How Atlantic Records Continues its Passion for Artist Development and Design with Creative Cloud Libraries
Atlantic Records has more than 70 years of recording music history and a wide variety of artists and music genres to manage and promote. With an ever growing number of digital platforms, how music fans consume and interact with content has changed and evolved. Being able to give fans the content how they want it and when they want it has become increasingly important for the recording industry.
Establishing consistent creative asset libraries into a reusable system has been the key for Atlantic Records to maintain the relationship between artists and fans. That’s why Atlantic has turned to Adobe Creative Cloud to create content using Creative Cloud Libraries, which are accessible and shareable by all their favorite applications (like Photoshop, Illustrator, XD, and InDesign, all of which are used by Atlantic team members) to help them stay on top of an ever growing amount of content for its many distribution channels. Creative Cloud Libraries’ integration with the Creative Cloud ecosystem allows design and marketing teams to collect, organize, use, and share assets across projects, devices, and teams, has been the key to ensuring this design system is and remains successful.
Digital trends in the music industry
Senior Manager, Dana Tandoi recently marked her sixth year as an interactive designer at Atlantic Records. The role of digital content and its relationship with artist fans has changed over the years, she has seen a migration from multiple page websites which included fan clubs, photos, music, videos, etc., to one-pagers with social media integration and shareable content. “While fans are coming to ‘artist.com’ for official information about tour dates, release information and merchandise, artists now share their additional content on social media. This allows us to focus artist.com on that official information that can be quickly updated when a new single/tour is announced.” notes Dana.
How music fans consume digital content has changed, and responding to new consumer habits has required a change in how content is created and distributed; artist content is now mobile and social. “We have also moved towards one-pagers because it is similar to scrolling on your phone,” she said. “Well over half of the fans coming to our websites are on mobile and they have certain expectations for how a site should act. We want our sites to meet those expectations while still being a branded/unique experience.” By using Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries, Atlantic Records is not only allowing creative teams to work more efficiently and meet fan expectations, it is also allowing label artists to take control of their creative vision.
Creative Cloud Libraries as a system of creative elements
“All the digital designers at Atlantic Records uses Creative Cloud Libraries differently,” notes Dana, “but we all have one collaborative library. This is our Asset Locker, which contains all of our templates and common assets for quick, easy reference. The majority of the work we do has a really tight deadline, so having one centralized location is vital.”
The designers at Atlantic Records work with a variety of different artists, creating a large quantity of digital assets for every artist through various projects that they manage with Creative Cloud Libraries. The design team needs to be nimble and respond to artist needs quicker than ever with seamless, on-demand distribution. On any given day the Atlantic Records design team can be working on a pop-star (Kelly Clarkson, Charlie Puth), band (Twenty One Pilots, A R I Z O N A), urban act (Trey Songz, Kevin Gates), singer songwriter (Josie Dunne, Alec Benjamin), EDM group (Galantis), and everything in-between. “With so many visual identities.” said Dana, “I turn to Creative Cloud Libraries to manage my artists’ assets for a quick turn-around.”
Every project starts with the asset locker. Dana will look for the appropriate template and load it into her file. From there, her individual workflow separates from the workflows of other team members. “I create and manage a different library for each of my artists,” explains Dana. “Whenever I receive a new piece of single/ep/album artwork, tour art, press photos or logos, I break it apart and load it in the appropriate artist library in its own group.”
“If A R I Z O N A has a new single coming out and we need to make social skins (the banner you will see at the top of their profiles on Twitter or Youtube), I will load all their single assets (logo, single title, background) into a group in their library.” said Dana. She then uses a template from the asset locker to make each social skin. “The A R I Z O N A library is special because one of the members of the band designs all their artwork, so I have set it up to be collaborative with him.” she added. The same assets I used for their socials will later be used to update their website, email template, promotional graphics & any unique web experience for the rollout.
UX workflow and communication
One of the problems facing Atlantic Record’s design workflow has historically been the sharing of assets. Previously, all designers created and maintained their own templates, and sometimes a designer would not be aware that a template size had changed (e.g., a new Twitter layout that caused the Twitter header dimensions to shift) and their designs would not work once uploaded to the social network. By using Creative Cloud Libraries, managing changes and version control to design specifications and requirements has become easier and more efficient for the creative team, as collaborative or shared libraries are automatically synced and update notifications are sent to everyone on the design team.
“Since we are all using the same templates now, we communicate if we notice a change in them, so we can all work with proper templates,” said Dana. “Creative Cloud Libraries have brought speed, consistency, and branding to our design team.”
The digital media team at Atlantic Records is responsible for managing the branding for a wide variety of artists of recording artists. Each artist has their own brand image that needs to be maintained and supported. “Using my individual artist libraries has allowed me to be consistent with the artist brand — whether I’m making social (media) skins, splash pages, or websites,” said Dana. “I don’t need to go search for a font; it is in my library and it is styled at the same weight as a previous asset for the artist.”
Creative Cloud Libraries allows Dana to share creative elements (font styles and assets) collaboratively with the design team. Updates to library assets synchronize automatically, and to meet content demands and artist needs, these updates reach everyone who’s working on projects.
Digital Product development and collaboration
Since the music business is such a fast-paced industry, the Atlantic Records team has been using Creative Cloud Libraries to enable them to work even faster (without compromising the quality of the work). This is especially useful, as the music industry requires product development on multiple platforms and record labels are often tasked with creating new experiences to engage the artist’s fanbase.
To facilitate this, Atlantic recording artists are brought in early in the process to meet and work with the art department to create original artwork for the various promotional materials and digital platforms. The art department is responsible for designing singles, EPs, album covers, tour admats (banner ads) and artist/band logo artwork.
“Once the artist has signed off on the final design, it is forwarded to the digital design team. We take that art and rearrange it for all aspects of the internet,” explained Dana. “The artist then has final approval over the new internet assets that we create.”
At Atlantic, using Creative Cloud Libraries is helping teams make complex design decisions and facilitates collaboration for continued product development in the fast paced and ever changing music industry. It’s a mission they are incredibly passionate about; after all, music creates an emotional connection and is a part of our daily lives. Giving fans the digital content they want when they want it will always be a challenge for design teams, but Creative Cloud Libraries gives Atlantic Records the means to design great digital fan experiences efficiently and consistently, so more people can enjoy what matters most: the music.