Joe Zeff’s Apps Get Straight A’s

How an agency envisions apps in academia

By Joe Zeff and Teresa Demel

Joe Zeff
Joe Zeff Bobbleheads

It’s Agency Spotlight Week on the Digital Publishing Suite blog! This week, we are highlighting how advertising and creative agencies use DPS to strategically position clients in the mobile space. We will share case studies, a guest blog, and an opinion paper on digital advertising. DPS allows agencies to quickly deliver and flexibly adapt mobile content for their clients, running full speed ahead of the competition. In addition, they are building advertisements in digital publications that merge the best of print and digital, with targeted placement, cutting edge interactivity, and integration with e-commerce.

By Teresa Demel

Today we are shining our spotlight on Joe Zeff Design (JZD), an agency that specializes in DPS. Today’s blog post is a 2-for-1 deal: we have an elegant video on JZD’s strategy, as well as a guest blog from Zeff on his vision for apps in academia.

As Zeff states in the video embedded below, they can compete with traditional programmers because DPS allows them to quickly deliver apps that allow clients to tell a compelling story. In Zeff’s words,

DPS allows us, without a traditional programming background, to deliver really robust apps. And when we go up against traditional programmers, there’s no contest. They have go to down a long runway before they can get up in the air. We have a helicopter. We go straight up. We have been working with some clients that are used to having 4-6 months to develop an app. We’ll develop that same app in 4-6 weeks. If needed, we’ll show them something a week after our meeting that will knock their socks off.

JZD has produced apps for a diverse set of notable magazines, educational institutions, and corporate brands. When defining DPS and its capabilities to a new customer, I could easily point that person to JZD’s app site and say, “This is what is possible in digital publishing.” His team designed National Geographic for the iPhone. They have worked with magazine publishers PC Magazine and Fast Company, both of which were featured early on in my App of the Week video series. But the portfolio extends to second screen apps for Tomb Raider and Mass Effect video games, gameday programs for Notre Dame, a set of educational apps for Kids Discover, a Letters to Shareholders app for JPMorgan Chase, a museum app for the government of Ireland, and an alumni magazine for UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Watch the Joe Zeff Design video to learn how a small agency gains big clients with DPS.

Put Your University at the Head of the Class
By Joe Zeff

After helping the magazine industry migrate its content from paper to pixels, Adobe Digital Publishing Suite is proving to be just as transformative for universities. 

We’re fortunate at Joe Zeff Design to have worked with two of the best, UCLA Anderson School of Management and the University of Notre Dame. We produce a DPS-based magazine for Anderson alumni called Assets that is approaching its third issue, and earlier this year we developed an interactive gameday program for football fans around the world to connect with the Fighting Irish. 

That was just the beginning. We’re currently laying the foundation for broader relationships with UCLA and Notre Dame, and elsewhere. We recently collaborated with Maryland Institute College of Art, one of the country’s top design schools, to develop an app that showcases the work of its graduate students. And next month we’ll meet with dozens of universities as part of an Adobe-sponsored campus tour.

We see universities as the next hotbed for digital publishing. But the opportunity is far greater than digitizing brochures. Imagine:

  • A university engages prospective students using a DPS magazine app that lets you experience a class, read/watch/listen to testimonials from alumni and students, tour the campus virtually, and engage with admissions officers.
  • You’re hooked, and apply for admission through a DPS app. Once accepted, you choose classes from an interactive course catalog that provides crowdsourced feedback on what each class is like, along with a video pitch from specific faculty members as to why you should consider their classes.
  • On the first day of school, you download an orientation app to find your way around campus, relying on interactive maps, real-time calendars showing onboarding events, one-tap access to social networks bustling with other students, and other resources that provide newcomers with immediate answers.
  • No need to go to the bookstore, because many of your course materials are available through another DPS app. Unlike printed books, they’re infused with note-taking functionality, multimedia content, web resources and ways to interact with other students and faculty.
  • Four years pass and it’s time to look for a job. Look no further than your interactive job fair app, which contains curated and social content from potential employers, message boards through which you can connect with recruiters, and real-time job listings.
  • After graduating, you stay connected with the university through the same set of apps that won you over in the first place. But now you can network with other alumni through a DPS app, buy merchandise from your alma mater and make a donation.

Where to begin? Most universities already produce viewbooks and alumni magazines that can be reinvented as iOS, Android and Kindle apps available to consumers worldwide. Typically these types of publications reach a finite audience confined by a mailing list. As DPS apps, they can be made available to prospective students and faculty, peer institutions, sports fans, business partners, press and others. They can be used to engage new students, transact e-commerce, solicit donations and generate new revenue through advertising and sponsorship. 

In many cases, the content to drive these apps already lives on campus, scattered among brochures, videos, websites and PowerPoint decks. Packaged smartly, these materials can tell stories that enhance the university experience and deliver engagement, efficiencies and revenue possibilities. Contact Joe Zeff Design to learn more about how Adobe Digital Publishing Suite can put your university at the head of the class.

  • Hear Joe Zeff speak at the following DPS education roadshows in Newark and Philadelphia.