BEST FOOT FORWARD ADOBE CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORY
Adobe Creative Suite brings “one stop shop” for design and brand building
MEDIUM Footwear was founded with a novel idea in mind: instead of hiring designers, keeping them in the background, and taking their shoe designs to market primarily for the benefit of the company, MEDIUM places independent designers into the limelight. Their names appear on the shoes they design and they share in the profits.
“MEDIUM Footwear is a commercial platform for independent designers that gives them access to lifestyle markets,” explains Scott Milden, founder and CEO of MEDIUM. “Designers generate the great shoe ideas, and then we manufacture the shoes and bring them to market on designers’ behalf.”
Passionate about Footwear
Designers formerly with top shoemakers like Nike®, DC Shoe Company®,and Simple Shoes® formed MEDIUM to make shoes with quality, style, and attention to detail. The company is quickly becoming known for shoes that are a breed apart. “This is footwear by designers, for the design minded,” explains MEDIUM Designer Kevin Milden,“When people think of luxury sneakers, MEDIUM is quickly becoming the only choice.”.
“With the ever-expanding distance between market leaders and the competition, it is our belief that there is only way for a company to compete – at the brand level.” To succeed, superb design and branding are behind everything MEDIUM does. “Brands like Apple, Volkswagen, and Adobe drive customer loyalty, passion, and emotion,” says Scott Milden. “That’s the type of brand we’re building at MEDIUM.”
From designing shoes to creating catalogs and Web sites, MEDIUM designers rely on the Adobe Creative Suite, an integrated suite of software tools that gives MEDIUM a systematic way of expediting, managing, and controlling the creative process. “The scope of the Adobe Creative Suite is amazing,” says Coleman Horn, MEDIUM Chief Design Officer. “It’s really ‘one-stop shopping’ for creativity.”
Adobe Creative Suite Proves Instrumental
The Adobe Creative Suite expedites MEDIUM’s workflow, from initial shoe design to creation of catalogs and Web sites. Designers start by tracing shoe parts using the Bezier tools in Adobe Illustrator CS, an option that combines the precision of CAD software with the intuitiveness of graphic design software.
From there, designers bring drawings into Adobe Photoshop CS to generate realistic shoe renderings, scanning in shoe materials – metal, leather, and ribbon – for accuracy. Once they’ve completed renderings, designers use Photoshop CS to create “color ups.” “Using Photoshop, we can produce 18 color ups in an hour. That would have taken four days in the past using manual processes,” says Horn.
Development Time Cut By Two Thirds
Ready for review, designs are converted to Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) and e-mailed to designers or posted to the Web using Adobe GoLive. With immediate feedback, designers can obtain sign-off in as little as an hour and then e-mail final drawings to the factory in Asia for prototyping.
When MEDIUM’s “Alchemist” shoe prototype arrived from the factory, designers photographed it and used Illustrator CS to draw call-outs on the shoe with instructions on what to change. “We’ve improved communication with our manufacturers,” says Horn. “To take a shoe from drawing to finished in a week – that’s amazing.”
Kevin Milden concurs: “With the Adobe Creative Suite, we have cut the time it takes to develop shoes by two-thirds.”
To Market with InDesign CS and GoLive CS
When the production-ready Alchemist arrived, MEDIUM took photos onsite. Using Actions in Photoshop CS, MEDIUM quickly output low-resolution images of footwear for Web sites and high-resolution versions for print pieces.
Kevin Milden swears by GoLive CS for creating and updating the MEDIUM Web site because it’s intuitive and tightly integrated with the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite. “I love having the Adobe interface on a Web development application,” he says.
For print marketing materials, ranging from 60-page product catalogs to shoeboxes, MEDIUM relies on Senior Designer Tu Pham. “Adobe Creative Suite allows me to be creative in a million ways and work efficiently,” says Pham. “The smooth integration between Illustrator CS, Photoshop CS, and InDesign CS is crucial because I’m always working in all three at the same time.”
Pham can place native Photoshop CS files into InDesign CS – where layers remain intact – and, after working on an image, click back to Photoshop CS for an updated image. Pham initially switched from QuarkXPress due to InDesign software’s ability to generate Adobe PDF files quickly for sending ads to publications and for interim design reviews and proofs. Using Adobe Acrobat, designers can use markup tools to make comments and send them back to Pham.
Clean and Sophisticated Design
As a designer who is passionate about typography, Pham loves high-end typographical controls such as advanced kerning in InDesign CS to help her make designs cleaner and more sophisticated. And, when she’s finished with a design, there’s less worry that errors will occur because she can preflight and package files right within InDesign CS.
For Pham, the biggest benefit is the ability to spend more time designing. “The Adobe Creative Suite and Adobe InDesign CS let me think purely about design, instead of about my computer,” she says. “I believe so strongly in the positive effects of the Adobe Creative Suite on my workflow that using it is a prerequisite for all my vendors.”
Adobe Start to Finish
Though each has a distinct style, MEDIUM designers are single-minded when it comes to Adobe Creative Suite. “The Adobe Creative Suite gives us more ‘front time’ for design, and allows us to translate our visions quickly and efficiently into final products—shoes, catalogs, Web sites—and communicate better and faster with vendors,” says Horn.
For MEDIUM, the Adobe Creative Suite is pivotal for both design and brand-building, as productively and efficiently as possible. Concludes Scott Milden, “The importance of the Adobe Creative Suite for a small business like ours is incredible—it really can’t be overstated.”
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