updated 09:35 am EST, Thu December 14, 2006
BrandAssistant for Quark 7
Canto Software today announced BrandAssistant, a new software application that offers professional digital asset management right from within QuarkXPress 7. The software reduces production and approval delays, decreases time to market and increases asset security and distribution control, according to the company. In addition to finding cataloged files and composition zones (and using drag & drop to place them in layouts), BrandAssistant enables layout artists to catalog new layouts, autocatalog assets used in those layouts, and even mark files ready for review--without leaving the QuarkXPress environment. The complete text used in layouts can be cataloged as searchable metadata, making it easy to find files based on their content. In addition, the asset-relations tracking technology, first introduced with Cumulus 7, is included, enabling users to find assets based on their relationships with other assets: contains/is contained in, references/is referenced by, and more.
BrandAssistant is based upon a full version of Cumulus 7 Workgroup, offering complete, version-controlled digital asset management, even for projects outside the QuarkXPress workflow. All file formats are supported, and Cumulus offers enhanced metadata support for the most popular file formats, including PDF, Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Illustrator, TIF and many more. From within QuarkXPress 7, users can access and place any file format supported by QuarkXPress, including text, images and composition zones.
Outside QuarkXPress 7, users can access asset libraries using the Cumulus Native Client included for Mac OS X and Windows. Using the client, users can catalog assets, edit metadata, and take advantage of the powerful permissions scheme native to Cumulus systems. Permissions settings can ensure that layout artists access approved assets only, and that clients don't see each others' files. The company said that full version control is available for all asset types and check out/in ensures asset updates aren't overwritten.
Clients can connect and access review files using the new "Web 2.0"-based Cumulus Web Client, which offers advanced capabilities and requires no plug-ins or special software. It supports most browsers, including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari.
Upon completion, BrandAssistant can transfer all output files to the Print House via ftp, or the Print House can log into BrandAssistant to access the files remotely.
BrandAssistant can be purchased for $6000/€6000 until the end of January ($6,800/€6,800 thereafter) for a 3-user license. (BrandAssistant's Web access for clients ties up no user licenses.) It comes with a year's worth of Software Maintenance, including free updates and expert technical support. Additional user licenses and option products are available. The BrandAssistant Server is available for Mac OS X (Universal Binary) or Windows (2000, 2003, XP). Cumulus Client software is available for Mac OS X, Windows and the Web.