What’s super weird is how we all react to innovation differently.
Take the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007. Some people bought it right away, no fear, “I’ll take two, thank you very much.” According to the adoption curve (a.k.a. the diffusion of innovations theory), these “first in line” types are known as the adventurous, young, well-educated “early adopters.”
Conversely, the adoption curve identifies the people who took their own sweet time buying the original iPhone as the “late majority.” Late because they wanted everyone else to test out the product first before committing. These slow pokes tend to be wary, conservative, and price sensitive. “A phone? With weird finger tapping controls? Who would pay $600 (in 2007) for that? It might not even work!”
It’s all good. Regardless of where we fall on the adoption curve, the trick is understanding that our emotional reaction (or complete lack thereof) to change determines when we’re going to adopt an innovation—or if we ever will. After all, “innovation” is just a fancy word for “new idea,” and new ideas (like the original iPhone) have the potential to change things. And change totally freaks some of us out (even if it’s change for the better).
That’s right, the problem comes when we ignore the possibilities an innovation creates because we’re too hung up on how we feel about change in the first place. The truth is, when we make decisions based on how we feel about change today, instead of the outcomes we want tomorrow, we don’t get where we need to go.
Enter all the design elements creative teams work with every day. Creative assets are almost always comprised of individual design elements—from stock images to fonts. The result is greater than the sum its parts, but also more legally complicated than the sum of its parts. That’s because each of those individual design elements can have its own licensing agreement.
That means the stock photo used across creative assets may be permissible for web, but not for print. The font in question may be licensed for desktop use, but not commercial use. Licensing is both confusing and hard to track, but it’s important to figure out a solution because copyright infringement comes with a hefty price tag. Yikes.
So take super confusing licensing agreements, add an overwhelming number of files (consider how many design elements are used for one client, or even one campaign, oof!), plus massive financial risk, and you get…a real mess, as outlined in this infographic, Layered Licensing in Creative Projects:
That’s why our customers are asking us to solve for the changes to the licensing model that matter most in today’s digital world: they don’t want to get left behind in some costly legal quagmire. Here’s what they’re saying:
“Lawyers really want to sue us because we have a giant target on our back with a big dollar sign on it."
“We bought ten licenses but didn’t have a record of it.”
“Did the designer get that font from DaFont? Designers think, ‘Oh it’s free, so it’s okay, I’ll just ignore the part about non-commercial use.”
“I said, ‘Why are you trying to give typefaces to another company? Oh buddy, you can’t do that, it’s totally illegal.’ They said, “What do you mean? It’s just a font.’”
“We cover our behinds on everything when it comes to licensing.”
“The big thing is, do we own enough licenses? So we over-license to be safe. It’s about the piece of paper that says we can use it.”
Since we’ve been helping organizations large and small manage creative assets for about three decades, we know we can deliver results, so we’re solving for these licensing challenges. Connect Fonts users can now store, search, view, and control every font license so they know where they’re compliant, where they’re not, what needs to be revised, and how to manage it all.
But that’s just the beginning. Solving for font licensing challenges made us realize we’re transforming our creative asset management software for agencies and teams into creative operations management software for agencies and teams. That’s because our customers need more visibility, control, and accuracy across the myriad design elements they work with every day to build creative assets, not just the licenses.
It’s a big lift, but we got this.
Imagine a world where teams can accelerate their creative work process, prevent individual design elements from becoming problems in the first place, and ultimately confirm and report that all creative assets are in tip-top shape before the hand off to production. That means you’d know that every font, photo, graphic, illustration, icon, (you get the idea) that goes out the door—no matter where it lives in a creative asset or final creative work product (like an ad)—is ready for the world to adore.
Sounds pretty good, and that’s the world we’re working toward. There’s just one question in the meantime: what's in it for you?
What’s in it for you is a way to manage risk from the potential use and distribution of the wrong design element or improperly licensed design element within a creative project. Improved workflow efficiency from always activating the right design element for the right project at the right time—and making it sharable across the team. Containing creative asset costs by making the right information for licensed elements available to the right stakeholders.
This is more than just auto-activation—it’s insights on the design elements used in creative operations—including licensing information—combined with the ability to search, share, and organize creative assets.
But what’s really in it for you is knowing that everyone in your organization always has the verifiable information they need to keep doing their job. When that happens, projects ship faster with less stress, there’s freedom to create impactful work, and clients receive more than they paid for—which is every agency and creative team’s recipe for new business, client retention, revenue growth, and profitability.
Of course, to clearly see these possibilities, to believe they are possible, you must focus on the outcome you’re looking for tomorrow, instead of what potential change feels like today. After all, “innovation” is just a fancy word for “new idea,” and new ideas change things—which totally freaks some of us out. Even if it’s a change for the better.
The only way to be creative is to try something new, and trying something new requires leaving something else behind. Leave lack of visibility, risk, confusion, and overwhelmed creatives behind. It starts by learning more about Connect Fonts, and how it can help you become the hero your teams need you to be.
But before you do that, maybe figure out where you fall on the adoption curve. If you’re not happy with the result, but still want to move forward, simply choose to be an innovator, early adopter, or in the early majority, because that decision will get you where you need to go.
And good decisions are at the heart it, don’t you think?
Were we presumptuous and you’re actually FASCINATED by licensing stuff? Our bad! Read our blog, “A Brief History Of Creative Assets' Legal Woes.”
Do you feel like a disorganized mess? We do too sometimes. Check out our blog, “5 Tips To Create An Organized File Structure Like A Pro.”
Hey! Who makes things better when they’re around? You do. Thanks for being here.
Your reward for scrolling all the way to the end is this precious cat. Yes! (Fist bump.)