Get the XD plugin here.
If you’ve ever made digital ad creative you know that rarely will you ever make only one version. There’s just too much ad spend at stake for advertisers to put all of their eggs in a single basket. The problem is: making creative variations is TEDIOUS. We do it all the time - endlessly copy/pasting the same text box over and over again - it’s annoying and creatively draining. After all that copy/paste work, there’s barely enough gas in the tank left to actually care about what you’ve just made.
Fortunately for all of you creative machines out there, we’ve taken the tedium out of building creative experiments. Marpipe for Adobe XD is a free plugin that can be installed directly inside of Adobe XD’s plugins panel. You can download it from here. The plugin allows you to generate every permutation of your creative by using dynamic layers mapped to multiple images/text . You can even use mapped layers across multiple artboards to test layout and styling. Let’s see how we can leverage Marpipe for Adobe XD to save ourselves hours of tedious busy work:
When you first open the plugin you’ll be prompted to sign in or sign up for Marpipe. Follow the link to create your account (don’t worry, it’s free) and enter your information back into the input fields in XD. Luckily for you, the assets you upload through Marpipe for Adobe XD will automatically sync to your account in the web app. In addition, all of the assets used will be auto-tagged using machine vision. Soon, Marpipe users will be able track the ad network performance of their creative assets through their Marpipe account as well.
Now that you’re signed into your Marpipe account inside of Adobe XD, you’ll want to click the account section and choose your default ad account from the dropdown. Marpipe allows you to split assets and experiments across different brands. It’s important to select the relevant account whenever working in the plugin so that your assets sync how you intend them to.
Once you have an artboard with elements that you’re ready to experiment with you’ll notice that selecting an element activates the add button (+) in the plugin panel. Clicking the plus while a rectangle or shape object is selected will prompt you to upload files from your computer. Select the files you want to add as variants to the layer then click open. Once your files are finished uploading you will see them populate in the element group to the left. To save yourself the headache later, you should name the element group by double clicking on “Image Group-1”. This is important because the name will later be used to automatically label each generated artboard with its respective layer variants.
Clicking through each variant in the group will replace the interior image fill of the mapped layer on the artboard. Making adjustments to the layer will apply to all images in the group at once.
Using the add button to map a text element from your design will create a text element group and save the initial state of your text layer as the first variant in the group. Clicking the + near the title of the element group will create a new empty field. To get started, you should create 3-4 text variations and then click through each to see how the text fills in the mapped layer. Note that just as with images, text element groups/variant names can both be edited by double clicking (we promise you, it’s a huge time saver to name as you go).
Now what if you have multiple layers that you want to vary only with each other? To do this, first group those elements, then use the add button to map the group into your experiment. You’ll see a pop-up appear prompting you to map each layer in the group to a new experiment element (currently, Combo Groups require that everything in the group be mapped to a variant). Once you’ve clicked submit, you will see a new combo group appear in the left plugin panel. Just as with a single text element, you can create additional combo variants by clicking the plus next to the title of the group. Clicking through each combo variant will preview both mapped layers on the artboard to the values that you’ve established in the Marpipe for Adobe XD panel.
At this point, you’re rocking with some serious iteration potential, but let’s go ahead and sweeten the deal. Duplicate your artboard and notice that the layers on the duplicated artboard are not mapped to the experiment. You are now free to completely remix your design. Once you have your new design outlined, you can map your desired elements back to the outlined experiment in the left panel by selecting a layer and then clicking the link button on the group that you want to map. Once you’ve mapped all of your elements, previewing different variants in the left panel will swap assets across both of the artboards that you have mapped layers to.
The experiment is now ready to generate. Click that beautiful blue button on the bottom of the left panel and watch as every possible combination of your inputs appear almost instantly across your Adobe XD project. From here, rendering your designs is a breeze. Since every variant has been perfectly named all you have to do is highlight all our artboard variants and use the keyboard shortcut CMD+E to export your selection.
Now that you’ve finished creating your experiment you may want to check out your newly created Marpipe account. Once you navigate to the library you’ll find that all of the assets used in your Marpipe for Adobe XD experiment have been automatically synced to your account and tagged using machine vision. As the features of the web platform expand, you will be able to leverage asset performance tracking to maintain a strong and nuanced understanding of how your creative assets perform in front of your audiences.