When the 2012 Summer Olympics kick off, ProofHQ customer Innocent Drinks will be a refreshing presence as the official smoothie and juice provider for the Games. From a start up in 1999, to an international team of 240 today, the company markets a delicious range of smoothies, veg pots, juices and kids’ drinks. From Fruit Towers HQ in London and in various markets around the globe, 240 people help bring healthy drinks to shops and markets. Customers love the fun, creative packaging almost as much as what’s inside, and indeed, the drink labels are the company’s main branding tool. However, before implementing ProofHQ, managing multiple labels for dozens of products was enough to drive one to drink.
Recently, we had a chance to chat with Delia Alarcon, Innocent Drinks Creative Team Manager, about life before and after using ProofHQ online proofing. Here’s what she told us:
Customer name and role
Delia Alarcon, Creative Team Manager
Customer company and industry
Innocent Drinks, Consumer packaged goods/Nutritional beverages
What types of designs do you proof?
We change packaging quite a lot — about every six months. One important reason is that the amusing labels are our main marketing tool, and customers like that we change them as much as we can. Packaging and labels range from small juice boxes for kids, to smoothie tubes, juice carafes, and smoothie bottles and cartons. We put a lot of effort in to make them interesting and engaging.
Describe your review workflow and who is involved.
Designs change every six months, but each product recipe or version could have a minimum of four different back of packs, where the popular stories appear. So we have a lot of labels per recipe. We work in Illustrator, then upload to proof. The nutritional content doesn’t change, but the stories do, so we need a multi-page PDF for each product proof.
Reviewers include copywriters, designers and an external proof reader who brings a fresh set of eyes to every label. An internal technical team constantly checks the proofs for accuracy in the nutritional information. The production creative assistant manages all files going into ProofHQ and monitors who’s responding and who isn’t. When everything is approved, she keeps track of the final sign offs.
What how did you handle collaboration before?
Before, proofing was done in a very old school way of sending PDF files to each reviewer, who then made comments back by email. The production assistant had to write down all the comments to email back to all the reviewers. Then we also had to make changes, so it involved a lot of paper and potential miscommunication.
What problems did you face with the old way of working?
Because we got so many emails, it was hard to keep track of them. Emails were lost or missed during the manual proofing processes. It could be quite difficult to understand what a reviewer meant by a certain comment. Once, some nutritional value copy was omitted by error. We determined it was not a high risk problem, so we could fix it on the next refresh. Still, it’s not the way you want things to work.
We’re strong on sustainability, and it hurt when we had to print so many label proofs. For small juice bottles, we have 21 labels with different backs of packs and stories, so when you put together the whole juice, bottles and label combination, we’re talking about hundreds of labels. With so many people printing that many to proof them, it’s too much.
How has your workflow changed since using ProofHQ?
I experienced proofing both ways, before and after ProofHQ, and I tell you, it changed my life. We couldn’t do it before because so there were many different stories and people involved. There were mornings I came in worried whether I made changes from that email or that piece of paper. Until the project was finished and print, I sometimes never knew if we get all the changes in. There was no way to track back. Now it’s something anyone can find out immediately.
Every time someone makes an amend at the last minute when we’re about to print, it costs us money. Now we keep all changes in one place and minimize last minute production charges. With ProofHQ, we save in printing, plus it is so helpful as a tool. We spend less energy on proofing and gain more time to have fun with the marketing and be more creative.
How much time has been saved in your overall workflow?
The project schedules haven’t actually changed. We have the same amount of time, but now we have an amazing tool to improve quality and make the process more manageable and less dreadful. ProofHQ gives us extra time so we can get things done better. Before we were always rushing things.
So many more steps go into putting a proof together, but with ProofHQ, you can have it on your screen in two minutes. Reviewers have it all in one place instead of having to print all the pieces. Reviewers and project managers who work from home no longer have to be on the server and wait on slow downloads of the huge files.
How much has your speed to market improved?
With online proofing, we could give reviewers shorter deadlines and forward the links, so people didn’t need be on the server. They can be virtually everywhere, so I think the flow goes more quickly, and amends go faster, so we can cut a lot of time allotted for proofing within the overall schedule.
It has saved us time, although it didn’t change timing. It took the pressure off. Now we can use the same time and do a better job. In the past, we couldn’t have as many labels and stories, which are our marketing tools. Now we can up the number.
What does your team think about using ProofHQ?
As soon as our company started using ProofHQ, we just sent the the team a link to the demo video and the first proof. I told them to give me a shout if they had any questions. No one gave me a call.
The feedback is positive, especially from the technical team, because they always want to check the nutritional copy. It eases their mind to have it all in one place, instead of having to refer back to some piece of paper.