Collaboration is a fundamental part of any creative project. In fact, a project’s success pretty much depends on it. But the more people involved in a design project, the harder it becomes to communicate clearly, juggle feedback and opinions, and meet deadlines.
Design and creative collaboration tools make it easier and faster for people to work together in real time. And they also help you get feedback and approval in a timely, stress-free manner.
For this guide, we’ve rounded up the best design collaboration software. Some are designed for project planning, others for the actual design stage, and some for managing feedback and approval for when you’re ready to share your designs with the powers that be.
What is design collaboration software?
Design collaboration software is designed to help creative teams work together in real time. It allows you to communicate, solve problems, and work together on project tasks by sharing files and collating feedback all in one place.
So long endless email chains! Farewell disjointed Slack discussions!
The right creative collaboration platform can help you fuel creativity, nip issues in the bud, and monitor the progress of your projects. And it can save a lot of time and confusion when it comes to getting feedback and approval from clients or internal stakeholders.
The best design and creative collaboration tools for planning your projects
Let’s start with the best tools for the planning stage, when you’re ideating, running surveys, and generally putting your thinking caps on.
1. Asana – best for managing your design projects
Asana is a great tool for helping creative teams organize, track, and manage their work. It makes it simple to plan workflows and projects, and you can set deadlines to help keep your team on schedule at every step – from start to finish.
- Plan and structure your design projects in a way that works for you
- Assign tasks and set priorities and deadlines
- Follow your projects and tasks to completion
2. Typeform – best for running surveys
Typeform specializes in online form building and online surveys. Whether you’re running a survey to get data for an infographic or to get feedback on your designs from your teammates, the platform makes it simple to create user-friendly forms that generate valuable responses.
- Create forms, surveys, quizzes, and polls
- Incorporate different types of media to bring questions to life and get the most valuable feedback possible
- Integrate with key platforms to collect and collate data
3. Miro – best for live whiteboard sessions
Miro is a creative collaboration platform that allows you to brainstorm with your team in real time. No matter where you and your teammates are in the world, this online whiteboard application helps you to connect, collaborate, and co-create for ultimate creativity.
- Create, share, collaborate, and save ideas in one place
- Express yourself in real time with sticky notes, images, mind maps, videos, drawing capabilities, and more
- Benefit from seamless integration with other apps
4. FigJam – best for workshopping ideas
Another online whiteboard tool, FigJam is an excellent application for workshopping ideas and helping you and your team to bounce off one another. From concept to design, Figma’s spin-off creative collaboration software helps you keep all your ideas in one place.
- Communicate with sticky notes, sketches, connectors, and expressions
- Add audio files to explain designs and talk through ideas
- Integrate with Figma for seamless UX
5. Notion – best for gathering references
In the initial stages of the design process, it might come in handy to save screenshots or links to websites that you and your team find inspiring. Notion is a Wiki-style tool that can be used in a whole host of ways, but it works particularly well for gathering references collaboratively. Store and organize them in different pages so that you and your team can refer back to them throughout the process.
- Customize it to suit your workflow
- Choose from thousands of free templates
- Integrate with dozens of other tools
The best real-time design collaboration tools
Want to collaborate with your team on designs in real time? Let’s take a look at the best tools for the job.
6. Figma – best for collaborating on designs and prototypes
Figma allows design teams to work together, no matter where you all are in the world. You and your teammates can co-design at the same time, and you’ll see changes and comments appear immediately, for flawless collaboration.
- Collaborate from anywhere on any device
- Add in-context comments and tag your teammates for clear communication
- View version history so nothing gets lost
7. Invision – best for managing every phase of the design process
Invision is an online whiteboard-meets-productivity platform that helps creatives to manage every phase of the design process, from kickoff to handoff. Use it to centralize your entire workflow so you and your team can collaborate in one place every step of the way.
- Collaborate using the built-in whiteboard software
- Choose from over 100 templates to help you work smarter
- Integrate with all your favorite tools
8. Canva – best for collaborating on print designs
If you’re working on a print brochure, packaging, signage, or another type of print design, then Canva makes collaboration a breeze. Its software allows you to create professional designs – and they’ll even print them for you.
- Invite team members, allocate tasks, and publish or share, all from the one place
- Leave feedback with real-time comments and reactions
- Track your team’s progress with the insights function
9. Webflow – best for no-code web design
- Design your website and edit without having to write code
- See in real time what others are working on within your project
- Hand design control over to your teammates
And finally, the best creative collaboration software for managing feedback and approval
10. Filestage – best for reviewing design content
Filestage takes the stress out managing feedback and getting sign off by making it easy for you to collaborate in the design review process. You can invite as many people as you like to review your designs on the platform, and all feedback is collected in one place. Reviewers can see what others have already suggested, and they can leave feedback in a variety of ways – depending on how they prefer to express themselves.
- Create review steps (with due dates) for each stage of your project and invite different stakeholders to different steps
- Leave in-context comments and visual annotations, and add attachments
- Turn comments into a to-do list so your team has a clear picture of what needs amending
- Keep track of the project status using the project dashboard and see who’s left to review the designs
Design collaboration tools make it easy for you to work with your team at every stage of the design process – from ideation to approval. If you’d like to see for yourself how Filestage could help with reviewing design content, you can request a free trial here →