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Come Fly With Me

Flying Machine Breaks Boundaries with Adobe

by Thomas Franklin

Part 5 of a 8-part Series

When Adobe went searching for a design firm to beta test and later evangelize its Creative Suite 3, NY-based Flying Machine seemed almost too good to be true.

The agency is nothing if not integrated. The agency’s three principles hail from corporate branding, TV, and new media, combining expertise in three disciplines under a single roof. Adobe’s Creative Suite, which seeks to package a host of design tools for print, the Web, and video, was a natural fit.

"People are used to segmenting those disciplines, but we sought to integrate them to provide the solution for all of our clients visual needs," explains creative director Micha Riss.

"A lot of what we’re asked to do is not run-of-the-mill," he adds.

Flying Machine’s client list includes iconic brands like Harley Davidson, ESPN, A&E, and American Stock, alongside Amnesty International.

"We don’t have a design philosophy because every client has unique needs," Riss says. "Some need big, some need small. The strategy must speak to what the client needs, we design to their message."

That message also includes large format work such as building wraps, billboards, and wall paper, along with unique packaging.

Riss won’t disclose where the firm does its printing other than to note that it’s done in NY and Milan, Italy. "One time we disclosed where we produced a really creative print job," he states, and competitors swarmed the printer trying to duplicate it. "For elaborate packaging, we go out of the country," he adds.

Flying Machine is positioned to handle "all of a company’s visual needs" and as such, has turned to Adobe’s Creative Suite to realize their creative vision. Vector-based designs made in Illustrator can be transformed into a Flash video to be viewed on a 17-inch monitor or made into a towering print graphic for a 17-foot building wrap. Indeed, it can be etched into any material—one of the firm’s recent projects included cigar boxes.

That integration is what made CS appealing to Flying Machine, Riss notes.

The ability to "transparently move files between programs" has helped the efficiency of his agency, Riss says. "We’re not a huge studio and we need to be very efficient." Time saved in the manual creation of graphics and ad collateral is time spent in the creative process, conceiving of high impact campaigns.

Another benefit to the integrated approach is the PDF workflow, Riss says. "People look at it as a way to send files but now clients can work with a PDF in Illustrator. That’s a huge deal."

From a design standpoint, color remains a daunting challenge, Riss observes. "There are so many hurdles from design to final product. Just as software has made the pre-press process easier, we need more assistance with color. When you get to the printer, it’s crunch time. We need them to get it right, and they need to get us done to move onto the next job," he explains. "At the printer, there’s always a moment when your heart is in your chest."

He credits Adobe with a penchant for closely listening to its end users and delivering what clients need. "They have software that’s designed for the user, they understand what we do," Riss concludes.


Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, How Suite it Is 
Click here to read Part 2 of this exclusive online series, Mimicking the Masters
Click here to read Part 3 of this exclusive online series, Sign Making Gets Productive
Click here to read Part 4 of this exclusive online series, Hop on the QuarkXPress

Jun2007, Digital Output

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