Efficient collaboration is key to the success of any project. Especially for creative teams, it can be challenging to brainstorm, plan, create and collaborate on designs.
Making the design process more efficient is essential for any business, and that’s where design collaboration tools come in. This article is about how you can improve design collaboration with colleagues, partners, and clients. So if you’re looking for the best design collaboration tools for your team, keep on reading.
What is design collaboration?
Design collaboration is a process where creative teams and their clients work together on a design project. This includes planning and developing a strategy based on user feedback to bring the best design to life.
When it comes to design, the input of the client and every team member is valuable. The feedback helps the designers determine the strengths and weaknesses of a proposed concept. Also, it allows them to evaluate and modify the changes and get approval on designs with nothing lost in translation.
Great design collaboration ensures efficient communication and transparency amongst teammates, which makes collaboration tools something you can’t afford to cut back on. The following section will help you find your favorite design collaboration tool.
Best design collaboration tools
Perhaps you’ll agree with me that not just any design collaboration tool best addresses your needs but the best. Different tools are designed to perform various tasks. We have categorized the tools based on their major purpose. This will help you narrow down the best tool that suits you. Please read on.
These are the design collaboration tools we’ve included in this article:
Filestage is a review and approval tool that helps creatives to share, review, and collaborate on designs, images, videos and other file types with colleagues, partners, or clients.
Invited reviewers can tap anywhere in the file to leave a comment or add an annotation. This makes design feedback fast, easy and visual for everyone. Plus, they can discuss changes in the comment section and collaborate on files in real-time.
Additionally, Filestage helps your team to meet deadlines by sending automatic due date reminders to all reviewers. Moreover, you can track your project’s progress and improve the overall transparency for your design projects.
- Set up customized approval processes
- Real-time collaboration & notifications
- Automatic to-do list
- Set due dates for files
- Automatic file versioning
- Compare different versions side by side
- Supports multiple image file types
ProofHub is an all-in-one project management and collaboration tool with a simple and intuitive interface. It helps design teams work together effectively by providing a central platform for communication, file sharing, task management, progress status, and feedback.
What makes ProofHub the main attraction for designers is its inbuilt proofing tool. While providing feedback through email can lead to confusion and waste a lot of time, designers can provide feedback on designs in a precise way by its annotation and markup tools such that designers get clarity on what needs to be changed where.
- Real-time feedback
- Set up approval processes
- Annotation and markup tool
Basecamp is a collaboration software that you can use for internal and external collaboration on different phases of your design projects. This tool also integrates with several other tools, giving you seemingly business management possibilities to do with the tool.
With Basecamp, you can create and assign tasks, set deadlines, reminders, and milestones. It also has a chat platform that supports real-time conversations, both private and within the group.
Basecamp’s search lets you find what you’re looking for without having to scroll through hundreds of results or search across projects, chats, and files. This way, you can spend more time on more vital tasks that will move the project forward.
- Supports real-time private and group conversations
- Track project progress in real-time
- Universal search feature
Wrike is a work management solution that prides itself on its scalability across teams. The tool offers project managers the ability to gain visibility into the status of their projects using a range of real-time reports and status reviews. The ability to centralize communications and simplify planning makes this a good option as a design project management tool.
- Innovative three-pane view dashboard
- Monitor overall task progress
- Easy project categorization
- Intuitive charts and infographics for project monitoring
Workzone is a piece of project management software that places an emphasis on usability and functionality. It is a top-rated tool that aims to hit the sweet spot: it bills itself as more robust than entry-level tools but less complicated than high-end solutions like Microsoft Project. The platform’s collaboration tools help project managers to effectively coordinate their design projects.
- Dashboard for project viewing
- Project templates for projects/tasks
- A calendar feature for tracking deadlines
- Workload reports for reviewing resources
- Document management and sharing functionality
If you’re a team or have teams under you, GoVisually can be a good review & approval tool for you. With this tool, you can upload designs and send the team’s projects to members, clients, stakeholders, and designers. The tool is simple to use and one can easily upload images and get immediate feedback.
- Version control to monitor revisions
- Real-time notifications
- Support for a variety of file types including PNG, JPG, etc.
- Markup tool
- Time and due date tracking
- Permission management based on roles
- Integration with Slack
Conceptboard is a web-based collaborative cloud-synced whiteboard that has an integrated chat system that enhances live discussion. You’ll get to enjoy such features as mark-ups, text, sticky notes, and shapes from the Whiteboard Toolkit. The tool also has real-time collaboration features and live annotations. You can create interactive presentations and use video conferencing to communicate with the members.
- Interactive drawing tools for designers
- Live cursors matched to participants’ names
- Centralized workspace for everyone’s ideas
- Supports multimedia files annotation
- Shareable links to boards with password protection
Concept Inbox enables you to send and receive notes, updates, revisions, and comments on your assets and projects. And you’ll need not to be knowledgeable with coding to create interactive prototypes to be reviewed by clients or team members. The tool also enhances live collaboration where you can communicate, brainstorm and get instant feedback. This tool is viable for connection with several other tools like Trello and Slack.
- Supports in-context annotations
- Version control and management function
- Real-time collaboration
- Customizable In-app and email notifications
Red Pen is a suitable tool for you if you’re interested in smaller designs where instant views will be necessary. It shows you who’s live and the feedback at that moment. This tool allows you to upload one or more images to your project. It allows unlimited collaborators that you can use to better the management of your projects.
- Real-time communication and document collaboration
- Project organization tool
- Supports unlimited number of reviewers
- Version management tracking
LookAt aims to offer creatives a simple way to share and discuss their work in progress. It achieves this by helping team members to collaborate on their media files in real-time while also managing the overall creative process with clarity. Integrations with other platforms makes this a useful design review and approval tool.
- Real-time review and collaboration
- Integrations with Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere
- Support VR/360 video production
- Version management
- Version comparison feature with split screen functionality
- Group and private sharing
Ziflow is a piece of online proofing software that is used by both agencies and brands to streamline the review and approval of their content. The tool offers a suite of collaboration features that help to speed up content approval – a notoriously time-consuming and complex process.
- Proof list where designers can upload and track documents
- Customizable review feature
- A review tool for processing large-scale images
- Version comparison is supported in two modes
- Video proofing with support for time-coded annotations
This collaboration and planning tool comes with a big HTML5 drawing whiteboard where you can get inspiration and team feedback – you have to drag and drop documents, links, and rich media files. Mural has a visual aid system that allows people to give their honest feedback with no fear of retaliation. It also has fully-editable templates to choose from. This software is supported by iPad, iPhone, and Windows.
- Sticky notes and text feature
- Add shapes and connectors
- Framework feature to organize ideas and designs
- An extensive icon library
- Drawing tool for writing and freehand sketching ideas
- Drag and drop files
InVision is a design collaboration software that has a variety of what your design team requires for smooth communication and collaboration – gorgeous UI, mood board view, and a realistic web design view among other features. You can send shareable links of the designs to clients or team members for them to view and comment.
- Vector drawing tool
- Prototyping feature with an extensive gesture list
- Collaboration features and real-time version updates
- Freehand dressing tool
- InVision Studio accounts
You can try Zeplin if you’re a web tool designer or developer interested in making comments and messages on the latest web design and elements in real-time. This software also provides relevant code snippets necessary to make the implementation of the elements on your website or app. The tool allows for a Slack integration where you can inform your team members of any design changes.
- Customizable notifications
- Components variants feature
- Access to components in your codebase
- Support frameworks like Angular, React, etc.
- Integrations with design and editing tools
- Design version control and version history
Adobe XD is a timesaving design tool that enables you to create several artboards as quickly as possible. And you can easily replicate files and elements using the Repeat Grid tool. It also allows you to create overlays to stack content without duplicating artboards. Plus, you can import files from Sketch, Illustrator, or Photoshop and access them inside the app. The files will be converted automatically to XD documents. You’ll then preview your work and make the necessary changes.
- Design specs feature which streamlines the handoff process
- Co-editing feature for real time design updates
- Reusable design elements
- Document history to track previous versions of designs
- Password protection for shared links and design specs
Sketch is a tool that allows you and your team to collaborate on designs throughout the entire design process. You’ll be able to share your files with team members and gather feedback. You can add several devices to your current license and go to your license manager to manage them.
- Real-time collaboration
- Permission management
- Version control for changes in real-time
- Grids and guides for precision
- Symbols feature for creating design elements
- Libraries where designers can share their symbols
This is a web prototyping tool that you won’t regret having as a designer. It’s best fit for idea-testing and wireframing with fast learning, design, and interaction. Mockplus has over 3000 icons and 200+ web components to help you create your layout. This way, you can design elements using your preferred style from wireframing to fully-functional prototype previewing. And what’s more interesting is the availability of thousands of free resources you can apply to prototype your web project.
- Workflow customization
- “Comment” and “Review” modes
- Page and version comparison
- Document referencing
- Full-view storyboard
- Auto-generated style guides and smart gestures animations
- Integrations with Sketch, Figma and Axure
If you’re looking for a tool where your team can collaborate on prototypes, wireframes, and mockups, then Moqups is the right tool. It’s a universally-friendly platform for you as a designer with a great integration to some other collaboration tools like Dropbox and Slack.
- Built-in library for stencils and icons
- Unique collection of Moqups templates
- Free online graph and flowchart maker
- Page linking and management
- Object editing and image construction
- Presentation tools to facilitate communication and collaboration
When it comes to web design prototyping, Marvel is among the best tools you can use. With prototyping, you can give an interactive look to your design without coding. And your team members or clients can have access throughout the stages and can collaborate and give feedback easily.
- Rich design tool fitted with millions of assets
- Hand-off tool for better development process
- Shared folders, activity notifications, and integrations
- Reusable project elements
- Automatically generated code
- Centralized workspace for collaborative design ideas
ProtoPie is a prototyping and mockup tool that gives designers the power to create interactive prototypes for intuitive digital products. The tool places a huge emphasis on usability and clarity and this alone makes it a popular choice among UI and UX professionals. The tool also makes it simple to share those prototypes with the team and test them on a range of devices anywhere.
- Interaction handoffs and libraries
- Voice / camera / typing interaction
- UI and UX prototyping
- Version control
- Drag and drop files
Best free and easy to use design collaboration tools
In this section, we will review the best free design collaboration tools that help designers and product managers keep their creative teams on the same page – at all times. These tools ensure employees are in sync with shared assets and real-time collaboration to improve communication and boost project management.
If you’re looking for a mobile and web tool for creating UI, you can try Figma. You’re able to create prototypes, mobile and web designs, and wireframes and can review and revise them. It has a detailed graphic design tool where you can access pen, shape, and font tools to write, draft, draw, and create crisp scalable vector artwork at your station.
- Figma component library
- Inspect tab for designers
- Instance swap menu for easy switching between components
- Unlimited number of collaborators
- Unique Figma templates, plugins and integrations
- Unlimited use of personal files
- Figma and 3 FigJam files
This is a browser-based tool that groups all activities of your team and allows your members to create quite a number of captivating visual projects within a short period of time. Such projects include web content, infographics, or presentations. With Visme, you’ll be able to keep your projects organized and can efficiently collaborate with your members.
- Folders for data categorization
- Offline mode with support for editing and presenting
- Automation of online presentations and analytics
- Project and document templates
- Drag and drop functionality
- Audio file management and video support with streaming capabilities
- Customer activity reports
- Integration with Microsoft Office
Piktochart is one of the best design tools for teams. It gives you the ability to create and work on visuals together regardless of the location of the members. You can create your own design ideas or adapt those of your colleagues. This tool enhances simple and fast ways of creating and sharing project ideas and collaboration among members.
- Copyright-free images, illustrations, icons and templates
- Unlimited access to charts and maps
- Supports up to three additional members on one team
- 100MB storage capacity for multimedia files
- Up to 5 active visuals
- Create one free folder
Canva is an online design platform that gives beginner and expert designers alike the ability to collaborate on their graphic design projects. It is an intuitive platform that makes it easy to use templates to create stunning designs. The collaboration features also mean that it’s a great option for prototyping and sharing ideas with the team. The tool places a strong emphasis on simplicity and this makes it a user-friendly platform.
- Real time collaboration and commenting
- Built-in workflows for designers
- Lots of free templates, design types, logos, photos and graphics
- Two free folders
- 5GB of cloud storage
This is a cloud platform that allows your team members to log in regardless of their location provided they’ve access to the internet. Asana‘s dashboard has three panels where you can get access to all the data you require for the assigned project(s). You’ll be able to get an overview of all the continuing projects in your business.
- Task management function
- Assigning tasks and setting deadlines
- Collaboration with up to 15 team members
- Free project templates
- Three viewing modes for projects (board view, calendar view, and list view)
- Integrations with other editing and time management tools
The style, performance, and simplicity of this tool have made it one of the best project management tools in the market. Trello enables you and your remote team to improve on productivity through visualization of what needs to be done. And you’ll get to enjoy the tool’s several unique methods of using it to monitor product issues, requests, and updates.
- Unlimited number of cards, power-ups, members
- Unlimited storage space with 10 MB per file
- Up to 10 boards per workspace
- Extensive library of custom backgrounds and stickers
- Assignee and due dates
This tool offers a “virtual office” feature where, as a designer, you can effectively collaborate with every other party involved in the design process. Binfire also comes with project management platforms – Waterfall, Agile, and a hybrid of the two and this enables you to work on diverse project types. This software embraces effective communication between the team members concerning issues around the project.
- Interactive whiteboard for real-time communication with collaborators
- Internal messaging
- Document collaboration with PDF markup tool
- Real-time notification
- Google Doc and Dropbox integration
Cage is a project management software that can be used by your design and production team. It streamlines, in one place, the project management, communication, collaborative media reviews, and approval routing for creative teams. What this means is that you’ll spend less time on calls, emails, and meetings and enjoy successfully completed projects and, perhaps, concentrate on planning for other projects.
- Task management with comments, lists and tracking functions
- Shareable custom brand and design file presentations
- Dashboard and activity streams
- Version management
- Sketch tool for pointing out particular components
- Unlimited number of reviewers
- Integrations with Slack, Dropbox, XD and Photoshop
Bit is a new cloud-based collaboration tool that helps design teams create, manage and store their design documents and other media assets in one place. If you are working on any design projects for your business, clients or creating marketing assets, Bit is the go-to tool to do just that.
You can easily embed your designs from Behance, Figma, Marvel, Sketchfab, Canva, Indesign or more such design tools, to any Bit document and start collaborating and receiving feedback. Create interactive storyboards, brand assets, design projects, portfolios and much more.
- Smart editor with real-time comments and co-editing
- Built-in document tracking for studying user engagement
- Password protection for sensitive documents
- Trackable and shareable live links for documents
- Integration with Google Drive, Box and OneDrive
Flock is a collaboration and communication tool that helps bring your team together, communicate ideas, discuss the assigned project, and complete the project in real-time. Other than chats, you can also access video calls when communicating with remote teams.
You can also invite guests to the platform without them accessing the sensitive information of the organization. This tool also allows you to bookmark significant messages for later and can integrate them with several other collaboration tools for efficient operations.
- Direct one-to-one chat and group conversations via channels
- One-click video calling and audio conferencing
- Advanced search functions
- Guest access to discuss projects with clients and collaborators
- Message tagging and bookmarking
- Team management and access control
With the many design collaboration tools available on the market, there’s a high chance you’ll get confused with the best alternative for you. But lucky for you, we’ve saved you the hassle.
You can easily identify a tool that best fits your needs from the different categories above. Improve your business and channel it forwards today by integrating the relevance of these best collaboration software into your workflow. Good luck!
Max is a SaaS enthusiast and loves actionable content that provides direct value.