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DAM 101

3 Ways to Build a Valuable Asset Archive

Ben Owen

By Ben Owen | Sep 01, 2021

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Think about the coolest fashion trends from “back in the day” when you were young. Some of them probably make you cringe or laugh, but it’s highly likely that a few have found their way back into popular culture. The past is inherently interesting and “vintage” clothing and other fashion trends often become popular again. Just think about flared pants, old-school sneakers, and skinny ties. College students line up outside of thrift stores waiting to get retro clothing.

The fact that things that were once deemed out of style and worthless often still have value doesn’t apply only to fashion trends. The same can be said for the digital content your creative team produces daily. Over time, these “assets” fall out of regular rotation, hold less value to your organization, and eventually become irrelevant.

Without proper organizational standards in place, these “irrelevant” assets can clutter your library and make finding specific, high-priority ones difficult. However, if you separate them from your current assets, where do they go? Just like clothes in a thrift store, they still hold value. In this article, we outline how to capitalize on the worth of your older assets by building an asset archive.

First Things First

Before building your digital archives, you must first create a standardized, easy-to-use, and searchable library of your current assets. Centralize, organize, tag, and name your digital files in a systematic and documented way that aligns with the needs and goals of your stakeholders. While effective digital asset management (DAM) takes work and investment, it’s well worth the cost. Once implemented, the priority assets your team uses and references every day will be available at their fingertips. This results in higher quality content and more efficient teams and helps your organization grow.

To learn more about DAM and how it can help your organization without the burden of educating yourself or hiring someone new, contact Stacks today for a free, short consultation. We’ll take a look at your library and workflows and offer our recommendations.

Three Types of Digital Asset Archives

Once your current asset library is squared away, it’s time to address your archived assets. These are assets that are not used regularly or don’t fit your current branding or strategy. To begin, identify and separate these assets from the rest of your library to ensure they won’t be misused. The last thing you want is to distribute content with out-of-date messaging. Once you’ve done that, decide what kind of archive fits the needs of your team and the value of your archived assets. We’ve outlined three common types of archives below to help you and your team determine the best fit.

1. Historical

For many organizations, their brand identity is deeply rooted in their history. The content and branding on older assets remind their marketing team of the brand’s core values. This allows them to maintain consistency and stay true to the core values of the organization. This is key to maintaining and scaling brand awareness and loyalty. With a historical archive, your users can quickly access older assets and show consumers your brand is still the same one they know and love.

2. For Purchase

Some organizations, especially those in industries like publications or entertainment, create loads of stunning images. As those visual assets pile up, controlling the volume and quality of them in their libraries becomes difficult. If your organization has this issue, you can reduce the number of assets your team has to sort through by developing an archive of assets you can sell or license to others as prints or stock photography. With the permission of your photographers and leveraging APIs and developers, you can quickly create a user-facing store to sell the assets you create but no longer use.

3. Design

Your creative team creates stunning digital assets all the time. These include design files, marketing materials, and collateral. To ensure your team always has a useful library of design elements like backgrounds, layouts, stock imagery, generic colors, and fonts, you can organize them into a design archive. This allows your creative team to quickly find and pull what they need and keeps these types of assets from cluttering your current library.


Once your archive is up and running, you’ll begin realizing value from both your current digital assets and the ones you created long ago, extending their lifecycle exponentially. If you need help determining what kind of archive works for you or with actually creating and organizing your library, contact Stacks today!

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