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How to Customize & Share InDesign Marketing Collateral Templates

by Ryne Knudson

June 22, 2021

Marketing team collaborating in an office

At most companies, the process for making and using marketing collateral templates looks like this:

Creatives mock up a template in Adobe InDesign and save it as an InDesign template. Sales teams, marketers, or anybody else who needs to access these templates have to: (1) request them from creatives, (2) use the template to create a finished product, and (3) send it back to a designer for review and approval.

This is inefficient for two reasons:

1.Creatives waste time routing files: Instead of spending time designing, they spend a lot of time just routing files to their coworkers.
2.Non-creatives can’t easily use Indesign templates: Marketers and other non-creatives aren’t great at “filling out” or using InDesign templates. Filing it in may be slow for them, they may edit the files in non-approved ways, and they end up having to ask for review and final approval from creative teams at the end, which eats up more of creatives’ time.

All of this puts a heavy burden on creative teams.

We designed Brandfolder to fix both of these problems:

In this post, we’ll explore our solution in more detail and show how it makes storing and using marketing collateral templates (in particular those made in Indesign) efficient for the whole company.

Want to see our templating tool in action? Request a free demo with our team to learn more about Brandfolder and our features to improve digital asset management.

How Templating in Brandfolder Works

Since Brandfolder is digital asset management (DAM) software, the core functionality of our software solves the first pain creative teams face when marketers and other teams need templates: responding to asset requests.

In Brandfolder, all of your teams — including your creatives and graphic design team — can store and organize all of their branded assets in one place — such as templates, photos, videos, colors, fonts, logos, etc. — so other teams and external stakeholders can quickly access them at any time.

Storing all of your brand’s digital assets in Brandfolder, rather than a cloud storage system like Google Drive or DropBox, makes it much easier for others to find the assets they need without having to ask somebody else where they’re located or how to access them. How? Our advanced search functionality will actually analyze the contents of your assets and combs through your entire asset library (no more searching through folders and sub-folders!) to pull what the searcher is looking for in a matter of seconds.

That way, members of other teams — sales, marketers, distributors, retailers, and external stakeholders — can come into your Brandfolder, search virtually anything about a specific asset (i.e., file names, image components like colors or scenery, product names, metadata, tags, etc.), and find the files they need.

But our actual templating tool that allows creatives to define how templates are customized (and makes it easy for others to customize them) while remaining on-brand is what’s so unique and convenient about working with templates in Brandfolder.

Let’s walk through the process of working with InDesign and marketing collateral templates in Brandfolder to see how it helps both creative teams and marketers.

For Creatives:

While in InDesign, creatives start by:

Because Brandfolder fully integrates with InDesign, designers can easily pull photos, logos, and other digital assets into the template’s design and lock those options into place.

Locking template design elements in Brandfolder

Tip: We suggest giving all customizable layers a name so you know which fields you’re working with in Brandfolder.

After you’re done tweaking the template in InDesign, you can prepare the InDesign file for uploading — this gives graphic designers more template options, lets them upload specific fonts for templates, and allows them to assign file names to templates — and push it directly to Brandfolder. (Our Adobe plug-in walks you through the process so everything is straightforward and easy to follow).

View of Brandfolder template customization settings in Adobe InDesign

Once your template is stored in Brandfolder, the next step is to define how each of the template’s customizable layers can be personalized: Insert text boxes or create drop down menus depending on exactly how much you want users to be able to edit the content. Creatives can even set limitations on which graphics can be added to their templates by creating drop down menus with asset options or including “how-to-use” guidelines within the template’s description.

Note that with InDesign alone, it’s not possible to have this much control over how fields can be customized. The marketer or end user customizing an InDesign template as is (without Brandfolder) could change the customizable fields any way they want, which could lead to a variety of problems.

Example flyer using Brandfolder template

Take the flyer template above for example: Creatives locked the Sonata logo in place, created drop-down menus with preset options to change the geographic location and the images that coincide, and included freely-customizable text boxes so marketers can change the content for different marketing campaigns and add their personal contact information.

Reduces Approval and Review Needs

This control allows creatives and admins to improve brand consistency across digital marketing campaigns and print collateral, so nothing needs a review and all of the marketing collateral your teams are using is on-brand, accurate, and high-quality.

That said, admins and creatives can set up an approval workflow that requires all new collateral to be reviewed and approved before download. When this is set up, it sends new assets to admins to review and sends a notification to the end user when the asset has been approved and is available for download.

Once templates are finished and ready to share, creatives can store them in Brandfolder, and organize them for different users within collections and portals, so other teams can access all of your brand’s templates at any time.

For Marketers, Sales Teams, and External Collaborators:

As we mentioned above, other teams can access your brand’s templates right in Brandfolder; they can find design templates in collections or portals, but they can also use our advanced search functionality to locate the template they need quickly and easily.

View of selected templates in Brandfolder

Once they find the template they need, they can customize it with the options they have available to fulfill different needs and appeal to different target audiences.

View of editing a template in Brandfolder

After making changes, they can refresh the template in Brandfolder and review the final product before downloading or sharing.

View of final custom template in Brandfolder

After confirming the template looks good, users can send the asset to a printer or download their finished product right from Brandfolder. Our platform allows for convenient file conversions so users can download the asset for different online channels, including email campaigns and social media platforms.

Improves Organization, Collaboration, and Shareability

When admins or other collaborators customize templates in Brandfolder, they have the option of saving the finished product directly to Brandfolder. However, any of your users can choose to download and re-upload their finished product to store in Brandfolder. This allows marketers to consolidate collateral for various marketing campaigns in dedicated collections or portals, collaborate on assets, and keep track of their marketing content.

Of course, as we mentioned above, storing marketing collateral in Brandfolder has the added benefit of more efficient shareability. Instead of uploading files and sending them over email, teams can use permissions to grant other users access to their content. Or, they can create custom share links to share their assets with anybody (including other users or external parties).

These custom share links also give teams greater control on how assets are shared. With custom share links, users can set expirations to control how long others can access and use certain assets; attach brand guidelines so it’s clear on how, where, and when assets can be used; even track who’s viewing and interacting with collateral by requiring an email address to access assets.

Types of Marketing Collateral You Can Make with Brandfolder

Team members with access to your creative teams’ marketing templates can create collateral for any target audience or use case. Examples of marketing collateral you can create in Brandfolder include:

Other Benefits of Investing in Brandfolder to Lessen the Load on Creative Teams & Improve Marketing Efforts

We’ve already covered some of the benefits of using Brandfolder to manage marketing collateral, such as easier team collaboration and asset sharing, but let’s review some of the other benefits of using Brandfolder to house your digital content.

For Creative Teams:

For Marketers, Sales Teams, and External Collaborators:

Get Started With a Free Demo of Brandfolder

With Brandfolder, creatives can store all of their InDesign templates in one place so that all of your users can log into their Brandfolder account, access dynamic marketing collateral templates from designers, personalize them to fit their use case, and then share them with whoever they need… all in one software.

To review the ins and outs of our templating tool, take a tour of our software’s other features, learn more about pricing, and see how Brandfolder can help all of your teams manage their digital assets, contact our team for a free demo.