Under Pressure – David Bowie Style

Healthways is basically a healthcare company (even though we hate using the word ‘healthcare’ – it’s just easier to say). We partner with major companies and offer well-being services to their employees. For example, we recently acquired the State of Tennessee (a huge feat for us), and now those employees will get access to fitness classes, professionally-monitored weight management, de-stress programs, and they can even get help to quit smoking.

Each of these clients have marketing materials that get sent out to their employees. These materials include posters, flyers, table tents, emails, web pages, etc. And each of the designers that I work with are assigned to these clients. We work with our Engagement Marketing team who then works directly with the clients.

I’ve recently been assigned to a client out of Washington D.C. called OPM – Office of Personnel Management. This client has been transferred to me from another Healthways designer out of Salt Lake. It is the very first client to be assigned to me since I began working here and will be mine forever and ever.

Most of our clients are very large and use our standard templates and formats for each of the programs we offer. But OPM is different. It is much smaller than our other clients (about 1800 lives) and uses their own templates, which was no big deal to me because I didn’t know any different when it was assigned to me.

Anyway, it turns out that the previous designer for OPM did everything from flyers to emails, so when they told me this, I was a little overwhelmed at all of the stuff I’d have to do. There were quite a bit more emails than print materials. But I’d worked with code before and thought I’d be able to figure it out. Easy, right?


For the most part, in the beginning, I was able to get away with editing the previous emails in their .oft form and send it back to Engagement for approval. This worked for a little while, but then I realized the quality was not as good as Michelle’s (the previous designer) was. So, I was obviously doing something wrong, and I needed to figure it out. I figured it was because I was just editing old emails and all the back and forth was messing up the quality. So now I had to figure out how to build these things myself.

I began at the bottom slicing up a pdf in Photoshop and bringing it into Dreamweaver. I emailed Michelle probably 27 times about this and was really taking my time trying not to stress about it. Then the call came that Engagement needed the email that was supposed to go out in two days…


I’d gotten stuck on one thing and couldn’t figure out how to fix it. And I had next to nothing else figured out. How the hell was this going to happen? I was going to be fired. This was it. I’d moved all the way to Nashville only to have to go back home after 5 months.

Well, let me just say…there’s nothing like a little pressure to help you figure something out quickly. After talking to three designers and a fleeting thought of jumping in front of a bus to get me out of this predicament, I figured out how to go from a Photoshop file to an oft file in no less than 24 hours.

Only after all of this went down did I learn that we usually outsource HTML stuff to a totally different company. UGH. It would’ve been nice to know that about a month ago, but I’m glad I didn’t because now that I can do it, we are in the process of moving that stuff in-house. And I can rest easy. At least until the next client comes around with something new.

It’s actually one of the easiest things I’ve ever done in Dreamweaver.

This is what I’m working with.

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