How to: Asset Migration (General)

Learn about Asset Migrations and how we do them at Frontify

Updated over a week ago

We’re excited that you’ve decided to implement Frontify as your new Brand Asset Management platform. If you already have a DAM system in place, you might want to migrate your assets to Frontify. In this article, we’re going to show you the steps you want to take, the information we need for asset migration, and how we’re going to do it.

Please talk with your Customer Success Manager about how you want to set up the migration process, the costs involved, and if you have any doubts or questions.

Assets & Metadata

An asset migration always has two main parts:

  1. The assets themselves

  2. The metadata associated with them

The following image shows you how the migration process looks like. You (or your former supplier) need to export everything from the former system to a cloud storage (Amazon S3), the metadata should be exported as a CSV file and structured accordingly to import to Frontify.

Usually, migrating the assets themselves is not really the issue, but the “pièce de resistance” often lies in the metadata and how to map it to the actual assets.

Some DAM systems allow full exports of assets and metadata from the UI of the system. If your former system has that functionality, you can perform a full download by yourself and provide us with:

  • The metadata sheet, after having done the adaptations necessary to match our structure (more about that structure later).

  • The assets in the S3 bucket we’ve prepared for you.

If your former system doesn’t allow a full export from the UI, you have two options:

  • Contact the former system provider and ask them to make that export for you. There are very different reactions from providers when you ask them to do so. Some are very cooperative and support you with it, but some aren’t really keen on helping. If the provider is somehow cooperative, it could make sense to set up a call with them and Frontify to discuss the details of the export. If your provider wants to charge money for the export, try to make sure that they export it in the structure that is needed right from the start.

  • If your former provider has an API in place, you can probably use this API to export your metadata and/or assets. Discuss that option with your former provider, and with us, to define if that way could be an option.

  • You can export the assets by yourself. If there are any kind of bulk downloads available, upload them to Frontify by yourself. If you do, you will only have EXIF data written to images, but no additional metadata associated with the assets. So this should really be considered as a last resort (or if you really want to build everything from scratch).

Now, let’s talk about which assets to migrate:

A DAM migration is your chance to get rid of old assets that you might not need any more in the future. Therefore we recommend planning some time ahead for cleaning up your libraries and assets. This can be done before the migration, or directly in Frontify after we’ve migrated the assets. If you want to get rid of assets before migrating them into Frontify (after the export to the cloud storage) you can just remove the assets from the metadata sheet as we only import assets that are represented in that sheet.

The same goes for metadata associated with the file: If you want to change/delete metadata before the migration, you can do that directly in the metadata sheet. But you can also easily do that after the migration directly in Frontify. One of the big advantages of our system is how easily you can apply metadata to assets. But you might already know that.


An important point is the migration timeline. Don’t underestimate the time you’ll need to prepare everything until it’s ready for the migration. If everything runs smoothly, we can go through with a 2-3 weeks migration, but quite often it needs more time (1-2 months) to migrate all the metadata and assets while cleaning everything up. If you have a set timeline for your migration (due to cancellation of former contracts, go-lives, or similar), please inform us about that at the start, and plan enough resources to manage the tasks you’ve got to do on your end. The better prepared you are, the smoother the whole migration process will be.

A note on migration sizes

For migrations of less than 100GB (a few thousand files) or migrations of assets without metadata, you should instead consider uploading assets to Frontify manually and applying metadata and tags using Bulk Actions, which can result in your migration being processed in only a couple of days, and provide you with full control over the migration timeline.

As a rough guide, the timeline for your migration will follow these steps:

Planning (1-2 weeks)

During the planning phase, you will determine which assets and metadata to migrate, and the structure of your asset libraries within Frontify. We recommend speaking with your Customer Success Manager about how to leverage Frontify’s features for the best results dependent upon your needs.

A DAM migration is your chance to get rid of old assets that you might not need any more in the future, and to clean up or alter any metadata and tags you wish to change.

Export to S3 (dependant on export provider and library size, approximately 2 weeks)

Note: This phase can be run concurrently with the Metadata Sheet Creation

In this phase, you will export your assets from your current provider to an Amazon S3 bucket, for which you will receive credentials from your Customer Success Manager. Most DAM providers will be able to do this for you, but it can also be accomplished by using the AWS Commandline Utility, or a utility such as Cyberduck. There is more information on how to do this in our help article How to Upload Assets to an S3 Bucket.

Metadata sheet creation (1-2 weeks)

The metadata import sheet is the backbone of the migration process which will determine where your assets will be imported and what metadata and tags will be applied to your asset. We strongly recommend that you take the opportunity to review your metadata at this stage since a well taxonomied library will enable your end users to find the perfect asset first time, every time. For recommendations on how to structure your metadata, you can familiarize yourself with How to Structure your Brand in Frontify, and of course speak to your Customer Success Manager or the Solutions Engineer assigned to your migration.

Migration (1-2 weeks)

Today’s the day! Once your assets have been exported and your Migration Sheet perfected, we will begin to run your migration. This will encompass a check to ensure that all assets referenced in your Metadata Sheet are present in your S3 Bucket, before starting the process of moving those assets to your Frontify Libraries and applying the metadata. A good rule of thumb is that it will take 1 day for every 150GB you want to migrate.

Need Specific Support? We’ll Help You Out

Your Customer Success Manager will be happy to support you during this clean-up for general questions that are product-related. If you have more specific needs and require deeper consulting about the structure, the metadata of your assets, or you need someone to take care of the clean-up, please contact us. We are happy to connect you to external specialists for that topic.

Here are other help articles about Asset Migration:

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