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Friday’s favorite things: May 22nd

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

Park that phone
Ad guys Fernando Barbella and Christiano Neves got tired of other people being distracted in meetings by their mobile phones and so came up with this fun solution. You can download a mobile parking lot from here and start having more productive meetings again.

Mobile phone parking lot

 

Go dancers
Filmmaker Michel Gondry has worked his pop promo magic once again with this brilliant video for a new track by UK dance music duo The Chemical Brothers. Go features A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip on vocals and is a hip-shakin’ hit, but the accompanying video involving seven dancers and two poles (no, not that kind of pole dancer) is a masterpiece of synchronicity.

 

Projected sails
Vivid Sydney is a unique festival of lights, music and ideas currently being held in the Australian city. As part of a huge array of events and installations, UK-based design collective Universal Everything is projecting gorgeous animations and illustrations, like this, on the sails of Sydney’s world famous Opera House.

Opera House projections

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

Meet the Hightail Spaces testers

In the months prior to yesterday’s official release of Hightail Spaces, we tested the product with a small group of creative professionals, including filmmakers, designers, publishers and more. Though we had our own ideas about how our product could solve the challenges people faced when engaged in creative collaboration, we wanted to see how those theories stacked up in the real world.

Let’s meet a few of our testers and see how their creative workflow benefited from Hightail Spaces.

Cinema Mercantile logoThe filmmaker

Mike Collins is a director and cinematographer at Cinema Mercantile Motion Pictures, a collective of filmmakers that celebrates small, independent, craft-based businesses. Having used Hightail to share large video files with remote editors, we asked Mike to try Spaces. He was impressed with the results, saying:

“With the added functionality of being able to upload, view and, most importantly, comment on video, Hightail Spaces has become the newest tool in my utility belt.”

He’s even recommended us to his Twitter network:

Mike Collins tweet

Follow Mike on Twitter

Mike Collins video Space

 

The publisher

Genlux logoStephen Kamifuji is Creative Director at luxury fashion and philanthropy magazine, Genlux. Though he used another provider to share large design and image files with photographers, retouchers, designers and editorial staff, Stephen agreed to try Hightail Spaces during the creation of the magazine’s latest issue. After it had gone to press, Stephen sent us this message:

“We’ve completed our first publication using Hightail Spaces and love it. The time it saves in back-and-forth changes between editorial staff and the design team is immense. It’s a brilliant addition to our publishing workflow.”

He also provided some great feedback on tweaks he’d like to see, especially around using Spaces on mobile devices. We’ll be implementing his suggestions in our upcoming iOS and Android app releases.

Follow Genlux on Twitter

Genlux magazine spread in Spaces

 

The designer

Psyops logoRod Cavazos is a Type Designer at PSY/OPS Type Foundry and his tight-knit team of three are always providing feedback on each other’s work. However, this usually occurs in email where you lose context of the work being discussed or in Dropbox, which Rod describes as “a tennis match” because you can’t work on a single document at the same time.

Rod’s team liked Hightail Spaces straight away and he describes it as “as cool, quick-response tool. I like how feedback is immediate and that you can pinpoint your comments in context of an image. It’s great for working with internal and external teams.”

Rod also provided some great suggestions for new features, like showing who has access to a Space and the ability to categorize or tag Spaces. We’ll definitely be looking at these ideas as we continue to develop the product.

Follow PSY/OPS Type Foundry on Twitter

Psyops Armature Neue Pro

 

Hightail Spaces is a beta release and we’re constantly working on ways to make it a complete and useful creative collaboration tool. We’d love to hear what you think, so head to www.hightailspaces.com and start using it for free. You can leave your feedback here.

Introducing Hightail Spaces

Hightail Spaces home page

Today I am excited to announce the beta release of Hightail Spaces, a new service that aims to solve the problem of creative collaboration.

We’ve created a uniquely visual way for designers, photographers, video producers, marketers and other creative professionals to share work and get feedback from clients, managers and colleagues. We really want you to try it out at www.hightailspaces.com and tell us what you think.

Hightail Spaces is the first step in our mission to completely rethink creative collaboration, which we define as what happens when creative professionals and stakeholders take a project from concept to completion, via multiple rounds of iteration and feedback.

Currently, too many stages of this process are still stuck in email, a tool ill-equipped to deal with the inherent messiness of creativity. That initial flash of inspiration, the rounds of critical feedback that shape an idea, the new insight that changes everything — none of that belongs in your linear inbox. We want to help you focus more on creating and not spend so much time on administration. More creative, less process.

Hightail Spaces file view

 

Hightail is perfectly positioned to solve these problems. After all, we’ve been helping you send large files since 2004 and sharing your work is the first step of creative collaboration. You’ll see that Hightail Spaces improves on our current file sharing experience, while also providing the tools you need to go deeper into the creative process, like contextual commenting for collecting feedback and visual versions.

Fixing creative collaboration is a huge task and we’re just getting started. We have many more ideas and releases happening over the coming months. Your comments and feedback will help guide us in the right direction.

Just head to www.hightailspaces.com and start using it. Whether you love it or loathe it, see the potential or can’t see the point, we’d really appreciate your insights. You can leave your feedback here.

If you’re an existing Hightail user, you will need to create a Spaces account. We recommend using the same email address as your existing Hightail account, especially if you have a Professional plan, as we’ll give you a free Spaces Pro account.

For more information on what exactly Hightail Spaces does, read our FAQ page. Or just go to www.hightailspaces.com and sign up for free.

I can’t wait to hear what you think.

Read the official press release

Friday’s favorite things: May 15th

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

Buy a poster in aid of Nepal
Given this week’s major aftershock, the earthquake relief work in Nepal still needs the world’s aid and attention. Two very different companies – family run design agency Haum (top image below) and global ad firm Wieden + Kennedy – have each designed beautiful posters to help with fundraising. All proceeds from Haum sales will go to the Disaster Emergency Committee, while W+K is donating to Mercy Corps.

Haum poster for Nepal

 

W+K poster for Nepal

 

Strike out
As part of a presentation at the IAB Video conference in Dublin this week, creative agency Rothco showed a very funny video that highlights the perils of getting close to the action. Watch the Vine

Take a little walk to the edge of town
Fans of Dr. Seuss and Nick Cave may soon be fans of Dr. Faustus. The Australian artist has taken the lyrics of Red Right Hand – a song by his fellow countryman Cave – and illustrated them in the style of the celebrated children’s book creator. Probably not something you want to read to your kids before bedtime, but a spooky little treat for the rest of us. Here’s the full story

Red Right Hand by Dr Faustus

 

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

Tool tips with Kirstin Veltman

Tool tips is a regular series where Hightail employees share their life’s most essential apps, online services and websites. Next up is Site Operations Manager, Kirstin Veltman.

Kirstin VeltmanWorking tool
As manager of the Site Operations team, notification and escalation of alerts from our monitoring systems is critical. PagerDuty allows me to easily manage on-call schedules for the team as well as ensure that escalation of alerts are properly handled, when necessary. It’s an easy to use application that integrates with many different monitoring services and also provides reporting so you can track the handling of alerts.

Playtime
I enjoy participating in social networks, particularly Tumblr. You can find pretty much anything you’re interested in and many very intelligent people blog there. One of the main things I like about the site is the ability to have engaging conversations with people about a variety of subjects, especially socially active and conscious discussions. While the demographic tends to skew to a younger audience, people of all ages use it.

General resource
On Twitter, I follow @Vice and one of their subaccounts @Motherboard, which focuses on tech, science and humanity. Vice is an investigative journalism organization that writes about a broad range of topics. For example, recently, Motherboard had a week focused on simulations and virtual worlds, both what is created by humans and the possibility of our own reality being a simulation. Articles on Vice and Motherboard often go more in depth on subjects than what the major news agencies typically go into, but they also run articles that are short, human interest stories, so you get a wide variety of stories to read.

Friday’s favorite things: May 8th

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

Running wild
Texas-based designer DJ Sherman posted this great new workmark design to his Dribbble page.
Wild by DJ Sherman

Area man likes web page
America’s finest news source, The Onion launched a redesign of its website with this funny page detailing what’s new and prohibiting user feedback. The interactive showing the site over the years is a neat summary of 15 years of web design.

The Onion redesign

Client of the year
UK magazine Creative Review recently released its 2015 Annual, a showcase of the year’s best work in design, advertising, art and more. Airbnb was named Client of the Year for “understanding the value of design and creativity”, which gave us a great excuse to once more enjoy the accommodation sharing site’s fantastic rebranding work.

Airbnb brand posters

 

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

Tear down this collaboration firewall

berlin09-1

 

Most people had probably never heard of a firewall until the day their company network stopped them from visiting a website. That was back when the web—with its news sites, social networks and games—was seen as the ultimate productivity drain. These days we are genuinely reliant on the internet in our daily work.

Much of our browsing is now company-sanctioned, as we need to access software-as-a-service (SaaS) websites in order to complete expense forms, manage projects or share files with clients. Sadly, as SaaS services poked necessary holes in the corporate firewall, a new firewall has been raised high in its place. I call it: the collaboration firewall.

The who, how and where of collaboration

Effective collaboration with colleagues, clients and contractors requires three crucial factors: the who, how and where of collaboration.

Who are you working with? If they’re inside your organization you can rely on shared servers, but once you involve external clients and contractors, sharing information becomes much trickier. It’s also important to consider the types of people you’re dealing with: creatives, accountants and engineers each have very different needs.

How do you share your information? When sharing files externally, those dreaded firewalls force you to rely on email. But attachment size limits mean you have to break your flow and use file sharing services, or, if you prefer your solutions complex, inflexible, expensive and exposed, FTP.

Where are you working? Email remains the most popular collaboration tool but it has other problems beside file size limits. Attachments are easily disassociated from context, while feedback must compete with the deluge of incoming messages, updates and reply-alls.

Another brick in the firewall

The collaboration firewall is raised when email is coopted for collaboration. Because it’s not designed to deal with complex whos and hows, we have to incorporate a series of clunky and ineffective processes in order to overcome these limitations. Taking down this new firewall requires some fresh thinking. A new way of working needs to move beyond email, while remaining a simple and secure way to share ideas and information from anywhere.

Most importantly, it has to understand the Who, which means solving the problems faced by different types of people, particularly those working on creative projects. We live in a creative economy, where business is driven by ideas-led collaboration. We’re all creators now, but the tools to help us harness this creativity more effectively have yet to catch up.

Powering the creative process

Existing collaboration tools tend to be highly structured and often complex. They are not a good fit for the creative process, which is spontaneous and unpredictable, with as many dead ends as successes.

folder_filesNor are creative teams made up of uniform types. Our multimedia world means creative ideas can have a variety of applications, from ad to app, online experience to offline event. This requires teams of disparate disciplines including filmmakers, digital designers, voice actors and producers. To be truly effective, a creative collaboration service can’t be aimed at a niche audience, but must work for everyone in the process.

Taking back feedback

The creative process thrives on feedback but because we’re still stuck working in email, comments and approvals are easily disassociated from the work, especially for image and video files. A great collaboration solution will allow everyone to directly annotate and comment on any kind of file and record every piece of feedback in one place.

When feedback is acted on, new versions will be added ensuring the most recent draft is accessible and apparent, not lost in multiple inboxes. A file centric creative process allows anyone—client, managers or new contributor—to establish at what stage a project is. By looking back at previous versions and the conversations around them, it’s also easy to see how the work got to this point.

Looking for freedom

This is my vision for the future of how we can work together. It’s about changing where we collaborate and how we share information that, crucially, knows the importance of who is doing this work. Let’s tear down the collaboration firewall and be more effective and creative every day. Anyone got a crowbar?

Friday’s favorite things: May 1st

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

Designing for peanuts
Legendary book cover designer, Chip Kidd spoke at this week’s Bloomberg Businessweek Design conference in San Francisco. This preview of his design for a new Charles Schultz retrospective (as shared on Twitter by @aarieff) is a masterful illustration of the book’s title: Only What’s Necessary.

Chip Kidd photo by @aarieff

Hightail’s VP of Design, Bill Wetherell was also impressed with Chip Kidd’s talk. Check out Bill’s recent blog post for his highlights from the event.

White dot
Is television dying? Global ad agency Digitas asked some clever media types for their opinion and the resulting two-minute video is insightful.


Fabulous food trucks
Print decided to showcase an oft-overlooked area of design and branding in this post collecting the site’s seven favorite food truck designs, including our go-to tikka burrito provider, Curry Up Now.

Curry Up Now food truck

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

My BW Design Conference highlights

BW Design ConferenceOn Tuesday, I attended the Bloomberg Businessweek Design Conference in San Francisco. I was struck by the amazing mix of speakers talking about how they wrestle with design in fields from UX, biotech, architecture, fashion, film, music, robotics and more.

Design is a mix of complex, beautiful and often maddening challenges. While there are distinct differences in how design is solved in each industry, there is also a lot these processes have in common and many techniques that can be borrowed. This is particularly relevant as we here at Hightail begin work building our next generation of products designed to address the pains of creative collaboration.

Here’s a quick roundup of my favorite talks.

Evan Sharp
The co-founder of Pinterest provided my number one takeaway from the event when he said:

“When I see product issues that means we have an organizational and culture issue.”

I’m paraphrasing that a bit but you get the gist. I was struck by his insightful connection between the products you produce and the culture that drives your company or creative collective. As a C-level executive of one of the world’s top social companies, I commend him on taking firm ownership of the direct relationship between culture and product. It made me ask myself what am I doing to change my company’s culture so we can bring the right products to market.

Selvaggia Armani designs for Edelman LeatherSelvaggia Armani
The Italian designer spoke about her hand painted leather designs for Edelman Leather. Her stuff is amazing and I want it in my living room.

Daniel Caudill
The Creative Director of Detroit-based manufacturer Shinola, shared several outstanding brand videos and examples of industrial design that illustrate how the company has rekindled American watchmaking, bicycle making and leather goods. It’s a rousing, feel-good, hard workin’ story underscoring an assortment of great looking products.

Chip Kidd
I hadn’t realized that the same designer was behind several of my favorite book covers, so I was delighted to finally hear from someone I’ve unwittingly admired for some time. One of my favorite moments was his story behind the cover of David Rakcoff’s Fraud, which was inspired by a graffiti marred subway poster promoting Airbnb that completely upended the original meaning of the ad. He took this everyday occurrence and produced a concept so simple but perfectly befitting the central theme of the book, creating a cover that looks as if some vandal had scrawled the accusatory title on the cover with an angry red marker. Brilliant.

Can’t wait for next year’s event.

Customer spotlight: Hairbrained Schemes

Hairbrained Schemes owner Cheryl OvertonHairbrained Schemes is an Etsy shop run by Canadian graphic designer Cheryl Overton. She talks to Hightail about working in her pajamas, maintaining a recognizable design style and sharing an office with a dog.

Hairbrained Schemes was born of a love of design, color and humor
Plus, an unwillingness to work at a job where I couldn’t wear my slippers and pajamas. It is my Etsy shop where I sell modern graphic art and greeting cards that I have designed. My customers are from all over the world and find me via Etsy, Houzz and various social media outlets like Instagram.

Hairbrained Schemes print: Camera

The name came from one of my best friends
Whenever I would call with another wild idea of how to make money without having to get dressed, she would say sarcastically, “What hairbrained scheme have you dreamed up now?”

I am completely self-taught
My love of design started many moons ago as a scrapbooking mom of two little boys. I had the good fortune to be hired for a scrapbooking magazine as a contributing editor and, with the encouragement of a very good friend, opened my Etsy shop a few years ago.

Hairbrained Schemes print: Crayons

My ideas come from everywhere
Pop culture, my hilarious friends and family, nature, billboards, music…I could go on and on. When I want to feel inspired I might surf the net, watch a movie, go for a hike or bake brownies. I also love the work of Lisa Congdon. Her use of color inspires me.

A good designer should be both on trend and an individual
I try to keep my shop fresh by incorporating current pattern and color trends. But it’s really important to maintain a style that is recognizably me. You can’t get caught up in the latest “big thing”.

Hairbrained Schemes print: Punch

I print my smaller posters at home
I use a large format Epson printer for prints up to 13×19. Anything larger, I have done at my local print shop. I occasionally get customers who are under time restraints and need to purchase a printable file or want a very large print where the shipping would be ridiculously expensive. I use Hightail to share large resolution files with these customers — it’s a fantastic service.

Hairbrained Schemes print: KitchenI license my work for printing on wood signs
I have a deal with a company called Artehouse that specializes in vintage signs. This is one of most significant ways that Hightail helps me, as I have to send them very large resolution files that would be impossible to do through email. I’ve also had the good fortune to design for a calendar company that pays me a flat rate plus commission depending on numbers sold.

I should probably get out of my pajamas more often
I live in a town called Kelowna in British Columbia, Canada. It has a thriving art district but, honestly, I am not really part of the creative scene here. I should get out more. Kelowna also has amazing wineries and one of the best ski hills in the world.

Hairbrained Schemes officeUnder my desk you will always find my co-worker, Bella
She’s neurotic, lazy and kind of sloppy. But she keeps my feet warm. On my desk you will always find chapstick and coffee (sometimes cold, but it’s always there). We’ve recently moved house and I don’t have a permanent office set up yet but I have big plans for it.

To see more of Cheryl’s work, visit the Hairbrained Schemes Etsy shop. You can also find her on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Friday’s favorite things: April 24th

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

Camel case
This photograph by George Steinmetz is a fabulous trick-of-the-eye. Those black camel shapes are actually the shadows cast by the animals. Look at the small white lines below the shadow to see the camels themselves. The image – taken by Steinmetz from a motorized paraglider – is one of National Geographic’s 50 Greatest Photographs.

George Steinmetz photo - Camel Shadows

 

Elevator ride through history
The elevator that takes you to the observatory at the top of 1 World Trade Center plays a fascinating time-lapse animation showing the history of Manhattan from swamps to skyscrapers. Watch the full video here

Screenshot from One World Trade elevator video

 

Premier league illustration
The excellent Ben the Illustrator created five gorgeous drawings of stadiums used by English Premier League soccer clubs, including this one of Anfield, the home of Liverpool FC. See the grounds of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United here.

Ben the Illustrator - Anfield

 

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

Tool tips with Andy Villarreal

Tool tips is a regular series where Hightail employees share their life’s most essential apps, online services and websites. Next up is Sales Engineer, Andy Villarreal.

Andy Villarreal's tool tipsWorking tool
A tool that I can’t live without in my day-to-day is Join.Me. As Hightail’s Sales Engineer, I’m constantly needing to connect with current and potential customers. Join.Me does a great job of getting me connected and giving me the ability to share my screen and presentations with anyone at any time across the world. Its interface is simple and easy to understand for all individuals involved in my demos.

Playtime
I couldn’t live without Spotify. I am constantly listening to music. Whether that be at work, home, gym or driving. Spotify lets me listen to my music anywhere, on my phone or laptop. I frequently subscribe to new playlists that keeps me updated regularly with new music of all genres.

I use Instagram to post pictures of things going on in my life as well as have a glimpse of what’s going on in the lives of my family and friends. I also like to follow my favorite music artists and brands to keep up with everything new. I recently got engaged and my fiancé and I will use a special Instagram hashtag to track all the pictures posted during our wedding.

General resource
My mornings usually start with reading TechCrunch. It keeps me up to date with technology as well as news and events going on in our space. I love being able to see what is new and upcoming from a technological stand point, as it is changing every day.

Friday’s favorite things: April 17th

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

Art attack
Wieden & Kennedy’s new campaign for New York’s Cooper Hewitt design museum is pretty provocative, especially if you’re a Soho-based modern art gallery. Artnet News certainly took offense.

Cooper Hewitt ad

 

Designer confessions
Online design asset website, Creative Market has launched a print series of 15 funny designer confessions. Check them all out here.

Designer Confessions poster

 

C3-POster
It’s not exactly new but this Star Wars 30th anniversary poster by Hightail user, JAKe is great.

Star Wars poster by JAKe

 

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

Five creative process tools for the right-brain marketer

Wanamaker store advertisement19th century department store tycoon John Wanamaker is credited with inventing the money-back guarantee, hiring the first full-time copywriter and being the first retailer to realize the power of full-page newspaper ads. Despite his belief in the power of advertising, this pioneer of modern marketing was also enough of realist to recognize its limitations, as summarized by his famous quote:

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Lacking the analytical tools to understand cause and effect, advertisers in the golden age of Madison Avenue considered marketing as more of a creative endeavor dependent on intuition, inspiration and a sprinkling of stardust. Measurements of quantitative return on advertising spend were, at best, approximations based on focus groups and consumer surveys or assumptions made when a boost in sales coincided with a new campaign.

The internet and e-commerce has swung the pendulum dramatically in the opposite direction. In the modern era of advertising, there are a plethora of analytical tools for measuring every online campaign right down to the nearest penny. Search engine and display ads can track impressions, clicks and conversions, while cookies can tell you if a new customer saw your ad weeks before they actually purchased your product.

Pop psychology often defines creativity as right-brained, while scientific people are considered left-brained. In reality the brain is far too complex to be so neatly segmented but to use the convenient metaphor, marketing has increasingly become a left-brain exercise thanks in part to software that’s focused on quantitative analytics rather than intangible artistry.

What would John Wanamaker think of a world that could replace copywriters with software programmed to fine-tune SEM ads, much like how news agencies use algorithms to write articles? He may delight in knowing exactly which half of his advertising budget was being wasted, but he would probably also realize that modern consumers need more than just keyword-optimized copy.

Great marketing has always been a symbiotic union of the left and right brains. You can’t simply peddle a product when today’s consumers are more interested in brands that connect with them at an emotional level – with who they are and the lifestyle they lead. But how does a CMO or marketing manager balance the demands of the left and right brain? Do you need to be a modern-day factotum or middle-brain savant that is both highly creative and deeply analytical?

As a peddler of SaaS software myself, I believe the answer lies in the tools you use. The marketer’s left-brain is buzzing with a range of software solutions that analyze everything from website traffic and email conversions to ad views and SEO clicks. There are all-encompassing tools like Google Analytics or Adobe Marketing Cloud (still known as Omniture to most) and a myriad of niche apps that excitedly offer ever-advanced insights. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t receive a left-brain buzzword-laden email boasting of “big data analytics that will identify the best customer prospects through advanced machine learning.”

New Tech City white board with Post-it notesMeanwhile, the right side of the marketer’s brain is atrophying. With a paucity of software tools built for the creative process, many marketers still manage creative projects with an esoteric mix of Post-its, spreadsheets, email and overly complex project management tools spitting out Gantt charts. Perhaps the creative process, which is messy, spontaneous and has as many dead ends as successful outcomes, is not disposed to control by software?

Not so. For many years, file sharing services like Hightail have helped creative professionals working with large files to not only deliver final artwork, designs and video to clients, but to work with extended teams of freelancers and agencies to evolve ideas from concept to production.

File sharing is just one among a wave of new software tools that help facilitate the creative process. Finally, the marketer’s right brain is getting the help it needs and vendors are recognizing the market opportunity around creative collaboration. The following five apps are some of the most innovative ways to get a better handle on your creative process.

Trello
Kanban is a project management system widely used in manufacturing and software development. Trello is a simple and elegant take on Kanban that lets you easily progress projects using cards that are organized into stages. We use Trello at Hightail to manage the backlog of ideas we want to test on our site. As ideas turn to rough mock-ups, initial designs, and ultimately coded pages, the cards progress across our Trello board.

Hightail Spaces
This new beta service from Hightail is designed to help you gather feedback. You share an image file with others and they can add comments directly onto the image. It’s great for working with visual creative assets like photographs and illustrations.

Screenshot of Hightail Spaces

Remark
Remark does for video what Hightail Spaces does for images by allowing your team to have time-stamped conversations on specific sections of a video, avoiding the tedious process of providing feedback via email. (We’re currently working on a video commenting tool for Hightail Spaces.)

Rocketboard
Rocketboard is a mobile app that lets you share your physical whiteboard with people not in the room. Continuous screen refreshes and snapshots make it easy to have effective brainstorming sessions with remote clients and contractors.

Screenshot of Rocketboard app

 

Asana
For more complex creative projects, Asana is a simple yet powerful project management tool to keep track of tasks and deliverables. In addition to shared projects, Asana provides the ability to have conversations based around projects and tasks, which is ideal for the creative process.

These five apps should prove useful for bringing organization and efficiency to that hard-to-pin-down creative process. Though they each only solve a piece of the overall creative collaboration puzzle, they are welcome improvements to assist the marketer’s right brain in the era of left-brained big data analytics tools.

Volunteer week

Last week, everyone at Hightail got out of the office and spent a day volunteering for some local non-profit organizations. Here are some of the highlights of some fun and worthwhile days.

RAFT activity kits assembly
RAFT is a non-profit organization that aims to transform teaching and inspire the joy and discovery of learning through the use of engaging hands-on educational activities. We helped assemble activity kits that would be donated to teachers and schools educating students with developmental learning. Our hard-working team made 640 kits in just three hours.

RAFT welcomes Hightail volunteersHightail volunteers assembling activity kits at RAFT Hightail volunteers at RAFT

Guadalupe River clean up
The Guadalupe River originates in the Santa Cruz mountains and flows through the Bay Area peninsula before it meets San Francisco Bay. Any trash dumped into the river usually ends up out in the ocean, so the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy is always looking for volunteers to help clean it up. They gave us gloves, plastic garbage bags and trash picker-uppers and sent us to the riverbank where we collected multiple bags worth of trash.Hightail volunteers picking up trash at Guadalupe River

Trash collected from the Guadalupe River Hightail volunteers at the Guadalupe River

Humane Society Silicon Valley dog petting
The Humane Society Silicon Valley is a non-profit animal shelter that offers new homes for pets, provides affordable services like spaying/neutering and vaccinations and much more. We toured their facility to meet the cats and dogs housed there and were encouraged to spend time with as many dogs as possible to help socialize and comfort them—petting a dog for 20 minutes helps to keep their spirits up. We also featured in a short video about a dog named Reyna, who’s current available for adoption.

Kobe at Humane Society Silicon Valley Hightail volunteers at Humane Society Silicon Valley

Thanks to the all the organizations for letting us be a part of their great work.