AMCS Marketing is a design agency based in Denver, Colorado. We spoke with the firm’s founder, Anya McManis about starting her own agency, dealing with day-to-day design needs and why her clients think Hightail is a cool tool.
I moved to Colorado from Germany
I came here to go to college and then met my husband so I stayed on. I had previously worked in the travel industry where I was involved in operations and marketing. Once in Denver, I ended up in an ad agency as a project manager. I thought, I love this work and I’m good at it so a couple of years later I started my own agency. That was more than 10 years ago.
We provide graphic design services for all types of collateral
Initially when I started it was just me and I was working more like as a freelancer. But soon, I started getting requests for website designs so I hired a developer. A lot of what we do is web design, but we also do print design, infographics, annual reports and more. We’re a small outfit so often bring in contractors to work on specific projects as needed.
I like the non-profit sector
Quite a few of our clients are non-profit organizations. Over the years we have built our business largely through client referrals. Some of our long time clients are The University of Denver, Central Asia Institute – based in Bozeman, MT – and Homewatch CareGivers – a Denver-based national franchise organization.
We help with our clients’ day-to-day needs
A lot of creative agencies do a branding project or a website and then move on. But once we’ve completed that first project, we like to talk about how we can help our clients move forward. Some companies don’t generate enough work to justify an in-house design team but still have regular design needs for ads, mailings, even PowerPoint presentations. We juggle all these odds and ends, which can be a challenge to manage as they often involve short lead times. It can mean lots of hard work and long hours.
Infographics are very popular
If our clients are heavy into social media, they like to have infographics that they can share with their networks. They usually come to us with a vague idea of what they want and we develop the concept. I’ve done copywriting in the past so I can help them see how we’ll make it work even before we start designing it.
Most of what we do is visual
We used to send clients a comp, jpg or PDF of a design by email and they’d mail back with feedback. But the whole communication process was cumbersome as there was a lot of talk around the exact part of the design they had feedback on. That’s a lot of typing. Then we have to read their emails with the file also open and match the comments to the design.
Hightail saves time for both our clients and us
With Hightail, our clients can place their comments right there on the spot where we need to make a change. We used it recently for an annual report that was 32 pages long. It worked well for both text changes and feedback on the graphs and other visuals. Up to six people were going into the Space to leave comments. Having everyone’s feedback in one place made it faster for me. Because each reviewer saw everyone else’s comments they could see if an issue had already been addressed. This client was very happy with Hightail.
The Approvals feature is great for us
If we’re creating a brochure and I have to order a print run of a few thousand copies then we want to be sure we have the final design approved by the client. When using Hightail’s approval feature, there’s no question about which version the client approved. When you’re doing that by email, it isn’t always clear.
It’s exciting to expand our use of Hightail
We’re continuing to use Hightail for more and more projects. It’s a professional way to present our work and so far has impressed our clients. When we were designing wine labels and packaging for the Kingman Winery in Denver and using Hightail to collect the owner’s comments, he repeatedly said, “this is such a cool tool.”