Air vs. Bynder: A Comparison
If you’re shopping digital asset management (DAM) software in 2021, you’ll find no lack of choice. Many SaaS (that’s “software as a service”) products now exist to serve the needs of different organizations. Some are niche, some claim to be all-encompassing. Air is the most up-to-date and intuitive product on the market — a modern build for modern work. Find out how it compares to Bynder, a legacy figure in the modern digital asset management realm.
Bynder was founded and launched in 2013 as a solution to the existing problems of first-generation DAM products (such as Dropbox), and pioneered the second generation. Since then, both technology and professional workflows have changed quite a bit. Air, founded in 2017 and first launched in early 2020, is pioneering the third generation of digital asset management software — native to the cloud, integrated, and accessible for every person in every role
Digital asset management
If you’re unclear on exactly what digital asset management software is, we have a guide. In summary, DAMs give you a central location for all your digital assets (images, PDFs, documents — marketing assets generally) and provide navigation for those assets. They’re meant to improve workflow and serve as a single source of truth for your brand — storage, organization, and clarity. Air and Bynder both meet these needs, but in different ways, at different values for different organizations, and with some variations in features and user experience.
One of Air’s greatest strengths is ease of scalability. No matter how big or small your business is when you start using the product, your Air workspace will grow and scale in pace with your needs. Are you undergoing a hiring surge? Are you producing content at an exponential rate? Since Air charges both by seat and by storage, you can easily modify your subscription to accommodate your team’s needs.
As your growth really takes off, you can always work with Air’s Sales team to discuss an Enterprise-level contract. Air serves both clients who only use a few gigabytes of data and clients who use a few petabytes of data — use what you need and add more storage as you grow, without having to leave the platform.
Since Bynder is built for larger organizations, there is of course support around scalability. The difference when compared to Air is that you can’t really start using Bynder as a small business. You have to either spend more money than you should be early on, or begin with a different platform that services smaller organizations and then transition to Bynder later on.
Ideally you start with one DAM solution and stick with it throughout the lifetime of your business; that’s the point of this software genre’s centralization play. If you’re already huge, Bynder could be a good choice; if you’ve got a lot of room to grow, Air is the right choice.
The last decade saw the rise of user research and user experience (UX) as a software development focus. Air is a part of that trend, with the end user prioritized from the beginning. The interface itself couldn’t be cleaner. Navigate between or create new workspaces in the sidebar, see notifications (and customize them), use one search bar to find everything, utilize configurable views, and more. Air finds itself in great company alongside productivity tools like Slack and Notion. These products are all accessible, user-friendly, and offer efficient tools in a clean interface.
There are desktop and mobile (including iOS) apps for those who prefer a dedicated experience, but you can access everything Air has to offer within a browser. No DAM is as lightweight, easy to use, and visually appealing, while at the same time offering such deep functionality. Air facilitates seamless collaboration with both internal and external teams — even newcomers to the platform find it easy to use.
Bynder, like Air, also has a clean and intuitive user interface. It’s well-labeled and easy to navigate. Like Air, you can create custom fields and tags to organize your assets to fit your needs. Bynder also allows for easy internal and external collaboration, just like Air. Both platforms offer a user-friendly experience.
Start using Air for free and instantly gain access to 5 GB of storage. Different pricing tiers offer different features, but even free users get near-full functionality (the tradeoff is lower storage). The Plus plan provides 200 GB; the Pro plan provides 2,000 GB; and Enterprise plans include exactly as much storage as the client needs, however big that number may be. The Pro plan is only $30 per user per month — any organization can afford that.
Tiered pricing means smaller organizations, or specific teams within larger organizations, can start using Air quickly and scale up as needed. Enterprise clients can work with Air to figure out what pricing makes the most sense for their specific needs, and they also get custom data backups, usage reporting, integrations, and tools.
Bynder doesn’t offer a free storage plan; it’s not designed for individuals or smaller organizations. There’s also no readily available information about storage plans on their website — to get details, you must request a demo. It’s likely they’re able to provide exactly as much storage as your business requires, just like how Air handles enterprise clients. Since they’ve been around for most of a decade, their list of features is quite long — whatever price your organization ends up paying, you’ll probably be getting a fair value for your specific spend.
Air is still a young product — it boasts full functionality, but many supplemental features are still on the development horizon. Air’s feature categories include: Smart Search; Visual Workspace; Seamless Collaboration; Flexible Structure; Content Transfer; Content Strategy; Versions; and Creative Review.
Bynder has a long list of features organized in a few different categories. Those categories are: Upload & Organize; Find & Share; DIY Administration & Digital rights; Distribute; and Extras. As a legacy product in the modern DAM marketplace, Bynder undeniably excels in sheer number and depth of features.
Air makes sharing and collaboration incredibly easy and lightweight. There’s no need to upload or download large files — just send a link and your collaborators can view a preview within their browser. You can set permissions on the asset, board, and workspace levels. Permissions are slightly different depending on whether you’re just sharing an asset or an entire board, but they basically include view, download, upload, and commenting settings.
You can also choose to password-protect. People you share the link with won’t even need to create an account — there’s no friction whatsoever. Oh, and the links never expire.
Like with Air, you can upload files of any size and simply share a direct link. Bynder also utilizes precise permissions and optional password protection — both products excel here.
One of the main issues with digital work is figuring out how to optimize creative workflow. Large files can take hours to upload and download, making content creation an often tedious process. A designer creates an image in Adobe Illustrator; they upload and email it to their brand management team; the marketers suggest edits; repeat until it’s done and the image is posted to social media.
Marketing teams love Air because it speeds up digital content creation and allows for real-time collaboration. There’s no need for unnecessary uploading and downloading, since you can preview any image within Air’s interface. Robust commenting and feedback tools allow you to automate back-and-forth emails. There’s further automation potential if you use Air’s watch folders; simply drop a file into this folder on your local drive, and it will immediately begin uploading to the corresponding Air board.
Create a board within your Air workspace to host brand guidelines and asset templates for further creative automation. External and internal collaborators alike will have a single source of truth to pre-determine what’s needed from their work. This is one of the areas where Air really shines; it’s built to make the creative process more efficient for everyone involved.
Like Air, Bynder was also designed to automate and optimize the creative process. Both platforms have essentially the same capabilities; you can assign tasks, centralize everything from brand guidelines to templates to finished digital assets, and comment on drafts directly within the platform.
Though Air is still a relatively small (around 40 employees at time of writing) company, it’s also very agile and quick to help. Customer support is a top priority for Air, since customer satisfaction is crucial to early-stage growth. For most issues, the Help Center holds all the answers. For more urgent questions, Air utilizes Intercom as a direct line of communication.
Air keeps developers on call at all times to deal with any ad-hoc issues, and all customers who speak with the Sales team have access to an Account Executive who is always available to work through any issues.
Bynder, like Air, has a Help Center to address most product issues. They also utilize an in-page support chat system and have an email submission form for other issues. The downside is that since it’s a bigger company that (at the time of writing) has more customers, the queue is longer and it takes more time to solve ad-hoc issues.
The main reason to choose Bynder over Air is if you absolutely need features it has that Air currently does not. That said, Air will have those features; it’s just a matter of time. Where Air shines is value, scalability, and ease of use. The difference between the two platforms can be summed up as such: Air is a smaller, newer company and Bynder is a larger, older company. One is agile and rapidly growing; the other is already established. With both offering similar features, the difference could come down to which brand you better identify with and the experience you have talking to sales.
You can sign up for Air right now, for free, and get started. You’ll have instant access to almost every feature you’ll need, plus 5 GB of storage space to play with and help you decide if you want to commit to a paid plan. Worry about spending when you’re actually ready to make a decision.
Do you use Slack? If so, you’ll probably feel right at home using Air — the products have a very similar aesthetic and feel. Plus, Slack was one of the first investors. Follow the money — Air is the future of DAM.