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Customer spotlight: Social Envi

Social Envi logoSocial Envi is an LA-based social media marketing firm. The company’s Creative Director, Byong Bark, told us how they convince clients that social media is not about selling and how Hightail Spaces offers a new way of collaborating.

We believe that social media marketing can be done better
Social Envi was formed five years ago when some of us who had worked at MySpace came together after it fell apart. We thought things could be done differently – that brands should be using social media a lot better than they were. Social media marketing is very different from traditional marketing or direct sales. It’s less about selling things online and more about engaging with people and making your brand part of their life.

Spray bottle for Tapatio

Spray bottle concept for Tapatio

Convincing clients is the biggest battle we fight
Some clients don’t get social media. They were brought up in a world of direct sales so they’re not familiar with the idea of engaging customers by having conversations and entertaining them. For us, social media is a way to have our client’s brand present in someone’s daily life without selling anything immediately. But when that person eventually wants what our client offers, that brand will be foremost in their minds.

Metrics are important but not everyone understands them
Clients often wonder what high engagement really means or question the value of having people visit their page. We remind them that each number represents eyeballs on their brand. Talking to customers on social media is like having people come into a store. When that happens, you engage with them and you talk to them. On social media this means creating content that is funny, interesting or compelling. That’s how you create fans, gain new customers and build your brand.

Byong Bark - Creative Director at Social EnviSocial media felt like a perfect fit for me
I started off as a freelance photographer, artist and designer before I fell into marketing through a friend of mine. I liked it but it was when I got into social media that I felt like all the skillsets I’d accumulated in my life, from photography and writing to engaging with people, were applicable. I’m a very social person so being able to use that component online has been a huge boon.

Smaller brands usually allow you more freedom
Most agencies want a big-name brand, a multi-billion dollar company. We’re not really focused on massive clients because they’re generally not as interesting or fun. Our bread and butter are small-to-medium sized businesses. They don’t confine us, so we’re free to do what we do best. Sometimes these companies have no clear brand identity, so we get to help with designing a new one or establishing guidelines for the existing brand, which is always interesting.

Social Envi promo for Belkin

Social Envi promo for Belkin

We have massive brainstorm sessions
Once we’ve established what the client needs and have agreed on a strategy, we sit in a room just yelling things out. Everyone gets involved regardless of official roles because you never know who will come up with an idea that no one else would have thought of. Once we have an idea that sounds great, it’ll go into production.

Spaces fits nicely into our process
We initially used Hightail to share files with our clients. But after opting in to the Spaces beta, it’s become a critical part of our workflow. We upload Photoshop files and design images to a Space the tag our client’s Art Director so they can ensure everything fits with their brand. They’ll go in and add notes without us having to get on the phone or send emails. It’s a seamless process and the user experience is really visual and easy to use.

Social Envi Space for Sharky's Woodfired Grill

Using direct feedback ensures nothing is lost in translation
We used to have a process where a project manager would take notes from the client and pass the feedback on to our design team. But a non-designer can miss subtle points, so it’s great that with Hightail’s inline commenting, we now get the Art Director’s immediate thoughts. Hightail provides a direct line to our design team but still keeps our project manager in the loop.

We save so much time and energy not writing emails
Our projects have lots of moving parts managed by different people. With our bigger clients, we could have one person in charge of the campaign calendar, another on content, plus a project manager. The project manager would have to ask each of these individuals to email the various assets and information so they can save it all in a folder. Now everything just goes in a Space. It’s one funnel and all you have to do is share the link. What used to take an hour now happens in a matter of minutes.

Social Envi Space for Sharky's Woodfired Grill

Spaces gives us a complete sense of transparency
Everyone can find out what’s going on in any project by looking at the content and conversations in a Space. If a project manager is wondering why a piece of content isn’t ready, they can see from the comment thread that the designer is still working on it and understand why it’s taking longer than expected. Previously, it required a conversation that may interrupt the designer’s flow, but now that doesn’t need to happen. This heightened visibility also helps keeps everyone on their toes. If your work is late, everyone knows it.

No one here wants to work long hours
A lot of us have done time at the big corporate agencies and realized that clocking in and all-nighters were not for us. At Social Envi, you can come and go as you please, as long as you’re getting your work done. Don’t get me wrong – we’re still really busy, so any way to make things easier and faster is great. If we can all get out of the office by 4PM we’re happy. Spaces helps with that – it’s a real time saver.

To learn more about Social Envi, visit or follow them on Twitter. Try Hightail Spaces for free at

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Friday’s favorite things: October 2nd

Every Friday we round up some of our favorite finds on the web, from illustrations and videos to fonts and photography.

This week, we focused on Manchester Moleskine, a project developed by UK creatives, Jon Massey and Adam Stanway, that involves sending a 104-page Moleskine notebook to 52 different creative professionals based in their home city of Manchester. What each person or business does with their double-page spread is up to them but the results are usually fantastic.

Jon and Adam were kind enough to share some of their fantastic images with us and below are some highlights. When completed, the notebook will be auctioned off for charity. Find out more here or follow the project on Twitter.

Quality street
Illustrator Will Berry filled the very first pages of the Moleskine notebook and set the bar incredibly high with this stunning street scene sketch.

Will Berry sketch for Manchester Moleskine

Empire state doodling
Digital agency, We Are Empire, turned their pages into a collaborative affair, with multiple doodlers working at the same time on this fun image. They also captured their efforts in a stop-motion video.

We Are Empire sketch for Manchester Moleskine

Code read
Dan Hett is a cutting edge creative programmer who does some mind-blowing things with code. Like The Scribbler, a giant pencil that will write messages sent to it via Twitter. Dan’s contribution to Manchester Moleskine was to share the code that you can use to create a scribbling machine of your own.

Dan Hett contribution to Manchester Moleskine

What did you see this week that grabbed your attention? Feel free to share your favorite finds in the comments section below.

If you like this:
Check out more of our Friday’s favorite things.
Follow us on Twitter to see more great creative work.

Creative collaboration tips from 10 top professionals

Creative collaboration is the pathway to great work. It is the process by which designers, filmmakers, photographers, illustrators, writers and other creatives work with each other and their clients, marketing managers and others. It’s how all these stakeholders work together to take a project from concept to completion, via multiple rounds of iteration and feedback.

Like any process, how successful a project that involves creative collaboration is depends on how you do it. That’s why we asked a range of professionals from architects, design firms and branding agencies to share their collaborations tips for improving the creative process and creating better work.

Snask logoTalk. Sounds easy? Well surprisingly few know how to do this properly. Stop playing games and using facades. Be yourself, down to earth and talk to each other as you would talk to your family, friends and pets.

Fredrik Öst – Founder / Creative Director @ Snask

STUDIOS Architecture designs for who our clients want to be, not who they are now. This means delving into their goals to see what the next 10 years look like.

Barton Bland – Associate Principal @ STUDIOS Architecture

Joel Anderson of Anderson Design GroupDon’t be a control freak. Anderson Design Group’s best success stories happen when I cast a vision and then allow everyone involved to claim ownership of the process and the finished product. If we trust and respect each other, we can leave our pride at the door and push each other toward excellence.

Joel Anderson – CEO / Founder @ Anderson Design Group

Don’t be afraid to argue, collaborating is like a relationship. If it is meant to work debating will bring you closer together and instantly get rid of any weird rifts. Keeping opinions bottled up doesn’t end well. Always be open!

Jon Massey – Designer @ BBC / Co-founder of Manchester Moleskine

Fuel company logoWhen I have clients that want to “fill up that blank space” on a website or print ad, I find the ‘shop window’ analogy always works well. I ask them to consider what type of shop window gives them the impression of a high-end store? The one crammed with products, prices and SALE signs or the well-designed display with fewer products and plenty of space?

Neil Creagh – Founder @ Fuel

“Some clients don’t understand that creating something is a process. They’ll see an early version and say “that’s great”, but that’s not helpful. Sometimes you need to force them to be critical and understand that taking a piece of work apart is essential to the process.”

Chris Basey – Co-Founder / Director of UX @ Comedia Design

Social Envi logoGood collaboration is like dating. You have to listen well, be a better communicator and a little bit of a mind-reader.

Byong Bark – Creative Director @ Social Envi

Graphic designer Milton Glaser was once asked what he looks for in a potential employee and he said: definitely not the work. He believes that you can teach anyone the skills you’re looking for but not how to have a personality that clicks. We love this sentiment. Someone we know we can collaborate well with is more important to us than someone with the right experience.

Anna Fidalgo Kelly – Co-Founder @ Crispin Finn

Ben Sanders reading I've an Uncle IvanAsk questions but don’t hassle the client. That means being smart about the questions you ask. Always ask for feedback, and demonstrate how keen you are for client input. It shows you’re not precious or afraid to collaborate.

Ben Sanders – Illustrator / Designer

If you don’t like something, it’s your job to say no. Whether you’re an employee, a contractor or a vendor, you’re there because of your expertise.

Ken Yang – Co-Founder / Director of Product @ Comedia Design

Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts with us. If you’ve got an interesting creative collaboration tip or story, we’d love to hear it. Share it in the comments below.

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Friday’s favorite things: September 25th

Every Friday we round up some of our favorite finds on the web, from illustrations and videos to fonts and photography. This week, we welcome in the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness with a gorgeous selection of fall colors.

Don’t fall in
The beauty of this photograph by LA-based fine art photographer, Jessica Drossin, is that she captures fall colors without having that many leaves in shot. Instead, everything else in the image, from the raincoat to the evening light, radiates with the colors of the season.

Children 33 by Jessica Drossin


That’s fall folks
Many of the emails we send to Hightail customers feature custom-created images by our illustrator, Luke Bott. Over the year, we’ve been updating a simple landscape scene to reflect the seasons and we celebrated the onset of fall with this week’s deal.

Fall illustration by Luke Bott


Autumn in New York
While most photographers visit small towns and countryside to capture fall colors at their most magnificent, French-born photographer Mathias Berenger shows that New York City offers its own unique take on the season.

Fall Colours by Mathias Berenger


What did you see this week that grabbed your attention? Feel free to share your favorite finds in the comments section below.

If you like this:
Check out more of our Friday’s favorite things.
Follow us on Twitter to see more great creative work.

Highlights from our FIFA 16 tournament

Last night, Hightail celebrated the launch earlier that day of the latest release of EA Sport’s FIFA video game series with a FIFA 16 tournament at our office in Campbell. 32 players from across the Bay Area (and Fresno) took part in a contest of skill, agility and thumb dexterity in a bid to win the grand prize…glory (and an Xbox One).

Thanks to everyone who came along and congratulations to Arman, who emerged as the victor from this mother of all battles and took home a brand new Xbox. Also big thanks to Lindsey Robinson for her organization skills, plus everyone else who helped out.

Here are some highlights from the event.

Hightail’s FIFA 16 tournament Hightail’s FIFA 16 tournament


Hightail’s FIFA 16 tournament


Hightail’s FIFA 16 tournament

Ranjith explains the rules

Hightail’s FIFA 16 tournament Hightail’s FIFA 16 tournament


Hightail’s FIFA 16 tournament

Let battle commence

Hightail’s FIFA 16 tournament




Hightail’s FIFA 16 tournament




Hightail’s FIFA 16 tournament

Not sure that pizza is part of a soccer player’s recommended diet, Mike Trigg.

Hightail’s FIFA 16 tournament

Tournament winner, Arman, receives his Xbox One from Ranjith.

Hightail’s FIFA 16 tournament Hightail FIFA 16

Thanks for coming along. See you next time.

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Friday’s favorite things: September 18th

Every Friday we round up some of our favorite finds on the web, from illustrations and videos to fonts and photography. This week, you’ll find us in the club.

Shakin’ not stirred
Our selection of DJ mixes was inspired by Hightail’s own resident DJ, Roger Mendoza. When he’s not helping educate our users and solve their issues as a Customer Support Rep, Roger gets behind the decks and, as Roger Moorehouse, unleashes a sublime selection of house tunes, like this lush mix.

Shakin' Not Stirred mix by Roger Moorehouse


On his Twitter profile, Marc MacLeod describes himself as a “reformed VC and seasoned CFO” before adding another initialism, DJ. It’s an unusual combination but MacLeod shows that he’s got the skills to pay the bills on this so money tech house mix.

Deepcast mix by Marc MacLeod

Bunker beats
The Bunker is a Brooklyn-based club night that explores a range of dancefloor genres far beyond the day-glo drop beats of EDM. If you can’t make it to one of the twice-monthly events, the regular podcast is a great place to get a taste, like this deep, dark techno mix by Clay Wilson.

The Bunker podcast mix by Clay Wilson

What did you hear this week that grabbed your attention? Feel free to share your favorite finds in the comments section below.

If you like this:
Check out more of our Friday’s favorite things.
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Customer spotlight: Saint West Filmworks

Saint West Filmworks logoSaint West Filmworks is an award-winning San Diego-based video production company. Co-founder Matt Jensen discusses capturing authentic voices, remaining flexible and transforming their creative process with Hightail Spaces.

It’s a young company but we’re not new to this
Saint West was started about three months ago but before that we were all part of a video production studio called FortyOneTwenty. Matt Mangham and I founded that company in 2007 and last year we sold it to a San Diego-based creative agency. They’re still operating the FortyOneTwenty brand, while Scott Rieckens, Matt and I went on to found Saint West Filmworks earlier this year. So we’ve actually been around a while.

The creative scene in San Diego is small but growing
The city has a very vibrant art and music community, which helps fuel our inspiration and connect us with talented folks. We’ve also got some great creative agencies in town that are growing quickly. It’s an exciting time to be a creative here. We love working in our own backyard but I would say that about half of our clients are outside San Diego. We’re so close to LA that we get a lot of spillover. It’s great to be within the sphere of LA…without having to live there.

Our work isn’t focused on any specific niche
We do a little bit of everything, which has led to a pretty diverse client list. We’ve enjoyed working relationships with brands like Ubisoft, Sony and Facebook on the commercial side and networks like NBC and ABC on the TV side. We recently finished up a feature documentary for a client that was about a year and a half in the making.

Saint West Reel 2015 from Saint West on Vimeo.

We mix strong visual aesthetics with authentic storytelling
We try to stay away from scripted or tele-prompted stuff that tends to come off as advertising. We like to go with real stories told by real people as much as possible. Combine that with the very cinematic style of our incredibly talented Director of Photography, Matt Mangham, and you get videos that just draw people in.

Matt Jensen - co-founder of Saint West FilmworksNo one on our staff went to film school
Matt started dabbling with video in college but it wasn’t what he was studying.I went to school for electrical engineering and Scott Rieckens studied journalism and was focusing on social media marketing. I had dabbled with small video projects in high school, but when I met Matt and saw the amazing stuff he was producing as a non-professional, I was inspired. We started teaming up on stuff and next thing you know we’re running a business.

Our process comes from years of asking the same questions
Whenever I’d meet with new clients, I found that I always needed to know the same project details. So when Scott came on board and I was training him on dealing with clients, we decided to put everything down on paper. Now we have a standard questionnaire that covers everything from their product and goals, to project deliverables, budget and details like using actors or voiceover. It’s a great way to start clients thinking about what’s involved in making a video and often helps them clarify what they want.

We’ve casted productions off Craigslist
We’d find people online and bring them into the office for an audition – all non-union because we had no idea how to handle SAG talent. But soon we had clients who wanted talent that fit a specific profile and had to be good actors. We thought, “we’ll never find this on Craigslist” so we hired a casting director, who found exactly what we needed. Then we started working with a location scout, who saved us from driving all over town trying to convince homeowners to let us into their property for a shoot. Bringing in these specialists really elevates our process.

Andy Powers – Taylor Guitars from Saint West on Vimeo.

You do months of planning for a few short days of shooting
Pre-production is all about getting everything lined up, from creative development, scripting and storyboarding to hiring casting directors, location scouts, stylists, set designers, etc. It can be condensed into two weeks or drawn out over months depending on the size of the project. Then all of that work comes together for a handful of intense, focused 10-14 hour days where you actually do the filming. It’s crazy and hectic but we love it.

Another production company introduced us to Hightail Spaces
We had been looking at other options, most of which are by smaller companies. If I’m going to spend time investing in a service and asking my clients to use it then I want to be sure that it’ll be around for the long haul. We were in Portland and one of the guys from the stock footage company, Story & Heart, told us that Hightail had just introduced Spaces. Those guys have a good pulse on what tools are available so we were interested to see how a stable company that’s been around for a while approached the problem.

Saint West using Hightail Spaces 2


Spaces is now a big part of our post-production process
We use it to deliver edits to our clients and get revisions and commentary from them using the inline video feedback tools. It’s easy for them to use, which is very important. For us, interpreting what they’re saying is now much more intuitive. Before Spaces, we’d upload each new edit to Vimeo and use email to collect feedback, which quickly became unmanageable. Our clients would spend hours describing the specific point in the video that they were discussing. And when you have multiple reviewers, you get 30 emails that you have to compile into something usable, instead of the concise list of thoughts that you get with Spaces.

Saint West using Hightail Spaces 1


Everyone commenting in the same place is big
When you can see other people’s comments together, issues get resolved much faster. Clients can go to the exact frame, select the problem area and write a note about it. It’s easy to get everyone on the same page. Being able to add new versions is great because you can go back and view past versions and check the comments to see who said what. With Vimeo, we were uploading a new link every time. On Spaces, all the versions are stacked in the same place so you can track the evolution of a project. It’s one of the features that attracted us in the first place.

Saint West using Hightail Spaces 3


I love that Hightail is attacking collaboration
Being able to use Spaces to highlight something on a video and have a conversation about that particular element is a big deal. So is the fact that you can reference all the comments and the evolution of a video with the versioning feature. And because we deal with a lot of high res video, it’s nice to know that the company providing these features is an established brand.

To learn more about Saint West Filmworks, visit, follow them on Instagram or watch videos at their Vimeo page. Try Spaces for free at

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Pitch your movie idea at the Carmel International Film Festival

Carmel International Film Festival logoHightail is sponsoring a movie pitch contest at the Carmel International Film Festival, which takes place next month, from October 21st-25th.

This year, the festival is expanding its Pitch Program contest with the help of Hightail. Selected filmmakers will have the opportunity to pitch their feature film, documentary or original web content idea to a jury of movie industry specialists in an effort to win the Hightail Award of $5,000. It’s a bit like Shark Tank for filmmakers.

“Through the connections established at last year’s pitch panel, one of our finalists found funding that helped her finish her film,” stated President and Founder, Thomas Burns. “Due to the incredible popularity of Pitch Program, we have opened up submissions to more filmmakers giving them the opportunity to get in front of our panel.”

Carmel International Film Festival Pitch Program panel


This year, 30 filmmakers will be selected for Pitch Program and each will get passes to the Carmel International Film Festival, plus three free months of Hightail’s premium creative collaboration service.

If you have a feature film, documentary or original web content idea, Pitch Program is for you. To submit your film idea and have a chance to win the $5,000 Hightail Award, simply follow these three steps:

1) Sign up for Hightail Spaces for free at

2) Create a Space for your submission and include the following files:
– A Word Doc or PDF with a brief synopsis of the project (under 50 words)
– The status of film (marketing, production, distribution, etc)
– Trailer or promotional video (mov or mp4) optional
– Please do not include financing goals

3) Click the SHARE button to send the unique Spaces link to

The closing date for submissions is September 30th. You can find full details at the Carmel International Film Festival website.

Tell us when you’ve entered by tweeting @HightailHQ using #HTCIFF. Best of luck.

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Eight productivity apps your business should be using

We all want to use the hours of our working day more effectively. But who has time to try out the myriad of productivity apps that could help make you more efficient? To help narrow down your options, we’ve selected eight of the best ways to solve common workplace challenges.

1. Managing projects
Asana is designed to take teamwork out of email and into a shared tool that keeps to-do lists, project workflows and communication in one place. Jennifer Diamond, of news site Mashable, used Asana when working on the company’s digital marketing awards program, The Mashies:

“With Asana, I was easily able to see the big picture, while still managing all of the moving parts, deadlines and deliverables. We couldn’t have executed the first-ever Mashies Awards as well as we did without Asana.”

Asana project management tool


2. Staying in touch
Contactually is a mobile app that helps you get more from your contacts by collecting previous conversations in one place and prompting you to maintain contact at regular intervals. President of educational software startup Edusight, Garros Li used the service to build his company’s sales pipeline:

“Before a meeting, I’d pull up all the context of any previous conversations. In the past, I would have to go in email and try to remember everything about the deal. Contactually brings that all in one spot.”

3. Organizing your time
Rescue Time is a desktop and mobile app that tracks the programs and websites where you spend the most time and provides detailed activity reports. Buster Benson, a Product Manager at Twitter, used Rescue Time to better understand how he worked:

“I’ve become a lot smarter about using my time well, and getting the most meaningful work done that I can.”

4. Collaborating on files
Hightail is a creative collaboration service for sharing illustration, photography, design and video files and collecting precise feedback in a single place. Here’s why Martin Pelham, Manager of Media Services at Oscar-nominated stop-motion animation studio, LAIKA, likes it:

“Hightail lets us stream videos and comment inline so all the feedback is contextual. It solves one of the biggest challenges we face: creative collaboration.”

Hightail Spaces all-comments view


5. Remembering passwords
LastPass remembers all the passwords to your different services and will generate strong new ones. Social media service, Hootsuite uses LastPass to manage passwords for everything from internal servers and devices to SaaS applications. Director of IT, Tanya Miller, describes the effect:

“I sleep better knowing that when an employee is granted access to a device or service via LastPass we are not disclosing login credentials.”

6. Communicating with your team
Slack takes team communication out of individual email siloes and puts it on a single messaging platform that’s searchable and synced with mobile apps. Matt Taylor, a production editor at UK newspaper, The Times of London said:

“Slack has totally removed the need for internal email inside the team. It’s a much more effective way to catch up and keep up.”

7. Creating presentations
Prezi is an online presentation software that allows you to create more interesting, dynamic decks and access them from anywhere. Chris Anderson, CEO of thought leadership conference organizers, TED, sums up the service:

“Prezi is helping reinvent the art of the presentation.”

Infogram sample infographic8. Visualizing data is a data visualization tool that lets you quickly and easily create infographics for presentations or social media posts. Martin Bryant, Editor-in-Chief at tech news publication The Next Web, is a fan:

“When we need to explain data in a visually appealing way, lets us quickly create a custom, branded chart or infographic.”

Those are eight digital tools that can change how you work and make your business more productive. We’d love to hear your productivity app suggestions in the comments below.

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Connect Spaces to Hightail

Connect Hightail folders to Hightail Spaces


Our latest release of Hightail Spaces is a big one for existing Hightail users. Now when you’re logged in to, you can access Spaces directly from the main navigation bar and sign in using your Hightail username and password. You will also be able to upload files to Spaces directly from your existing Hightail folders.

Together, Spaces and Hightail form a complete solution to many of the problems associated with creative collaboration. After all, collaboration usually starts with the kind of file you store and share with Hightail. Now, the next step in the creative process – feedback – is part of Hightail and not an epic series of emails jamming up your inbox.

If you want to try Hightail Spaces, just log in to and select the Spaces tab at the top of the page. Current Hightail Professional plan users will get a Spaces Pro paid account automatically at no extra cost.

We’d love to know what you think, so feel free to leave your feedback here or in the comments below.

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Feedback on the fly with Spaces

Feedback on the fly with Spaces

Hightail Spaces mobile app for iOS and Android

We’re excited to announce that the Hightail Spaces mobile app is available for your iPhone and Android.

Now, when you’re out of the office, you’ll still be able to review files on Spaces and leave comments using your smartphone. And if you capture some inspirational video or take a photo of your latest whiteboard session, you’ve now got a simple way to upload it to a Space and share it with your team.

So get out there and start exploring – just download the free new Hightail Spaces app for iOS or Android first.

Hightail Spaces mobile app for iPhone


Hightail Spaces mobile app for Android


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Friday’s favorite things: September 11th

Every Friday we round up some of our favorite finds on the web, from illustrations and videos to fonts and photography. This week, we’ve been checking out interesting new advertising campaigns.

Conversion rates
The Rugby World Cup kicks off next week and it was great to see one of the tournament’s official sponsors do something different. This smart campaign by Irish agency, Rothco is based around the coin toss at the start of every game.

Heineken Rugby World Cup campaign by Rothco

Auto-tune the ads
Budget department store, Big Lots stands out from the competition with this funny, music-based commercial by Ad Agency’s 2015 Small Agency of the Year, O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul.

Big Lots commercial by OKRP


Dancing with the cars
Honda remains the bar-raiser for car advertising with another great commercial by the UK branch of global agency McGarry Bowen. Check out that choreography.

Honda commercial by McGarry Bowen


What did you see this week that grabbed your attention? Feel free to share your favorite finds in the comments section below.

If you like this:
Check out more of our Friday’s favorite things.
Follow us on Twitter to see more great creative work.

Tool tips with Roger Mendoza

Roger MendozaTool tips is a regular series where Hightail employees share their life’s most essential apps, online services and websites. Next up is Customer Support Rep, Roger Mendoza.

Working tools
We use a variety of tools on our team to assist our customers, but I would say one of the main tools I use is Zendesk. Not only do I use it to keep in touch with our customers, I also work on designing the Hightail support website. Our team is constantly working to keep our knowledge base updated with FAQs, trouble-shooting steps and training videos.

I have been DJing for 20 years now, so I am always looking for new tools to help promote my music and events. I recently came across, which allows me to upload my music, track how many people are listening and gives me some really nice promotion tools.

General resources
I finally gave in to the recommendations from friends on joining Pinterest. And to my surprise I am hooked! As a new father-to-be, I have found it an amazing resource to prepare for our new baby. Besides the baby stuff, it has sparked a new interest in cooking and has given me tons of inspiration for my design projects.

For more Roger, follow him or Twitter or check out his tunes on

If you like this, find more tool tips here.

Customer spotlight: HistoryNet

HistoryNet logoHistoryNet is the publisher of nine venerable history-themed magazines and the website. Art director, Brian Walker spoke with us about how Hightail Spaces is helping the company redesign all nine of its magazines.

HistoryNet is a collection of nine magazines
Our special interest publications are each aimed to appeal to readers of specific historical interests. They are: American History, America’s Civil War, Aviation History, Civil War Times, Military History, MHQ: the Quarterly Journal of Military History, Vietnam, Wild West and World War II. While we are subscriber driven, we also derive significant revenue from newsstand sales.

HistoryNet magazinesAn investment firm recently acquired the magazines
When Weider History Group was sold to LA-based investors, Regent Equity, in addition to rebranding the company as HistoryNet, the new owners brought in a Los Angeles-based creative director to redesign and overhaul the visual style of all our titles.

I’m the point person for the redesign
With the editorial and production team based in Leesburg, VA, I became the main contact for helping the creative director implement his vision. I’m his eyes and ears on the ground and I help ensure all the other art directors understand what he wants. I also work as the art director on Military History.

Each art director is responsible their magazine’s layout
All the magazines are bi-monthly except the quarterly journal, MHQ. There are typically five or six features in each magazine, which can be 6-10 pages long. Add to that 10-12 pages of recurring departments for each title and that’s a lot of layouts.

We started using Hightail Spaces for the redesign work
We now share every layout with the creative director in LA on Hightail Spaces, rather than constantly jumping on conferences calls or sending emails. It’s much easier to share visual files like magazine layouts. The images are crisp and color accurate versions of the pages, you can download them and everyone can leave comments.

HistoryNet layout on Hightail Spaces

Leaving feedback on Hightail Spaces is better than email
We used to send around PDFs of the layouts by email and it was nightmarish trying to track all the comments. You have to remember who said what and sort through your emails when you want to go back and find a comment. It’s just not feasible when you’re collecting feedback from a large number of people. In Hightail Spaces, the comments are all in one place. If you want to track the history of changes, you can find all the relevant feedback right there on each layout.

Covers always generate a lot of conversation
Magazine covers are critical to newsstand sales, so there’s usually a lot of back-and-forth about the image to use, crop, color of type, sizing, etc. When Wild West decided to put Billy the Kid on the cover, we posted a variety of illustrations, paintings and stock photography on a Space and used the comments to reach a decision on the final cover image. Even the copy gets picked apart on Spaces. When we upload a final cover design, the editorial team runs a fine-tooth comb over each headline.

Hightail Spaces is open to everyone at the firm
Usually it’s the editor and art director of a title, plus the managing editor, creative director and the publisher leaving feedback on specific layouts. However, with each Space open to everybody, many others can view the layouts and weigh in, which is especially useful for the art directors and editors. Our CEO even keeps in the loop using Spaces, so he can see that we’re making progress and leave his comments.

HistoryNet magazine layout on Hightail Spaces

Each Space is like a mini-forum
Hightail brings everyone and their opinions together. Not only is it a seamless and easy way to share visuals, everyone can comment in a single spot, so someone doesn’t have to manage all that feedback. It also creates a digital paper trail that you can refer back to later, which is something you don’t get with a conference call or in-person meeting.

We use visual versions to replace old files
We’ll post numerous versions of a layout and Spaces ensures that you always see the latest version. But you can always go back and look at previous versions and past commentary, in case you need to know why something changed or who suggested an idea. That instantly accessible electronic paper trail is really useful.

HistoryNet magazine layout on Hightail Spaces 2

Hightail Spaces is now a critical part of our process
We used to work as one team under the same roof in our Leesburg office. When the way we worked changed with the addition of the LA-based creative director and publishers, Hightail Spaces has proved to be a much-needed solution. Instead of wasting time attempting creative collaboration via conferences calls and email, Hightail Spaces, with its crisp visuals and tools for real-time exchange of ideas and comments, has helped us implement a new creative direction seamlessly.

To learn more about HistoryNet and its magazines, visit Try Hightail Spaces for free at

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Friday’s favorite things: September 4th

Every Friday we round up some of our favorite finds on the web, from illustrations and videos to fonts and photography. This week, we’ve been looking at the story behind some great magazine covers.

The ascent of mag
How magazine covers have evolved over the years offers a fascinating insight into changing social attitudes. This excellent post by bloggers Karen X. Cheng and Jerry Gabra charts the development of magazine like Cosmopolitan, Vogue, TIME and The New Yorker.

Evolution of magazine covers by Karen X. Cheng


Crafty covers
Swedish design agency, Snask handcrafted this recent cover for The Washington Post magazine. Read this article for the full story of the painstaking work that went into its remarkable creation.

Washington Post magazine cover by Snask

Takes all types
UK design duo, Crispin Finn went type-tastic on this recent cover design for Wired magazine, surrounding actress Rashida Jones with a variety of playful typefaces.


What did you see this week that grabbed your attention? Feel free to share your favorite finds in the comments section below.

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