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[Article] Eagle Design Library - the best asset manager for designers?

Jimi Wikman

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When you work with graphics one of the most important aspects is to maintain order among your assets. Having a good system to control stock graphics and reusable vector graphics is essential for a good workflow and proper management of assets. I have struggled to find a system that I like, but now I think I have fond it.

As I was updating some images and tried to locate a specific image I got frustrated and did a deep dive into the asset managers for images that are out there. By accident I stumbled upon Eagle and it looked a bit to good to be true as it had pretty much everything I need.

With a pricing of $29.95 it's very cheap, but they also offer a 30 day free trial. Of course I downloaded it to test it out. I was not disappointed, even if it took a little while longer than needed as I was dumping 1500 images from Dropbox that was not synced locally.  It was a stupid oversight on my end, but it still worked flawlessly.

I have quite a lot of stock photos and vector graphics that are pretty big. Eagle did not care and I could easily batch drop 100 large vector files and Eagle took care of it in seconds. Even adding whole folders was snappy and fast so adding images was a breeze. Once I had most of my images I started looking into how to make order out of the chaos....and it was glorious.



categories in Eagle app.jpg

Adding categories and folders is super easy.  A simple plus button add folders in relation to what folder you are currently in and you can add icons and colors from a predefined selection. Folders can easily be dragged and dropped as you see fit, making this a very easy and satisfying way to work with folders.

You can create two types of folders. Regular folders and smart folders. Regular folders behave as you expect and smart folders allow you to create rules based on a pretty large range of attributes such as type, tags, colors, sizes, notes, shapes, comments and so on. It can be pretty dynamic with multiple rule sets as well.

Tags is easy as pie. You can create as many tags as you like and Eagle will even suggest already existing tags so it's easier to group on existing tags. You can manage tags in a specific area where you can also group and add color to the groups, just like with categories. It does not have icons however, but you can live without that I think.


Comments and Notes

comments and notes eagle app.jpg

This is a bit misleading as it's actually notes and annotations. I was looking for the comments until I realized it was appearing in the image itself and not as a comment area below.

Notes is a section in each image where you can add notes about the image itself. Sometimes you would use something like that to add a link to where the image was found and what copyright is associated to it. In Eagle you have a custom url field for the link, which makes the notes field more focused. Notes is searchable as well, which makes it very useful.

Comments is actually annotations. It means that you can add comments inside the image itself for different purposes. This is amazing as I sometimes have vectors with multiple assets in it. Using annotations I can mark each item so I know where they are. Comments can be searched and filtered as well, which makes it very powerful.


Search and Filter

Skärmklipp 2020-03-01 13.10.25.png

This is the most important part of a good asset manager and Eagle have one of the most dynamic and flexible search and filter function I have seen. Search can be done on pretty much any data you add to the image so it is pretty amazing. The filter however is for me even more useful.

I don't even have to make a search to use the filters, so I can just start in the all section and drill down using the filter options. I can filter on colors that is automatically added to each image, tags, folders, shape, ratings, file types, dates (both predefined and custom), dimensions, notes and URL. You do not even need to know the full data so for url for example you can just start typing the domain for example and that will filter on that domain instantly. It is very powerful and easy to use.


...and more!

Eagle also comes with additional features that are pretty great. For example you can use Eagle to take screenshots and it even comes with a  browser extension for that purpose. The extension allow you to take screenshots as normal with both defined areas and the whole page, but it can also scrape all images from a webpage.  You can filter the images based on size before downloading from the page.

You can easily drag and drop images between applications to either import into Eagle or from Eagle into Photoshop or Sketch for example. You can define auto tagging so images put into a specific folder automatically get a defined tag. Eagle will identify duplicates so you can keep the assets clean and nice. You can also password protect images in case you need to keep them out of prying eyes.

It should be mentioned that Eagle also works great with videos, audio and even fonts.


In short this is an amazing product!


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