Tips to improve your design or creative collaboration workflow
Delivering effective marketing campaign today requires coherent and vibrant design, from blog articles, to landing pages, and video. In fact, every piece of creative work requires it, the industry expects it, and customers demand it. So, in order to be successful, you’ll have to find that place where your design and creative work are best, and where your team of creatives forms the perfect unit.
The way to achieve this is by using design or creative collaboration effectively, but this has the potential to drive you up the wall. It’s almost a certainty, put several creatives in one room and you’ll have opposing viewpoints, and we all know that opposing viewpoints lead to unreasonable arguments. Add to that that you’ll also have to deal with never-ending deadlines and client revisions that create less than optimal outcomes, and you’re up against it in your quest to find the best creative workflow and team efficiency.
So, the key to unlocking this, giving your creative workflow a boost and unlock better designs in the process, by optimizing your design collaboration processes. This may sound complicated, but read on and will give you a few tips to help you improve and promote team efficiency.
What Is Design Or Creative Collaboration?
Put simply, design or creative collaboration is an approach to design that relies on input from various different stakeholders. In other words, creatives pool their talents to creative stunning visuals and impactful content across an entire creative campaign.
This means, that ultimately, creatives don’t only collaborate on single projects, but across the entire range of projects that make up a marketing campaign. This not only make the overall design better, but also ensures consistency across the board and that a client’s brand and values are accurately portrayed, no matter what the medium.
Thus, the ultimate purpose of design or creative collaboration is to deliver creative work that is, as far as possible, accurate, coherent, creative, and in accordance with the client’s brand, values, and goals.
Tips To Improve Your Creative Collaboration Workflow
To deliver the best results possible, design projects in campaigns should strike the perfect balance between creativity and efficient collaboration so that one doesn’t get into the way of the other. This means the design collaboration process should be optimized to deliver the results everyone expects.
Luckily, there are some tips you can use to optimize your design collaboration workflow to ensure the best results.
Strategise And Plan Thoroughly
As the age-old saying goes, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. In other words, proper planning is vital to the success of the project. A proper action plan gives your team members a sense of direction because they know what the end goal is and how they can achieve it. In this sense, you can almost think of your action plan as a road map that your team can follow from the first brief in the campaign to the client being happy with the results at the end.
In order to plan properly, your design and creative plan should be comprehensive and contain details of all the necessary aspects that your team need to know. It should thus include the following:
- The methodology for audience targeting.
- The conceptualising of a user-friendly design.
- The scope of the project and the goals of the campaign.
- The number of stages and the budget requirements for every stage of the project.
- The deadlines for every phase of the project and the final date for delivery.
Define Rules And Roles
Taking into account the action plan, there should be an openness to embrace new practices and ways of thinking, but also clear rules and leaders that will manage and guide the campaign to ensure that the team get the results they want.
In other words, your team members should have similar levels of hierarchy within the bigger team with clearly defined roles, but also do their work in accordance with the ground rules, while the team leader focuses on the expected outcome.
Setting these rules and defining team members’ roles will help your team stay on track and not lose sight of the bigger picture.
Find And Use The Right Tools
Everyone knows that a carpenter won’t take on a project with just a hammer when he also needs saws, screws, screwdrivers, and sanders. Likewise, your team should use the right collaboration tools to ensure the most efficient working relationship between team members. Besides, it’s frustrating to use a tool that causes more problems than it solves, and can lead to bigger problems later on in the process.
For example, when the project involves designing and building a website, the web designer should have access to web design software that has SEO tools, HTML5 support, and social media integration, to name but a few. If he doesn’t, the efficiency of the whole project will suffer.
Now, this is one project and for an entire campaign there will be many more, not only to give your team the tools they need to their best work, but also the tools necessary to enable efficient communication and collaboration.
Likewise, online proofing software will make it easier for your team to receive feedback from different stakeholders and incorporate that into the various designs. This will not only improve collaboration between team members but ensure better results in the end.
The vital thing to keep in mind is that you should use tools that boost efficiency and improve functionality to streamline team communication and improve design quality.
The creative process during a campaign relies on excellent communication between team members. So, at the outset of the project, the expectations in terms of communication should be outlined and you should put together some guidelines and rules and make sure every member of the team receives a copy.
By setting these guidelines, you’ll be able to keep communication in one place, make sure everybody is involved in the conversation and lay the foundations for a methodological approach to the project. This, ultimately, reduces confusion and frustration and improves your design collaboration.
Better Version Control
During the campaign, your team will generate a significant number of files, like digital graphics, draft blog posts, and pieces of copy. These will be saved in several folders. So, whether it’s for past reference or to improve the creative work, these are vital and you can’t afford to lose track of them. And here’s the problem, storing files and digital assets and different versions thereof on a server or in folders in local storage is no longer the best practice when it comes to version control.
What could be helpful is that you take time to share the version control guidelines with your team members and monitor if they’re actually applied. These guidelines should outline where files are saved, what naming conventions will be used, and where the final versions of the files will be uploaded. Another thing that could be helpful is approval workflow software that offers a central repository where all versions of digital assets can be stored.
What’s even more helpful is using approval workflow software to manage version control among your team. This keeps the files up to date and minimizes the possibility of errors when designing. Remember, errors are a setback and take time to fix.
Embrace Reviews And Feedback
A crucial part of the design collaboration process is review and feedback. In simple terms, without feedback, there will be no improvement. This means you’ll have to incorporate regular review and feedback rounds into your design collaboration process. But it’s important to keep in mind that you strike the right balance by letting team members do their work on one hand while also regularly reviewing and giving feedback on work on the other.
For this reason, you must clearly outline the approach you will take with regard to review and feedback at the outset of the project so that there is no confusion later on. You should, for instance, outline when and where the review and feedback rounds will happen and which tools you’ll use to expedite the process. In this way, and by incorporating regular review and feedback, you optimize the design collaboration process.
And like version control, a better way to do this may be an online approval workflow that incorporates online proofing software. In this way, there’s no confusion about guidelines, and feedback is giving when and where it should be. This makes the proves overall more efficient.
Keep Tabs On Progress
You’ll have to keep track of your progress if you want a successfully implemented campaign. This is important whether it’s submitting the first draft, implementing feedback, or making last-minute changes to any of the creative works in the campaign.
Everything should be done on time while not compromising on quality, and the best way to do this is by using clear communication between team members on anything from email to other communication channels like Slack.
If you’re going to deliver excellent campaigns, with attention-grabbing creative deliverables, you’ll have to achieve design collaboration success. This isn’t necessarily hard to do, but you have to do it right. So start by focusing on improving your collaboration workflow, and make the right tools available to your team to make them more efficient and ensure better designs.
We hope these tips will help you improve your workflow and that you’ll soon see a considerable improvement in your design collaboration efforts. If you need more information about us or about our approval workflow software, feel free to contact us or visit our website to learn more.