What is Basecamp?


Where are my Projects?

  • Using pins effectively

What are “pings”?

What is the “Hey!” tab?

What is the Campfire?

How do I use messages effectively?

  • Writing a message
  • Posting compositions for internal review

What are “To-Do’s”?

How do I use the schedule tab effectively?

  • Creating a schedule

What goes in the “Doc’s and Files” area?


What is Basecamp?

Basecamp is a tool used by VISCOM for managing and organizing projects in a single space that everyone can access. The i and layout can be a little overwhelming at first, but the help below should give you a good idea of how the basics are done to get you going.

Below you will find an image of a typical basecamp project overview screen. Here you can find a large variety of information on the current project. In blue below is the project name (you should pay special attention to this as you start to use basecamp, as this is a huge indicator on every single page of basecamp that you are in the current project). In red below is the project leader (rather than asking any random person in VISCOM for help, your very first insinct should be to turn to the project leader of the project. If they cannot help you then the other team members highlighted in orange are your next best bet other than Joe Bautista or Trevor Greenleaf.


Failure t do so can result in confusion not only for yourself, but for everyone else in the current project. And again if you have a question the very first person yo should ask for help is the group leader (in red below).



Where are my Projects?

Projects can be found in the basecamp tab once you have logged in. At the moment you may not have anything in this tab, or you might only have a couple things. In the picture below you can see an example of a typical basecamp tab for a current VISCOM team member.


Using Pins Effectively

One of the great features of this basecamp bar is the ability to pin certain projects so they are easier to find. This can also be used to distinguish your list of projects by parameters that you determine. For example in the picture below we can see that roughly half of the active basecamp groups are pinned in white and the others are not pinned at all. In this example, projects that the student is no longer a part of, or projects that need to be invoiced are the dark purple pins, and the currently active projects the team members is working on are in white. By using this method the team member can effectively manage the projects they are n, and keep track of the things that are most important and possible need to be completed soon.

The use of Pins are entirely up to you, but suggested earlier, the use of pins can be a life saver when it comes to ensuring project consistency.



What are pings?

You might be familiar with pings from places like Facebook, or other social media outlets. Pings inbasecamp work the same was as messaging does in these apps. To send a ping to a team member, click on the ping’s tab and then type in the name of the team member you are trying to reach.

As you can see below, just by typing in  a couple letters to a team members name the system will automatically search the entirety of VISCOM’s database to find people with similar names. After that simply select the name, click the new box next to the name titled “Ping’em” and send your message!

To view all the pings you have ever sent to any VISCOM team member through basecamp simply click the text at the bottom of the purple “Pings” drop down called “See all previous Pings.”



What is the “Hey!” tab?

This tab is where you will find all of your messages that are waiting to be viewed. As you can see in the image below I have 1 notification (as stated by the number next to the tab “hey!”) and within that one notification I have 4 unread posts inside (As shown by the number to the right, inside of the purple box). By clicking on this bar it will take me to this new post in the thread of this basecamp, where I will be able to view the least activity.

You will ONLY receive these notifications for bascamp projects you are currently a part of. So there is no worry about getting spammed with messages  from projects that you have no knowledge about.



What is the Campfire?

The campfire is a group chatting feature that will send a message to every single member of the current basecamp you are in. These members will get a notification in their basecamp, as well as an email that will notify them of your post in the campfire. The campfire is vbest use for things that relate to THIS BACECAMP GROUP ONLY. In other words DO NOT post in a Project “A’s” basceamp when you have questions about project “B.” Doing this will only create confusion amongst the group and yourself. If you are too confused if you are in the right basecamp or not, then message your basecamp project leader, which was covered at the beginning of this guide. They will be able to show you were the correct basecamp for this project is.


Campfires also has a sorting feature. The sorting is the exact same as the basecamp sort filter, and can help you quickly find a basecamps campfire when in need. Shown below is an example of using the search bar in the campfires pull down tab to highlight a specific project. In this image we can see that 3 projects start with “TUC,” and by using the filter we have quickly found all of them and can narrow them down faster that sorting through the original large list of items.



How do I use messages effectively?

the messages tab highlighted in green in the image below should be used for the following purposes…

  • Any information the client gives to the group leader that could help with design and ideas
  • Client information such as briefings, questionnaires, and meeting notes (These should always be retyped and neatly organized BEFORE posting to a  message board)
  • Important information for the group that could benefit the process of the project
  • Inspiration and links to external websites for inspiration on the current project
  • Notes from internal meetings, and client meetings should be posted for the group to see; whether that be for design revisions or project outcomes.


Writing a message

Once inside of the messages tab, by clicking on the highlighted box above you will see all the current messages for THIS BASECAMP PROJECT ONLY in a list. To view these massages, simple click on them, or click on the large green box at the top to create a new message. This cascading list of messages and the green button can be seen in the image below.



Posting compositions for internal reviews.

The new way the VISCOM handles internal reviews are through using the message system. In this new method the group leader of the project will create a message like the one shown below that contains the subject of the message, due date, and any other important information the team members should know.


To post your composition, simple scroll down the very bottom of the page (until the scroll bar stops moving, meaning you are out of sace to scroll down anymore) and you will find a text field like the one in the picture below. All you have to do is drag you image from your computer file handling system (For Mac: Finder, for PC:File Explorer) and place your composition within the message. Once placed Click the green message at the bottom “Add this comment” to add your composition to the message thread for review.




What are “To-Do’s”?

To-Do’s are project leader created events tags that members can check off as they go to make sure they are reaching milestones in the project process. These tags are activated and deactivated for everyone who clicks on them. Meaning if one person clicks on the tab as “completed” then every single team member will have the status of “completed.” f you as a project leader are a bit of a completion and need short term goals for a project that you can tick off as the project moves along, then this is a great tool to alert your basecamp team members of the current stage of the project. Most VISCOM team members will not use this feature, but it is entirely up to you if you decide to manage your project progress in this way.

Below is an example of a To-Do created so I can checkoff the first round internal review once it is completed. I first entered in the “To-Do” name, and then a short description for anyone curious as to what the “To-Do” was about. I then will deceide whether this has a due date, or does not. ALL MILESTONES will have due dates, but for the “To-Do’s” section you do not need to worry about it as much, it is mostly for you to keep track of progress as a group leader within the project.



How do I use the Schedule tab effectively?

The schedules tab can be found on he main basecamp page, in the bottom left corner. Hghlightd in the image below in orange, is the schedules section. This section is perfect for…

  • Scheduling due dates
  • Scheduling meetings
  • Alerting team members of upcoming project milestones


Creating a Schedule

A schedule event should be created for everything you can see possible of having a concrete due date. These include Internal meetings, project meetings, client presentation dates, and due dates for final production material.

When first opening a new schedule by clicking on the green button after opening the tab, you will be greeting with a screen that looks like the one depicted below. On his screen you will…

  1. Give the scheduled event a title, in this case “First Round Internals”
  2. Choose the dates for when the project is due. (A good rule of thumb, and a way to keep your current project team members happy is to give them a week from when everyone was added to the porject. Most fo the time members will be added at production meeting days, so roughly a week from this time is a good stretch f time to come up with a god concept and design).
  3. Check the notification option below your own name (that will appear in the text field above it) (DO NOT WORRY about adding names to the event yet, that will come after you publish the schedule.
  4. Add a description so your team members know what this event is for. Sometimes titles can be vague, and need a bigger explanation to get the point across.


Once all of these steps are complete, click the “Publish this event” button at the bottom of the screen. Once published you will see a screen like the one below.


From here you will click on the “Add/Remove Other people” button (highlighted in red) at the bottom of the screen. Once there you will then check off all the names of the members of this basecamp project. This will then alert all the members of this project of the upcoming date, and alert them automatically one day before the project is due. And unlike the “To-Do’s” section, this CANNOT be checked off and forgotten by any random person. The messages will persist to the team member until the due date has passed.


  1. Check off EVERYONE in the current basecamp project group
  2. MAKE SURE to check the circle box at the bottom to send it to all of the members
  3. SAVE CHANGES to make sure the people you just added and notified stay notified about this event.


What goes in the Doc’s and Files Area?

Docs and files used to be used for internal reviews, however we do not do this anymore. Instead the docs and files section is used exclusively for…

  • Client Files that all basecamp group team members should download for the current project
  • Mock-ups for client presentations (if you as the group leader do not wish to make them all yourself)
  • Final Files (so the group leader can easily download all the content needed for the final client presentation)
  • Inspirations that it int the current project and are not long enough to take up an entire message

Below is an example of a neatly organized Docs And Files section. The only real content here are moldboards for the team members to view and be inspired from, and the client presentation that each team member can view and prepare their presentations with.



and that’s all there is to know for the basics of basecamp. You will pick up your own tricks along the way to help you manage your group efficiently and get along with others quickly. But for now this should at least get you started on your first Project.

Also remember… PC master race.