams, elevating collaboration.
The creative team works with freelance photographers to shoot anywhere from 150 to 10,000 images per shoot. Grace uploads these images into Canto and shares selects with a retouching agency via a Canto portal. Once she gets the finalized, retouched photos back, she sends a Canto link to stakeholders.
Grace loves using Canto’s custom presets for downloading and exporting, which helps her save time from having to adjust each image for other team members’ requirements.
“A lot of our team is using the download and export function and Canto lets them grab images without having to get a designer to crop it in Photoshop. For example, at one time we were making regular blog posts and I set up a header compression preset and a body image preset for the editorial team,” says Grace.
An added bonus? “I think it’s making the team more appreciative of the creative process as a whole by giving them visibility into what we have to do when they ask for a crop, resize or compression,” adds Grace.