Design Central: A Case of Independent Interactive Publishing

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Article ImageCompany: Design Central

UBM Design Central delivers print and online creative solutions for editorial, marketing, advertising, digital, and custom media for UBM (a global live media and B2B communications, marketing service, and data provider). Design Central partners on up to 150 digital publishing projects per month with UBM businesses and external customers. Its team comprises more than a dozen, art directors, designers, producers, and project managers.

Business Challenge

With the launch of the iPad in 2010, the leaders at Design Central knew that the world of digital publishing was on the verge of a major technological revolution. Before long, both its internal and external clients would expect to use tablets and other emerging digital publishing platforms to the full extent of their capabilities. This meant interactivity, ease of publishing, integration into smartphone apps, and more. The folks at Design Central understood the task in front of them and wanted to choose the right suite of digital publishing tools to integrate into their production process.

Vendor of Choice: Aquafadas

Aquafadas is a software company based in the south of France that creates solutions for digital video and digital publishing. Founded in 2004, the company's emphasis is on developing software for publishing to tablets and smartphones, and for creating animations in Flash and HTML5. The company is the leader in the digital comics market, with AveComics, which is used by French and international publishers to publish comics to tablets and smartphones. Aquafadas works with clients in the U.S., Japan, Germany, and the U.K.

The Problem In-Depth

"Several months before the iPad came out, we had seen demonstrations, as a result of the fact that we work in the magazine world," says David Nicastro, the creative director of custom and editorial at Design Central. "We knew that this was going to be a game-changer."

Design Central was established as the custom publishing arm of UBM as a kind of in-house design agency. Most of Design Central's projects are for internal clients, but it services external clients as well.

Nicastro came to the company with a background in fine art and publication design. With experience running the gamut from conception through execution, and a keen eye for industry trends, he knew that Design Central would need a tool that could be integrated into its current workflow, offered a high level of customer support in both the training phase of its implementation and over the long term as the tools and technology evolved, and produced good products.

The choice, for Nicastro and Design Central, came down to Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) and Aquafadas. The company was already using Adobe's InDesign and other creative suite products, so Adobe DPS was a natural option for them to consider. But after exploring the options outside of Adobe, Design Central came across Aquafadas, which works as a plug-in to InDesign, and was intrigued.

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