Creating Design Efficiencies Through Collaboration

Graphic showing the design process

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Jessica Campbell Author Profile

Jessica Campbell

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As a project Coordinator (PC) at AMR Management Services, I work directly with the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research (FNINR) and the National Academies of Practice (NAP). Both associations have annual events that require collateral from the AMR creative services (CS) team: the NAP Annual Meeting and Forum, and the FNINR Annual NightinGala.

When I first started working with these clients on their annual events, I had a live design meeting with the creative services team to establish the look and feel. Once the design was finalized, the CS team was assigned to all the design/collateral related tasks in Basecamp, the project management platform that AMR uses. Each piece of collateral was broken down into several steps, for example:

  • PC: Send content to CS for drafting
  • CS: Create the 1st draft and send to PC for review
  • PC: Review the draft and provide feedback to CS
  • CS: Send the 2nd draft to PC for review
  • PC: Review the 2nd draft and provide feedback to CS
  • CS: Send final draft to PC for review
  • PC: Approve the final draft
  • CS: Finalize the collateral and save to SharePoint

There’s a lot of back and forth for every piece of collateral that needs to be created. During the drafting process, I found myself providing an extensive list of edits to the CS team via Basecamp – mostly because as PC I have the most direct interaction with the client (outside of the Executive Director) and have a good idea of what they want to see. It was also because every PC has their idiosyncrasies that influence the content created and shared with the association’s members.

Project coordinators and creative services team members work with multiple clients as I mentioned – so imagine all this back and forth for several projects and at least two clients at the same time. I kept thinking that there must be a way to streamline the process… so I began asking the CS team member to send the original design files and adjusted the design myself. It seemed to work for us, and it cut out a few of the steps listed above. However, we both felt that the process could be made even more efficient, which brought us to Canva.

If you haven’t worked with it before, Canva is a collaborative tool that allows for real-time editing and feedback on design drafts. I was previously using Canva to create and schedule social media posts for each client so I already had familiarity with the platform and knew it could be a great resource. CS began to set up design templates in Canva, using the client’s brand guidelines to ensure consistency. From there, I could easily make any necessary design and content revisions. This method cut out the need for multiple drafts to be created and reviewed, thereby reducing the need for lengthy revision cycles.

In Canva, users can easily collaborate on designs by sharing editable links or inviting others to work directly within the platform in real time. This feature facilitates teamwork and allows for seamless sharing of files among team members or clients, ensuring everyone has access to the latest version of the design.

We’ve used this process ever since for both of my clients. The materials created still have the polished and professional look from the template but saved us both so much time, both in the creation process and the overall event timeline. A few pieces of collateral that we’ve created through collaboration in Canva include:

Additionally, Canva provides options to export designs in various file formats, making it convenient to download and share the final product across different channels or platforms.

However, Canva isn’t the only tool that can be used for this purpose. It’s what we use because it’s what I’m most familiar with and suits our purposes, but there are alternate programs and platforms with similar functionality. Other options include Adobe Spark, PicMonkey, and Figma.

By utilizing these tools, project coordinators and the creative services team can create a collaborative environment that enhances design efficiencies, improves communication, and ultimately contributes to the overall success of the client event.

Jessica Campbell Author Profile
Jessica Campbell
Project Coordinator

Degrees and Credentials:
B.A in Childhood Studies from Rutgers University & M.S in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum with a PreK – 4 Teaching Certification from Drexel University

Association Management Professional Since:
2019

What inspires you about your work?
I enjoy working with a team to help associations develop their own voice as they grow, thrive, and work towards achieving their goals. I may not be on the front lines effecting change, but I can work from behind the scenes and make a difference in the lives of so many inspiring and passionate people.

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