First and foremost, PHLEARN is an amazing content provider via primarily YouTube videos for any and everything having to do with Photoshop tutorials. We’ll definitely do a deep dive on who they are in a later Motivation Monday post but for now definitely, check them out because their videos deliver an immense amount of value! This video is about probably the most under utilized and definitely under appreciated feature of Photoshop and the Adobe Creative Cloud. Ask yourself a question: How much time do you waste digging through the server or your desktop looking for an asset you use over and over again? Wish you could have all of those assets all in one place so you can pull them for every and any project that requires them? I’m talking about logos, graphics, colors, type settings, etc…
You probably waste hours if not days or weeks over the course of the entire year searching for assets that are even just a few clicks away, but in this world of technology changing by the second, you don’t have time for “a few clicks away.” So in essence, Adobe’s creative cloud has a library where you can store assets that you use on a daily basis so that you can have them at your finger tips rather than breaking the creative flow to go find a logo or another piece of creative. The power of libraries lies in a few different areas. There’s a bunch, however, I’m going to focus on two that have helped me and my team in ways that not only saved time for me individually but even in a group setting saving possibly MONTHS of man hours by the end of the year.
The first is as stated above IT SAVES A HUGE AMOUNT OF TIME! I honestly can’t stress this enough. When I was working on print catalogs as my main project for the first 10 years of my career, time was tight but it was largely spent on finessing very fine details so it would remain consistent and eye catching because, surprise, after all of that work, to put a printed piece together, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to print and mail it only for you to get it and immediately throw it away, it had to be eye-catching so you’d live with it for at least 5 minutes. Now, if a web page doesn’t load in 5 seconds and the customer moves on. So working smart by eliminating clicks or mouse drags sounds super micro but believe me it adds up and this feature eliminates the majority of that wasted time, therefore, saving time and headaches for you and money for your company. It’s a win win no matter how you slice it. Example: you want to know what wasted time looks like? There are 32 teams in the NFL with at least three hex code values for their branded team colors. Before I took ONE HOUR to input all of the colors in a library I had to look at a printed piece of paper and MANUALLY type in every single hex code FOR EVERY PROJECT THAT REQUIRED TEAM SPECIFIC COLORS… Now, I make team specific emails with their colors all of the time because I don’t even need to think about keying in the colors.
The second is the fact that once you “collaborate” with fellow creatives, they now have access to the same exact assets as you, which as you know saves time because nobody is guessing as to what the latest logo for instance is and if it’s wrong you open the asset, correct it and then move forward. When I was creating the look for the 2017 NFL Draft there was a LOT of moving parts, especially pieces that had to be updated on the fly. For example, the first round of the draft we put together jerseys for each player drafted for almost every single NFL team with the exception of a few. For context, the jerseys were blank with a #1 on the back. So come draft night me and my counterpart updated the names on the back and over multiple pre-built creative deliverables, the jersey was automatically updated. This process the year before, where I might point out there were at least a half dozen fewer deliverables per team, from just under five minutes to between one to two minutes. Which when you’re trying to monetize on a live event is HUGE! Not only was it highly instrumental for me but it became unbelievably useful when other people within the company also had access to these assets and were using them on their creative as well. The best was when the players got their numbers a few weeks later because I’d, again, go into the asset in my draft library, open it, put the new number in, save and close and again ACROSS ALL PIECES, it updated! Saving me, again, probably countless hours of unnecessary work that photoshop automated for me by watching the 20-minute video above.
I probably could go on for probably 5000 more words about why this is beyond an essential tool in your tool kit as a designer, however, If you haven’t already, watch the video and start working with libraries TODAY! There’s literally no excuse as to why you wouldn’t. Then this is the tricky part: You have to keep your libraries clean and figure out what works for you. I’m currently running into a problem where I’ve been making multiple versions of assets that are just too specific to individual jobs. I now need to go back and simplify the assets down so I can pull them, customize them for the specific job that I’m working on and then keep my library as clean as possible. In conclusion, watch the video, implement libraries into your everyday workflow and work smarter with this killer feature in photoshop!