How Atlantic Records designs for the music industry with XD |Adobe

Image of Noa Kirel.

The music industry, in particular the way fans engage with digital content, is rapidly evolving. As an artist’s online presence is diversifying into numerous platforms and channels, the demands on designers creating campaign assets have drastically increased. Whereas they once may have been responsible for artist websites and banner ads, designers now need to create an ever-growing amount of promotional materials — splash pages, AR lenses for music videos, social media posts, ecommerce campaigns, etc. — and they need to create them quickly to ensure digital assets are consistent and match an artist’s aesthetic.

With this new world of artist marketing comes many new opportunities to engage with audiences, along with new design challenges. To stay on top of it all, the influential US record label Atlantic Records has turned to Adobe XD to create a more efficient workflow, resulting in better results for artists and designers alike.

The challenge: Tight deadlines with big communication needs

Director of interactive design Dana Tandoi, a part of Atlantic Records’ creative services team, is regularly faced with tight deadlines, and one of the biggest challenges is the ability to quickly communicate a campaign’s creative elements.

  • When an artist, product manager, or digital marketer has an idea for a digital project, it usually needs to be executed quickly to stay relevant.
  • Historically, feedback was slow because mockups were created in Photoshop, and stakeholders needed to review annotated flat JPEGs to understand how the interactive creative would work in practice.
  • This previous workflow resulted in a lot of back-and-forth communication as it could be difficult for artists and stakeholders to grasp from the static comps they were presented, with what the designers had in mind for the live campaign.
  • In addition to the Photoshop file, a folder of visual UI assets, along with more notes, was put together, handed off to the developers, and discussed in a handoff meeting.
  • Designers would sometimes miss specific changes, as they were working on their own offline templates.

The solution: Rapid prototyping and seamless development handoffs

Atlantic Records’ interactive design team started using Adobe XD together with the Anima plugin to create high-fidelity prototypes for websites, apps, and landing pages, allowing them to easily communicate concepts to stakeholders and developers.

  • The team is in the process of learning to use Anima with Adobe XD, and this combo has already emerged as a powerful tool in the design process. Already, designers have been able to put together more precise prototypes and get across their vision.
  • The designers simply share the Anima and XD links with the developers to clearly communicate their ideas. As the prototypes are synced to Anima’s web server, they can be previewed and interacted with right in the browser, as though they were live websites.
  • XD also helps the designers to create reusable components, such as an email signup block and social icons, and set up Creative Cloud libraries for each artist that sync automatically whenever an asset is being updated and send notifications to everyone on the team.

The results: Smoother stakeholder signoffs and quicker time-to-market

The designers can now add interactive elements to the prototypes that they were previously unable to be communicated in static comps.

  • Adding micro-interactions to the prototypes has helped the team elevate our designs into a smoother, cleaner experience.
  • All stakeholders get a holistic idea of ​​the campaign’s various elements. Designers can show them the transitions between different pages and what’s going to happen when a button is being clicked, which helps tell the whole story. This is especially useful for designers when they need to communicate their vision to musical artists.
  • Anima ensures the end result is almost identical to the interactive prototype the designers came up with. Developers just drag and drop the effects created in Anima.
  • Designers can use elements created in Creative Cloud Libraries to add different flares to the design and customize it while still maintaining each artist’s unique branding and maintaining consistency.

The ROI: Higher efficiency, less frustration, and more time for creativity

The collaborative design workflow has led to significant time savings in the fast-paced environment, freeing the designers up to be more creative.

  • Designers are able to execute the designs they have in mind and play, experiment, and iterate to refine their prototypes, while keeping all goals aligned.
  • The seamless integration with the Creative Cloud ecosystem, especially the management of an artist’s asset through libraries, has proven invaluable. Assets can be organized and shared across multiple projects, devices, and teams.

In the future, designers in the music industry will need to create even more content for different types of campaigns that make up an artist’s online presence. Being able to execute these varied design tasks quickly while ensuring consistency is absolutely essential. Atlantic Records’ new daily workflow, made possible by using Adobe XD, achieves just that.

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