South Carolina’s Furman University is quickly rising in prominence as a best-in-class higher-education institution, and was named one of 2019’s top 50 liberal arts colleges in the U.S. This is thanks in part to “The Furman Advantage,” which provides students with a personalized four-year pathway to success with guaranteed opportunities for internships, study away or mentorship. Furman University Communications is tasked with weaving this story into a narrative that resonates with prospective students, alumni and donors.
Kaylee Welgraven, graphic designer on the creative services team within University Communications, creates compelling visuals to accompany the university’s stories and marketing efforts. Digital asset management (DAM) has been key to helping her and the team work seamlessly together as their growth takes off.
Visuals are key to Furman’s marketing materials. Prospective students want to be able to envision themselves living and learning on campus. The communications team uses photography in all of their initiatives, whether digitally on their beautifully designed website and news releases, or in the print viewbooks and brochures that prospective students receive in the mail.
“With The Furman Advantage, we focus strongly on the academics, but also on the campus experience and mentorship. We try to capture this in our photography,” says Kaylee.
Departments across campus needed to access imagery to tell stories that would inspire prospective students and bring together alumni, without wasting precious time. As the communications team grew, along with their usage of digital assets to complement their storytelling, it became too time-consuming to find assets in a scattered system of local servers, external hard drives, Box folders and discs containing thousands of unorganized photos.
The team chose Canto because the platform scored top marks in meeting the team’s checklist of requirements and struck a perfect balance between functionality and ease of use. While Canto’s search and metadata features meant the team could organize and sort through their thousands of photos easily, the creative team would have no problem navigating the user-friendly platform.
“Canto rose to the top of our list of candidates for its intuitive interface, tagging and searchability, functionality and price point,” says Kaylee.
A central hub for photography
Since the team uses photography for all of their marketing materials and media relations, having a central library helps the team stay organized and in sync. Canto is Furman University’s go-to place to store and access photography, containing all new photos taken since Canto’s implementation as well as useful older assets migrated from their previous systems.
“The visual assets work hand-in-hand with the stories we tell. All of our current materials – both print and digital – utilize photography that was pulled from Canto,” says Kaylee.
Full campus collaboration
Each member of the communications team has a seat in Canto so that they can access photos themselves, and the team sends collection links to other departments on campus and community and media partners. This streamlined process helps all the departments flow more smoothly.
“Across campus, we all have the same goals. Canto helps to bring us all together and work as a team,” says Kaylee.
The communications team works closely with admissions throughout the year, with one of the biggest projects being the annual viewbook. The admissions department sends the viewbook to prospective students each year to showcase the university’s offerings. The heavily visual viewbook requires a lot of photography that the team pulls directly from Canto and share with the admissions team in a matter of minutes, rather than digging through endless folders.
The team organizes their content by category or event, and it’s easy for their in-house photographer to upload images to the right place with Canto’s folder and album structure. Thoroughly adding keywords and tags and enabling facial recognition also helps the team quickly find the right assets.
The Furman communications team shares stunning visuals alongside the inspiring campus stories that convey their impact. With Furman University landing a spot in the Top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges of 2019, the team’s hard work is paying off.
Canto has made a key difference in the team’s content workflows, helping team members find the best imagery to tell impactful stories in less time.
“Our Canto instance is organized and efficient, making locating assets a breeze. It has saved us so much time and provided access to the most current photography, which helps our work – whether print or digital – stand out in a crowd,” says Kaylee.