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How EC’s Studio Team Created Time to be Creative


“With our old manual system, the only way we could have coped with an increased workload would have been to employ more people.”

Small in-house teams are constantly pressed for time.

I recently had a conversation with Allen Venables, Head of Studio at EC English Language Centres (EC), on how the school’s marketing materials are produced.

Established in 1991 with its first school in Malta, EC is one of the largest international language schools in the world, with schools located in destinations including the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Malta and South Africa.

The school provides courses for students who want to learn English to further their academic education, advance in their career, or who simply want better knowledge of the language.

With a staff of 1000+, EC is consistently awarded for its programmes and services and welcomes over 45,000 students from more than 140 countries through its doors each year. If you want to learn English (or fine-tune your knowledge) you have probably heard about EC.

EC English New York

About EC’s marketing team

EC’s marketing team comprises five units: studio/design, content, digital marketing, B2B marketing, and B2C marketing.

Our team is based in EC’s head office in Malta. The studio/design team includes two designers, one videographer/photographer and myself. The remaining marketing team consists of another 14 members, including content creators, Google and AdWords specialists, web content editors and social media experts.
marketing dpt EC English
Together we are responsible for producing marketing collateral for all of EC’s schools around the world (eight in the US, seven in the UK, four in Canada, two in Malta, two in Ireland, and one in South Africa). This includes websites, email campaigns, social media channels, print material, photography, video production and optimisation.
We also manage the marketing requirements for EC’s subdivisions which handle pathway programmes into higher education in the US, and tailor-made programmes for corporate entities and governments. We use freelancers and third parties around the world as and when required.

Allen has extensive experience in the design industry, having worked for design and publishing agencies.

He’s acutely aware of the issues involved in managing and optimising workflows for in-house and remote design teams.

Working in a team with lots of tasks

Allen joined EC in 2016, and soon realised that the studio team needed to introduce the right tools into its workflow.

When I joined the company, one of the first things I noticed was that everything in the design studio was done manually.
Brochures were sent out to translators and returned in Word format. Designers then had to do everything manually, which meant cutting and pasting text from one programme to another, then send the new document back out for proofing.
Once that document came back, any new changes had to again be made manually, which meant another round of cutting and pasting.
With a very small team servicing such a large number of internal clients, the way we use our time is extremely important.
I knew from experience that automation was a more efficient and less stressful way to handle tasks and save a lot of time and money for the company. I also knew that automating this process would allow the designers to spend more of their time creating – which is what they should be doing – rather than cutting and pasting.
Automation became one of our top priorities so that we could save time and money, eliminate frustration, and create a better workflow for the team.

Choosing the right tools

Allen already knew InCopy, so he thought it could be the right tool for his team.

Initially we thought the InCopy workflow would be a good solution for the team, but they found the programme difficult. They spent more time trying to get it to work correctly than they spent doing everything manually. We knew we had to come up with another solution.
EC English San Francisco
Our team is small, and as EC continued to grow, we knew our workload would increase. With our old manual system, the only way we could have coped with an increased workload would have been to employ more people. This was not an option, so we looked for alternative answers.
This is when I discovered Redokun and all I can say is wow! It was a breeze to set up and use, and it has saved us so much time and money. It’s been worth every penny of the investment.
Our designers now have more time to work on creative projects rather than being tied up with the mind-numbing task of copying and pasting between files.

The implementation

Did your team find the same kind of difficulty as they had with InCopy?

Implementation could not have been easier. The simple steps were outlined on the Redokun website and were easy to follow. We were up and running in a matter of minutes!

The advantages

What would you say are the advantages of using Redokun?

The advantages are easy to identify: less time spent doing manual tasks, which means more time to work on creative projects, which translates into cost savings for the company. Since we now have more time to do design work, we don’t have to use freelancers or third parties as much.
That additional time to create and design also means that our team members can further develop their skills, do the work they love to do and grow as creators.
In addition, the Redokun platform maintains all our translations, so if we need to re-translate a project later on or even next year, we already have the base library in place that translators can refer to.
With our old system, translations would sometimes have to be completely redone, creating an additional cost for the company – not to mention the additional time required to translate from the start. This sometimes resulted in production delays.
The ability to maintain our translations ultimately saves us both time and money.

Start using the right tools for your multilingual projects. Try Redokun for free for 14 days.

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