Brobel Design Relies on TruEdit to Create 88 Issues of Kids Discover Magazine in Less Than 10 Months

For over 25 years, the Kids Discover team of talented writers, designers, artists, and industry experts has been publishing award-winning educational reading materials for kids, including the print version of Kids Discover Magazine.

In 2016, Kids Discover decided to modernize their magazine archive to create relevant experiences that would increase engagement. Between 1991 and 2014, they had published 175 issues with production time averaging almost four months per 20-page issue. By partnering with Brobel, they hoped to create 88 issues in less than 10 months. It was a huge challenge, as it meant that over 1,000 pages would be in production at all times, with additions and corrections coming from many contributors at once.

Brobel’s Lead Designer and co-owner Ian Brown knew that, in order to deliver high-quality, error-free publications, his team would need an exceptionally smooth workflow that allowed for real-time content updates. They would also need a way to monitor progress and manage content and collaboration within a single system that worked with existing creative production tools like Adobe InDesign and InCopy.

He found the solution he was looking for in MEI’s TruEdit. The cloud-based solution could support concurrent web, mobile, and print content production from any web browser. It could integrate with InDesign, InCopy, and Microsoft Word, and it supported real-time updates, version control, and project management tools.

“We were excited to help Kids Discover take advantage of existing content, re-envision it, and make it accessible in print, mobile, web, and different languages to help kids learn,” says Brown. “But the aggressive 10-month timeline required us to work with a large geographically dispersed team that would have to track multiple issues and versions at once. And it would be prone to error when transferring so many large files. That’s when we knew we needed TruEdit to help centrally manage each project and keep content flowing.”


vjoon K4 Storage Engine and Remote Hosting in the Cloud

With the K4 Publishing System version 7, vjoon offers a new configuration option—vjoon Storage Engine— that stores binary content files in a managed file system instead of in a K4 database, with automatic snapshots taken of the data. Use of the Storage Engine can significantly reduce database sizes, eliminate long backup routines, and provide high data flexibility and availability by creating restorable publication states for quick data recovery and business continuity.

vjoon Storage Engine (SE) allows storage and snapshot locations to be determined for each publication. Storage and snapshot areas can be in a local file system or in the cloud. Snapshot rules can be set to create snapshots automatically at designated points in time—for example, daily, weekly and monthly snapshots —and assign them to a configuration and its associated publication. In addition, instant snapshots can be created at any time on demand.

With these options, K4 systems can now be partially or fully virtualized on Amazon Cloud servers, potentially reducing server hardware and maintenance costs.

There is no downtime or performance degradation as the Storage Engine functions. Using the Storage Engine, there is no need to wait for a database backup to be fully restored before users can resume working with their files. If there is a need to roll back to a snapshot, data restoration is prioritized by the system, with working files restored first.

vjoon Storage Engine is available as two modules:

  • vjoon Storage Engine (SE): The base module for defining storage and snapshot areas.
  • vjoon SE Integration with Amazon S3: An extension for adding cloud support for storage and/or snapshot areas.

K4 7’s integration with Amazon EC2 and S3 cloud, the vjoon Storage Engine, offers expanded configuration options with respect to deployment of the K4 system applications (including Adobe InDesign Server), the SQL databases and the storage and snapshot areas.

  1. K4 system applications and database(s) remain installed on local servers. Storage and snapshot areas are deployed locally using the vjoon Storage Engine.
  2. K4 system applications and database(s) remain installed on local servers. Storage and snapshot areas are deployed on Amazon S3 using vjoon Storage Engine.
  3. K4 system applications and database(s) are deployed on Amazon EC2. Storage Engine snapshot and storage area are deployed on Amazon S3.

To ensure full understanding of each available option and the optimum use and full functionality of the Storage Engine and integrations with Amazon Cloud Services, planning must occur that considers each configuration option with respect to goals, resources and costs. Further, implementation must optimize use of each component of the system to provide maximum benefit.

To get more information and see MEI’s considerations for a Storage Engine installation, download MEI’s White Paper on the vjoon Storage Engine.

Resolve to Optimize Your Content Workflows in 2017

As most digital marketing professionals know, the foundation of successful content marketing initiatives begins with planning ahead. Thinking through objectives, planning your strategy, executing content distribution effectively, and continuously optimizing these steps is a process we live and breathe. At the start of a New Year, the promise of innovative new trends and technologies is as exciting as it is daunting. It can feel unnerving, looking at the months ahead filled with seemingly boundless challenges and opportunities. This year, resolve to optimize and automate your content workflows and cut down on the content chaos with MEI’s Content Calendar Guide. This pairs nicely with CMI’s content planning templates to make the most of the guide.

Fortunately, MEI’s convenient month-by-month guide is here to help you get through the year and ease your content-planning anxiety. This handy guide provides solutions for the most important New Year’s resolution content marketers have: optimizing content and workflows in 2017.

MEI’s Content Calendar Guide has insightful tips and strategic solutions to enable complete optimization of your multichannel content marketing workflows. The result? You’ll work smarter, enhance your brand, and please your customers all year long. Add this smart calendar guide to your multi-channel marketing strategy arsenal for your best year yet!

Download the guide


Advertising Production Club of New York Annual Holiday Bash 2016 Highlights

A very special evening was had by all at the annual Advertising Production Club Holiday Bash held at the Microsoft Technology Center in Time Square on Monday evening, December 19th. MEI’s East Coast executives Deena Guagliardi and Carolyn Brown Okay attended the event.

The Graphic Communications Scholarship and Career Advancement Foundation (GCSF) in collaboration with IdeaAlliance, the Advertising Production Club of New York, the Art Directors Club, the One Club, the Navigators and the Printing Industries provides scholarships and financial aid to New York City metro area students interested in pursuing careers in graphic communications. Students receive money for college, mentoring support, internships and other work/study opportunities.

Last year the group raised a record $160,500 which was awarded to 41 New York City metro area students pursuing careers in graphic design, production and publishing. The Advertising Production Club of New York (APCNY) raised almost $100,000 with the IDEAlliance, Printing Industries Alliance and The Navigators raising the rest.

Attendees were asked to bring a gift for a child in need for Harlem Children’s Zone. Raffle tickets were sold and winners were presented by GCSF Diane Romano and President Jerry Mandelbaum. Several of the mentees were on hand to help with the raffle, take pictures and mingle with the group.

Jessie Ann Murphy, a recipient and co-liaison Student Mentor for GCSF Scholarship foundation who attended with her mother, raved about the incredible support and opportunities provided by the Foundation. Jessie stated that without this support, she would likely still be in school and paying off large student loans like many of her friends. Jessie has held several internship positions and other work opportunities. She is currently working as an advertising designer and provides graphic design, branding, print collateral and logo development services to a variety of clients.

The Advertising Production Club of New York City (APC-NYC) is a community of production professionals in traditional, digital and emerging media. The APC provides educational programs and networking opportunities designed to keep members informed about new technologies, best practices and industry trends. Proceeds from this year’s event will help fund the GCSF Graphic Communication/Art Students scholarships with every single dollar of profit goes directly to talented students interested in pursuing careers in Graphic Arts and/or Media Production.


Photo: Courtesy of Metro Graphics Reporter
Pictured: Mentees and mentors from left: Jack Kott, Valerie Buonaiuto, David Luke, Lea Orsini, Allyson Gonzalez, Emilia Dabrowska, Roxana Santana, Nick Patrissi, Jessie Ann Murphy, and Jesse Mandelbaum.

Top photo by Cherise Coleman

Brand2Global and Pennsylvania Marketing Summit Recaps

This month we hit two amazing marketing summits, one on each coast. Here are our Coast-to-Coast top takeaways!


Pennsylvania Marketing Summit Recap
MEI attended the Pennsylvania Marketing Summit last week at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia. It was a gorgeous summer day with a standing room only crowd that had come together to discuss the state of content marketing, ecommerce, optimizing customer experience, going beyond branding, social media impact, and building a successful client/agency relationship. Some world renowned digital brand leaders were there from Rita’s Italian Ice, Hershey’s, and Visit Pennsylvania. The who’s who list of panelists shared their various experiences managing some of Pennsylvania’s top brands. Here are the top ten key takeaways from the day:

1. Philadelphia has all the benefits of NYC without the disadvantages: “grit and sass unique to Philadelphia” said Paula Butler (@PaulaButler) of Visit Philadelphia (@visitphilly)

2. If you include Princeton, there are more students in Philadelphia than Boston which lends an important vibrancy to the city.

3. It is essential to provide care and feeding of to your company, products and services “Brand Soul.” Rita’s Italian Ice (@RitasItalianIce) expresses their brand soul as “happiness.”

4. Ruthless transparency is required to reach Millennials who value the experiential above all and they want to be part of the conversation. Converse with, do not talk at your customers.

5. Content needs to address the unique needs of clients through personalized, contextual engagement that is right time, right place. Be where your customers are, do not expect them to find you elsewhere.

6. Case studies help put company products in perspective and help prospective clients have that “aha” moment that this will work for them since they identify with the profiled client.

7. Want to improve your social media IQ? “Think and act like a publisher!”

8. Brand experience needs to be holistic “from the inside-out,” so use “social listening tools” to not only monitor competitors, but speak with your “C” suite to help them understand the analytics, customer experience, and markets.

9. Personalization increases purchases by 40% according to Forbes research. Your personalization strategy for your content must be to make it valuable, consistent and relevant for your brand to be effective.

10. Best Reference: Content Marketing Periodical Table



b2g_logo_300hBrand2Global Marketing Summit Recap
In late September, we hit the West Coast Brand2Global Marketing Summit Silicon Valley in Menlo Park, California, right on Sand Hill Road where all the venture funding decisions take place. We explored the future of marketing and product launches with personalized robots to aide computer human interfaces, artificial intelligence making 1:1 branded digital experiences possible, and how software bots will extend our favorite apps beyond our wildest dreams. The most dynamic speaker was Nim De Swardt (@NimBow), Global Millennials Manager for Bacardi Limited (@Bacardi) , who focused on how to “win from within.” She described how the company is reshaping everything in their culture to realign with the future of their brand: Millennials. Bacardi even has quarterly global summits to bring together all the senior management and the Millennial Managers within the company to shape brand strategy across mobile, social, events, and retail experience.

Her favorite quote she shared from PWC: “Successful business leaders must shape their organizations to be more nimble and flexible, less hierarchical, and more networked — in short, better organized to deliver value. The focus should be on four key emerging business revolutions: agility, authenticity, talent, and sustainability.”

Full of energy and straight from her home island of Bermuda, De Swardt arrived at the conference in her workout gear since her topic was 4 Work-outs for your brand! So be authentic, be where your customers are, be customer obsessed, and your passion will drive your brand.