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Digital Asset Management--Lessons in Asset Architecture

September 1998
BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


Asset management is a field which, in a few years time, the industry might refer to as one that virtually exploded onto the scene and introduced a surplus of young technology providers and tools to a marketplace that was, in many ways, still figuring out exactly what it wanted to do with its digital assets.

There are easily more than 75 asset managers currently positioned firmly in the graphic arts. Some cater specifically to digital assets in a variety of commercial prepress departments, some focus strictly on catalog production, some on manipulation of content in large-scale newspapers and others offer data traffic patterns for editorial management in textbook printing environments, highly automated Web site design and management, and the storage and retrieval of video and still images.

Despite all of the technological nuances of each individual member of the growing field of digital asset managers, a common thread binds all asset managers into one collective mass: Each must function in an overwhelmingly more digital printing environment, each must deliver efficient manipulation of media assets, and each must govern over the repurposing potential of all digital assets in question.

With such a comprehensive and seemingly overwhelming duty, it is no wonder the digital asset management market is about to burst with new players, enhanced tools and interesting collaborations between various companies. Graph Expo 98 next month should prove to be a clear indication of digital content management initiatives to come.

What to Do Now?
Steven A. Mines, president at Mines Press, struggled with that same question. In a typical year, Mines Press processes more than 90,000 orders for approximately 30,000 clients. Most of the company's work is two-color offset printing, although Mines does a tremendous amount of foil stamping and letterpress work as well.

"The work we do is typically of a higher quality and requires more custom design," Mines explains. "Because we do so much custom design and have a high rate of reorders, we prefer to save the images we've created rather than go to the trouble of recreating them each time a client reorders."

It is important to note that Mines Press generates all of its orders—primarily for the independent insurance industry—through direct mail and catalogs. Mines Press has no outside sales force and almost never sees a client face-to-face. Its product line includes stationery; accounting forms; insurance forms; marketing materials such as folders and brochures; calendars; and laminated wallet cards.

 

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