Showcase – Image Database

In 2007 Taylor Design submitted a bid to a large, local printing company to rebuild their photo management software. They were using commercial software, originally written for Mac OS classic, that had been abandoned. This software allowed their graphic designers to search an image and artwork database of over 100,000 items, and drag images directly into Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress.

This company was in the middle of upgrading their design software and eliminating Mac OS classic tools in favor of OS X. They had been expecting an upgrade to the tool they were using when they found out it wasn’t coming. They needed an OS X compatible replacement, and they needed it fast. We created one. On budget and in record time.

We started by rapidly prototyping both Administrator and Designer OS X applications backed by a PostgreSQL database. Once the feature set and design were stable we converted and imported all of their previous artwork data into the database. We retained the original image files and directory structure to preserve file links in older page layouts. And we took great care to optimize both search and image preview so that their designers could work as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Our application was faster, had more features, and offered a more convenient user interface. And it was a hit. Their graphic design team immediately preferred it to the old software.

Our success on the project led to a string of projects for this company, starting with upgrades to the image database software we had just created. We incorporated numerous feature requests from their graphic designers; created software to help their photo department streamline the process of preparing and entering new artwork; and upgraded the server which stored the images.

One of our more technical and impressive achievements was taking the software to the Internet. Off site designers did not have the bandwidth to preview and drop full resolution files. So we designed a server application that would automatically create low resolution Internet versions as images were added or edited, and then upload those changes to a separate server at a hosting facility.

We created another server application to compress and secure the data stream between off site apps and the PostgreSQL database. Initially we used HTTP and Apache to serve image previews to the designer app, but we didn’t feel that was quite fast enough. So we designed a third custom server app with a more streamlined protocol.

Once finished, off site designers and clients could efficiently search, preview, and drop artwork into their layouts. When those files were opened in office for printing the high resolution images were used automatically.

This enabled our client to more directly involve their clients in the design process, building much needed loyalty in a competitive business.

They needed an OS X compatible replacement, and they needed it fast.

We created one. On budget and in record time.

Finally, for their clients who had an online presence, we created a system whereby one of their graphic designers could quickly convert and markup an ad for web display. Beyond simply showing images of the ad this system allowed viewers to find out more information about each item on the page. Our focus on predictive layout identification and text auto fill made it possible for one designer to handle the entire work load each week.