Just Their Type
McCann-Erickson New York gets creative with Web-based typographic asset management.
For many ad agencies, the World Wide Web has been a cash cow, thanks to the revenue gush generated from dot-com clients in 1999 and 2000.
However, the savviest agencies aren't just milking Internet start-ups, they're capitalizing on Web-based technologies to improve their own operations. So, even if billings from dot-com campaigns dry up, forward-thinking advertising firms will continue to pump the Web for increased productivity and profits.
McCann-Erickson is one agency that's making the most of online opportunities. Presently, McCann-Erickson's New York City office employs the Web as a creative resource and workflow tool. "We've been thinking about what directions we can go in with Web-based applications," remarks Brad Mintz, vice president of graphic services.
Mintz and his team have been working on several e-projects designed to boost staff productivity and facilitate creativity. One such project is a Web-based typographic asset management system, which went live in August at the New York City studio.
Before developing the new system, the agency followed the common practice of printing type books that cataloged all of McCann's fonts. Members of the creative staff referred to the books to select fonts for design jobs.
The books were serviceable, but not ideal. "We would run out of type books or we'd make a change to our font library, then have to print up hundreds of new copies," Mintz relates. "After choosing a font from the book, the person would have to log on to the server, navigate through folders, find the font and drag it onto a hard drive."
A fontastic idea
So what could the agency do to improve the status quo? Mintz proposed developing an online type book, which would allow the creative staff to access an up-to-the-minute font listing, as well as the actual fonts, quickly and easily. The solution would also streamline font management.