A creative genius can come up with brilliant work in seclusion. But those that do often face challenges getting final approval. The more stakeholders there are in a creative project, the more challenging it is to ensure synchronized communication, manage feedback and opinions, track progress, and meet deadlines.
That's where creative collaboration tools come in handy. Having the right collaboration tools make for speedy feedback from all stakeholders, with everything preserved in translation. Aside from helping with the creativity aspect, the right creative collaboration platform can help track progress, nip issues in the bud, and secure client approval in a stress-free manner.
Here are the seven best web design tools that help with creative collaboration:
Launched in 2016, Figma is a collaborative web application for interface design that supports Linux, macOS, Windows, ChromeOS, Android, and iOS. Figma offers an all-in-one design platform with vector graphics editors and prototyping tools. Also, it provides an online whiteboard for real-time collaboration.
Figma rides on the benefits of the Cloud so you can access your files on the go, share files, and enjoy worry-free editing and collaborating with others. The Vector Networks pen tool is nifty; no need to merge or connect to the original point. The Arc tool makes for easy drawing arc designs. Auto Layout affords responsive design (auto resizing, stretch to fill, certain features auto-translate into code), so you spend time on more meaningful tasks.
Use plugins and widgets to automate tasks, improve workflow, and increase productivity. The modular design helps to speed things up with flexibility. Figma offers unlimited viewers, so you can invite as many as you want into the design process at the early onset. Teammates can view and inspect design files. Also, they can comment and provide feedback speedily.
FigJam, the online whiteboard, allows teams to brainstorm, conduct meetings and workshops, and create workflows in real time. They have over 300 ready-made templates to help you start fast. Interact and converse via audio, live chat, or comments, to give feedback on the go.
You can invite people from other companies to comment on your work for 24 hours with no login required. FigJam allows integrations into Asana, Jira, and GitHub for seamless collaboration. Figma is a versatile cloud-based design collaboration tool where teammates can co-design simultaneously, with immediate modifications and feedback, for seamless collaboration.
Figma has a free forever plan with only three Figma and three FigJam files. If you need to upgrade, you’ll have to consider their paid plans charging you per editor and month.
Established in 2011, Invision is an American visual collaboration platform provider. They claim their award-winning products have seen a 36% faster time-to-market for their customers and five hours saved per collaborator. InVision has had many success stories with IBM, American Express, Atlassian, Google, Netflix, and more. Invision has an iOS mobile app.
InVision’s pride and joy are in its multiplayer whiteboard, a robust and flexible visual collaboration workspace for teams to work in real-time. People come together on this whiteboard to ideate and collaborate, similar to face-to-face interactions. Get started with pre-built templates and spaces dedicated to project management.
There are interactive widgets and reactions, so everyone has a say in every aspect of the project. InVision’s Freehand is a simple and intuitive collaborative canvas that centralizes your workflow for everyone to be on the same page and ensures alignment at every stage. Team members brainstorm, create, and test new ideas to improve workflows.
Freehand allows you to make actionable decisions through greater visibility; teams can confidently work forward. Also, Freehand integrates easily with popular existing tools (Jira, Asana, Google Docs, Zoom, Webex, and more). You can also port over whatever work is done in Miro or Mural via InVision Freehand’s Whiteboard Importer at no additional cost.
Also, InVision emphasizes security by encrypting data with SSL and AES-256 with 24×7 monitoring. The Enterprise plan offers Single Sign-On (SSO), and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Hence, many utilize InVision as a secure one-stop hub for their projects.
Like Figma, Invision also offers a free forever plan, but up to 30 active users and three freehands (online whiteboard space) are available. If you need more users, you scale up and opt for the paid plans. The Enterprise plan affords unlimited users and freehands.
Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, Canva was launched in 2013. Canva is an online graphic design and publishing tool for social media graphics and presentations. They then released a video editing tool in 2021. By the end of 2022, Canva has garnered over 100 million users using Canva each month. Canva's global design community spans more than 190 countries.
There are tons of pre-built free templates that are customizable. Canva allows you to incorporate stock photos and footage from Canva’s media library or drag and drop your logos and icons onto the layout. The editing tools make for easy fine-tuning on anything you’re working on – presentation, website, print brochure, packaging, signage, or other print design types.
Canva for Teams helps teams of all shapes and sizes collaborate better through organized folders. Also, teams can create, schedule, and publish social media posts directly from Canva. Each team member can share the template link with co-workers and invite them to edit and provide feedback in real-time or even allow the team to manage brand assets.
Brainstorm on whiteboards for immediate feedback or approvals. The Insights function gives design analytics information – how many have viewed your design, the number of collaborators, people with access, and more. Whether you're creating a website or a new poster, you can present, download, schedule, and share your designs with Canva. Also, get them printed and shipped directly to you.
With a free plan with limited functionalities, Canva offers paid subscription plans in their Canva Pro and Canva for Teams plans. If you’re looking into harnessing the collaborative features that Canva has to offer, you’ll need to consider Canva for Teams.
Webflow Designer makes for easy collaboration. Take turns editing content and build different styles and layouts with your co-workers. Your teammates can work together on different parts of the design; while one edits the content, another person designs while others build the website structure and layout. Team members can also view in real-time what others are doing.
Depending on your plan, you can share design and editing controls with other team members and clients. Your plan controls the number of content editors you can invite. With Webflow, collaboration becomes tighter, and you can launch your websites faster. You can design and build your website for free for no limited timeframe. However, if you need more pages and features, add a plan.
Webflow's plans come with a Starter plan that is free but with limited features. However, consider their Workspace plans to unlock additional collaboration and team management tools. Contact them for a quote if you need unlimited seats.
Founded in 2014, Filestage is based in the EU. It is a web application to promote collaboration among teams and clients to share, review and approve media content. They claim that with Filestage, there have been 2.3 million files reviewed across industries, and each day has 30% fewer emails to deal with.
Filestage is a web-based tool that provides seamless review and approval for things to move faster, with no delay. Start by configuring a review and approval process (within minutes) to ensure that all work runs through a structured and documented review process. Then, share your file link with others; they can add comments and tag relevant people. Share anything you want with as many as you like; the sky’s the limit. Others do not even require an account to participate.
Upload designs, videos, images, documents, websites, interactive content, audio files, and more in one platform. Set due dates for feedback and track the progress. Organize everything (files, versions, feedback, and more) in one place. No manually keeping track of things and chasing others for feedback anymore.
Filestage integrates well with other systems. For example, you upload a design to your cloud storage, assign review tasks in Asana, and send reminders for feedback in Slack. Also, you control who you want to comment on, share, and more. Filestage is fully GDPR compliant and utilizes AES 256-bit encryption and ISO 27017-certified EU servers. Filestage removes the stress of managing feedback and approval, which can be time-consuming. You’ll find the review rounds reduced.
Although Filestage offers a free plan with restricted functions, you’ll require at least the Professional plan if large teams are involved with different types of reviewers. The great news is that Filestage’s plans allow unlimited team members.
In 2011, Miro evolved from a virtual whiteboard called RealtimeBoard into the robust and capable visual collaboration platform today. Co-headquartered in Amsterdam and San Francisco, Miro has since secured more than 50 million users. Miro is the top visual collaboration platform on G2, with 99% of the Fortune 100 are its customers.
Miro is typically an online collaborative whiteboard platform that facilitates distributed teams to connect, collaborate, and co-create, from brainstorming with digital sticky notes to planning and managing workflows, all in one place. Draw and use images, mind maps, and videos to inspire creative ideas. Align your design and development in a platform in real time.
Miro has a set of collaboration capabilities, including meetings, workshops, video chat, presentations, sharing, and others, for effective cross-functional teamwork. With Miro’s meetings, everyone interacts and co-creates on the project. You can start designing with a stylus, making notes on sticky notes, or even doing a multi-day design sprint or strategy session with others, through a single Miro board.
Peruse over 1300 pre-made templates to break the ice or create your own. Integrations are aplenty, with over 100 apps (Google Docs, Jira, Zoom, and others). Sync and automate Miro boards to save time and effort. Miro deploys ISO-27001 enterprise-grade security through secure sign-in, standardized sharing policies, auto log-outs, and more. It is no wonder Miro appeals for greater creative collaboration.
Although Miro has a free plan, look at the Business plan for advanced collaboration features. The free plan affords you only three editable boards, but collaboration roles are more for the Business plan.
GoVisually powers over 50,000 users in over 140 cities since 2011. Based in Sydney, GoVisually aids creative teams by providing a straightforward way to review creative assets quickly through online proofing. The delivery of creative projects can be hastened, three times faster with fewer confusions and misunderstandings.
GoVisually puts everything (projects, reviews, and approvals) in one place; this streamlines the creative work’s review and approval processes. Reviewers need not register to participate. What makes GoVisually stand out is its visual feedback on designs, PDFs, images, and video content – visually annotate and comment on PNG, JPG, WEBP, PSD, GIFs, and Video (MP4, MOV, WEBM) files.
You can invite unlimited reviewers and share a link with them. Also, share and view any work-in-progress in Adobe Creative Cloud. No more back-and-forth emailing, as your co-workers can annotate, comment, and request changes on the spot. Compare revisions side by side and see the changes through GoVisually’s built-in proof comparison tool. Everyone can tag comments directly on videos, so there is no more using manual timecodes.
There are over 3000 apps you can connect Govisually to (Zapier, Trello, Airtable, Asana, ClickUp, and more). GoVisually also comes in a mobile app; you can get things done on the go. With GoVisually, designers and clients can easily collaborate to comment on and revise projects online, ultimately increasing productivity.
Unlike others on this list, GoVisually does not have a free plan. The Basic plan entices starters, and you get 25 projects with unlimited reviewers. However, contact them for a quote if you need a plan with all the frills. Note that you can request a refund within seven days from the start of your paid subscription.
Collaboration plays an integral role in an effective and efficient creative process. Creative collaboration tools are essential to bringing everyone together to facilitate an efficient design lifecycle process.
After all, everyone wants to see accurate results fast. With the right design collaboration tool, your design processes become streamlined for higher productivity.
That said, no matter the design collaboration tool you use, setting and managing expectations, clear communication, and motivating people toward a common goal are crucial to ensuring tighter collaboration toward great success.