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At Stacks, we often state that digital asset management (DAM) is the hub of the content ecosystem wheel. It's the single source of truth from which and to which valuable digital assets flow, generating value for the organization and brand along the way.

This isn't to suggest that other components of the content ecosystem aren't vitally important to understand, streamline, and organize to maximize the value of digital assets. Two deeply interconnected examples of this are digital design and the retouching process. The influence each of these elements has on each other and DAM is reciprocal. Both a streamlined retouching workflow and documented, compelling digital design standards have a tremendous impact on the efficiency of a DAM program, and vice versa. 

In this article, we collaborate with View Imaging, a premier retouching and digital design agency focused on supporting brands with high-volume content creation needs, to define what each of these components is, how they intersect, and how they complement each other when done right.


Defining Retouching, Digital Design, and DAM

To begin, it’s important to clearly define the terms we're using. Because each part of the digital content ecosystem is usually siloed, it’s rare for everyone involved to completely understand other systems and workflows and how they impact their own.  To better help cross-functional creative operations teams, Stacks and View Imaging consider this an important topic to discuss. 

Below, are some definitions and additional resources to help you explore each topic more deeply.

Retouching is the enhancing and refining of digital images to achieve a desired look or effect. This can include color correction, blemish removal, compositing elements, and more. 

View Imaging Retouching Levels Shown On Model with Level Explanation
© M.M.LaFlure, Retouching by View Imaging

Digital design is the creation of visual elements like graphics, layouts, and user interfaces for digital platforms. 

Digital asset management, or DAM, is a program composed of people, processes, and platforms centered around the effective management, security, and accessibility of digital assets central to an organization’s goals and objectives.

Where Retouching, Digital Design, and DAM Intersect

The intersection of retouching, digital design, and DAM is where the magic happens. As previously mentioned, each discipline impacts the effectiveness and efficiency of the other, as well as content creation, management, and use as a whole within an organization.

Below, we’ve outlined a few examples of the intersection between each of these components.

Alignment between different creative production workflows is key. This is where an intuitive, user-friendly, and strategically organized DAM becomes a must. Synergy throughout these areas is paramount in ensuring consistency in production. 

Marissa Bennett, CEO, View Imaging

Retouching + Digital Design

Thoughtful digital design provides the canvas for impactful retouched imagery. High-quality retouching elevates digital design by ensuring images are polished and on-brand. Together, these elements create the visual and emotional impact that drives consumer behavior.  Regardless of whether the end goal is brand awareness or driving a purchase conversion, beautiful visuals cause people to pause and consider the idea or call to action.


Digital Design + DAM

DAM programs provide content creators with the infrastructure not only to use existing assets to inspire new designs, but also to leverage existing assets in their new designs, speeding up the whole process. Once created, assets created by designers are securely stored in the DAM system, making them accessible to the teams that need them for review, approval, and use. 

Many DAM programs are integrated directly with other digital platforms like content management systems (CMS) and marketing resource management (MRM) systems. This allows digital designers to utilize their designs in an organized and secure way without logging into and uploading to multiple platforms.


Retouching + DAM

One of the reasons that DAM programs act as the hub of the content ecosystem is that they're capable of housing, streamlining, automating, or integrating with many of the core workflows associated with content creation, including retouching. DAM programs allow users retouching assets to reference brand guidelines and previously retouched assets quickly, thus optimizing processes and ensuring assets stay on-brand.

Many DAM platforms also integrate directly with retouching tools such as Adobe Creative Suite and Capture One, allowing users to upload assets directly to the DAM for review, approval, collaboration, and access by other teams.



When digital design, retouching, and DAM work in harmony, the results are powerful. Streamlined processes, consistent branding, and efficient use of resources all contribute to a stronger content ecosystem and better outcomes for the organization. It's a beneficial cycle that starts with understanding the intersection of these three elements.

By combining the power of DAM and retouching, digital designers can unlock new levels of efficiency, creativity, and brand consistency. With a centralized asset repository, streamlined retouching workflows, and enhanced collaboration capabilities, designers can focus on what they do best—creating stunning digital experiences. Contact Stacks today to learn how our DAM solutions can transform your digital design process! Ready to make your brand more beautiful? Book a call with View Imagingand find out how we can optimize your production workflow! 

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