Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?
Over the last several years since Opus has been responsible for our Magazine design, we have received an increasingly favorable response from our alumnae and other constituencies to both the content and design of the publication. The response from our readers have been that the Magazine's look and content has included such phrases as exciting, vibrant, accessible, eye-catching, etc.
The response is a marked enhancement to the responses from our readers to our previous designer's publications, which, while overall positive, elicited more frequent complaints about readability and the "busy-ness" and dullness of the Magazine's design.
While the school's current communications team has had a hand in that enhanced perception of the magazine, the talents and vision of our colleagues at Opus Design have to be credited with the physical transformation of our Magazine. To put it simply, they have worked hard to "get" us – our School's culture, our mission, our brand – and they use their design ingenuity to capture it all in our Magazine.
How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?
We have developed a close working relationship – a true sense of teamwork – that enables us to develop a good routine in terms of deadlines, work flow issues, etc.
When occasional problems of meeting deadlines or content quality arise, as they inevitably will, we can feel comfortable addressing the problems the moment they arise and look for solutions in a collegial way. We look together for suitable "plan b" options, adjust accordingly, and – for the most part – are able to find solutions and stay on task to meet deadline targets.
The key is to come up with a deadline schedule and content ladder that is reasonable and doable as the first order of business. This is reviewed, revised, and agreed upon before anything else is undertaken. That all but eliminates major problems from cropping up as the project proceeds.
What did you find most impressive about this company?
The team always manages to elicit a delighted "Oh wow!" response from us when we see their design work, even when we have had an active role in shaping the content and the direction of the design. That's a sign of their creative vision, their sparkling design sense, and their out-of-the-box imaginations.
At the same time, working with them doesn't have the usual "client/vendor" dynamic ... essentially, we feel we are working more as colleagues. That makes for a very satisfying working relationship.
Are there any areas for improvement?
As with much of today's working environment, for awhile virtually all of our communications were being done via email communications. That sometimes led to back-and-forth discussions that took more time and effort than I found necessary.
In the last year, I have been delighted to discover that they really are completely open to my occasional request for more frequent one-on-one phone conversations to resolve questions or concerns. In looking back, I think I was mistaking their use of email communications as their not being open to verbal communications. That misunderstanding is on me, not Opus.