Call us today and let’s talk about your project. We’ll help you achieve your goal, regardless of its complexity. Our solutions include hands-on instruction and ongoing support to ensure your success.

How can Avatar’s expertise work for you?  Let us count the ways….

1. Catalog Automation

We know catalogs. We also know sale flyers, directories, guidebooks, schedules, top 10 music charts, and even horse racing booklets. If it needs to be published and comes from data, chances are excellent we’ve automated something similar before. 

With knowledge that spans more than 30 years, our team has worked in all aspects of catalog production and on most types of catalogs: from the simple to the extremely complex. And along the way, we’ve learned how best to streamline how they’re created and updated.   

Whether your inventory includes the tiniest jewelry beads or the largest industrial products, a single-version catalog or a plethora of regional variants and languages, we’re confident our mastery of data-to-design integration will help you reach your catalog automation goals.

Because time is money, improving your catalog process and accuracy has a genuine effect on your bottom line. 

2. Data Analysis/Data Modeling

Just as a building rests on its sound foundation, orderly and complete data is the strong basis for a successful data-to-design project. That’s why we start every project with a thorough data analysis. 

You might come to think of us as the data detectives because of all the questions we ask.  We’re just trying to understand what you may already have in place so we can avoid duplication of effort and ensure that we recommend the fewest modifications necessary. Why reinvent the wheel?

Once our thorough investigative process is complete, we will help you lay a proper foundation regardless of the technology and platforms your organization has in place. Our approach is to deliver the best path forward that is specific to your situation and your objectives — whether you work with one or more Excel sheets, have an enterprise system or two, have a combination of these, or none of the above. XML? No problem.

To further illustrate the point of how committed we are to building an architecture that works best for YOU, here are some things we might take into account:

  • Does your pricing come from a different system than your product information? Do you work on future pricing separately and need to publish before it is added to your database? Either way, we can merge them on the way in. For some, it’s as simple as providing the IT team with a data format blueprint they can use to create an export or an ODBC view from their existing enterprise system[s]. 
  • Maybe all you need are a few additional fields in your web database. Or you might need our help to create an ancillary database that holds the information you need to manage and publish but has no other home inside your organization.
  • For others, we may help identify a PIM or CMS system that is right-sized for you or even build a custom one that becomes the single source for all your marketing channel information. We’ll even design it to push out to your various channels — print, web, e-commerce, etc.

There are obviously many ways to proceed with any given situation; our job is to deliver the smartest solution(s) possible that considers all the key variables on the path to success. That’s a commitment that is the foundation of how we approach every project.  

3. Data-to-Design Plug-in Integration

Have you looked around and thought, “I’m not in Kansas anymore”? Well, no need to click your heels or follow the yellow brick road. Avatar will help you meet the man behind the curtain and shed some light on what’s out there and what will work for you. Your environment is unique to you and what you need to automate is just as singular.  We’ll listen to you about what you need to accomplish, what you want to do now and in the future, and we’ll help you find the right software and guide you through implementation.  It can be daunting trying to find that perfect fit when you’re knee-deep in production with deadlines looming.  It may not be your circus but they ARE your flying monkeys, and you have to get those pages out.  Fast.

Avatar’s staff has been in production for more than 30 years, We’ve worked with countless software packages, and can give you firsthand knowledge of what you’ll need.  And once we help get you up and running, we’ll be there for the long haul.  Some of our long-standing clients have been with us for more than 10 years and they don’t hesitate to ask us for help when they need it.

Here are some of our favorite tools for data-to-design work…

  • EasyCatalog
  • WordsFlow
  • DocsFlow
  • InData/Xdata
  • InCatalog/Xcatalog
  • Xtags
  • Custom-scripted apps

Whatever your challenge, if it involves data that needs to be published, we’re up for it! Give us a call today.

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4. Reverse Engineering

Don't have catalog marketing information any place EXCEPT in your InDesign documents? We may be able to help you implement a process to place data links on your existing catalog to extract that content. The extracted content can be used to populate a database or content management system. With this process you may not need to start from scratch to rebuild your catalog. Instead, you can leverage it as you do now — for carry-over or pickup content. Copy and prices will be linked to your data source, so updated content and pricing will flow in through the links —  the holy grail in implementing data-to-design projects.

5. Process Flow Analysis/

Sometimes all you need to get on track with saving time and adding accuracy is a simple change in HOW you do things. Maybe it’s reordering the steps you’ve been following or maybe it’s in revamping a step or two.  It’s easier for someone from the outside to see what’s really there and we’ll keep a keen eye on how to solve your process flow bumps. 

6. Catalog Design

As they always say, another pair of eyes can give you a whole fresh perspective. Avatar’s design consultants can provide you experienced eyes that have been in the business for a long time, seen it all, and can tell you what works and what doesn’t. We can give you seasoned recommendations for a new or updated design that will take what you already have to a whole new level.

7. Solution Architecting

Regardless of your data-to-design publishing needs, we take into account your organization’s strengths and gaps in order to design, blueprint, build, and deploy the just-right solution for your specific situation.

Over the years we’ve tried it all — the cumbersome first attempts at automation to what we have today — to become the experts who will give you an unbiased recommendation on what you need to get you where you’re going. Whether you have 1 language or 100, we can solve your multi-version/language dilemma. Do you want it on the Cloud or in your own backyard? We can do that, too. Just ask...

8. Training and Support

Avatar will supply the training and support you need to be proficient with your solution. We provide most of this with GoToMeeting screen-sharing online sessions, and we record key sessions so you’ll have access to the material to review as needed. 

We’ve been training for a heck of a lot of years and we know how intimidating it can be. We do our best to to remove stress factors by creating a friendly atmosphere where we guide you through the steps you need to be up and running. And as much as we love our students to go off on their own, we will support you on your first production cycle to make sure you have the process down pat before you leave the nest for good.  We’re always here if you need us, but our mark of success is when you feel confident enough to fly on your own.

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9. Custom Automation Applets
for Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign

We love a challenge! One of our favorite assignments is to come up with creative solutions to automation requests that require more than Adobe actions or third-party plug-ins can offer. Give us a shout if you’ve got something repetitive that takes up way too much of your time. Stand back and see what we can whip up!

Looking for a proposal?

Just give us a call and let us know what your objectives are. This starts a process that includes a series of in-depth conversations where Avatar asks the right questions, develops a clear snapshot of your current situation, and designs a project to reach your desired outcome. We take the time to understand what you want, what kind of resources you have: hardware, software, and staff. Once we’ve analyzed your sample files and taken your process and answers into consideration, we’ll give you a recommendation for a project game plan with a development/proof-of-concept engagement or proceed directly to a full project proposal. So reach out today and let us do our part to make your life a lot easier. We look forward to hearing from you!