9 benefits of online proofing for graphic designers

Remember that time you designed something so great that you didn’t even get one piece of feedback?

Oh wait.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the best designer in the world. Chances are, you won’t knock it out of the park on your first try. And when the inevitable feedback does arrive – the typos, the alignment issues, the make-it-pops – you need a way to deal with it. That’s where design proofing comes in.

Here are nine great benefits of online proofing for graphic designers:

  1. Upload all your designs and versions in one place
  2. Collect feedback right on top of your designs
  3. Discuss feedback directly with reviewers
  4. Tick off comments while creating the next version
  5. Compare versions side by side to check what’s changed
  6. Approve designs or request changes in one click
  7. Invite internal and external reviewers to give feedback
  8. Set due dates to keep design reviews moving forwards
  9. You can also review websites and images too

1. Upload all your designs and versions in one place

I’m sure you’ve been there. A bunch of files on your cloud drive, another few on your desktop, then one or two others floating around in the ether. You don’t know exactly where, but they do exist. Somewhere.

The truth is, keeping your designs organized is tough. And when you throw multiple versions into the mix with three or four different naming conventions, things get downright chaotic.

Filestage’s online proofing software can help. It makes it easy to share all your design files in one place, including:

  • Images – social posts, email banners, illustrations
  • PDFs – press ads, brochures, pitch decks
  • Animations – GIFs, display ads, email banners
  • Live websites – webpages, microsites, e-learning content

And the best bit? All your versions appear in a neat stack. So when you’re deep in the trenches of v5 on that social campaign, you can easily refer back to previous versions and comments.

Dashboard with one file expanded

2. Collect feedback right on top of your designs

Getting feedback on designs over email, messenger, and – worst of all – project management tools is a nightmare. And spending hours creating decks just so people can comment next to your content is nobody’s idea of fun!

The hardest part is trying to figure out what on earth people are talking about. If you ask for clarity, you’ll probably have to wait another few days for a response. If you don’t, then you may misinterpret their comments and waste even more time.

With Filestage, your teammates and clients can add feedback right on top of your designs. According to our Year In Review report, this can save one day per month compared to email for everyone in your design proofing process.

Here are a few other ways Filestage makes feedback easier:

  • Zoom, rotate, and drag to hone in on every detail of your designs
  • Click anywhere to create a marker and add a comment
  • Highlight text to give feedback on a specific word or sentence
  • Strikeout text to show which parts should be deleted
  • Draw annotations to make feedback clearer and more visual
  • Add references and important assets as attachments to comments
Design file

3. Discuss feedback directly with reviewers

One of the most exciting benefits of an online proofing system for graphic designers is real-time collaboration.

As the comments roll in, you can reply to your reviewers, making it easy to bounce ideas around or share references. This is especially helpful if you need a specific file to meet their feedback, like a font or logo variant.

With Filestage, you can also:

  • Tag people in a comment thread to bring them into the conversation
  • Post team-only comments and replies to talk privately with your teammates
  • Save comments with time stamps so you have a record of every discussion

And because all the feedback is right alongside your content, you can move faster with full context.

Team-only comment

4. Tick off comments while creating the next version

If collaborating with reviewers is a big benefit of online proofing for designers, this next one is the cherry on top.

Say goodbye to your days of consolidating feedback from email chains, chat threads, and various other sources. With Filestage, comments double as a to-do list for the next version.

You can work through them one by one, ticking them off as you go to make sure you haven’t missed anything. So instead of working from a design brief that’s been filtered through any number of brand, marketing, and project managers, you can get your brief straight from the horse’s mouth.

To-do list

5. Compare versions side by side to check what’s changed

I’ve already talked about how an online proofing system for graphic designers helps with version management. But what about comparing versions?

Traditionally, you would need to open two windows so you can view both versions side by side – that is, if you can find them. But even then, you would need to go through the feedback with a fine tooth comb to make sure you’ve addressed everything.

With Filestage, you can do all that and more in one platform:

  • View any two versions of your design side by side
  • Show and hide the comments for both versions
  • Click on comments to show which part of the design they refer to
Compare versions_ poster

6. Approve designs or request changes in one click

Another great benefit of an online proofing system for graphic designers is having a clear view of who’s approved what.

With tools like email and Slack, it’s difficult to know exactly who has approved your work. Some stakeholders may not reply to your request for feedback. But does that mean they love it, or are they simply too busy to take a look?

When you invite reviewers to give feedback in Filestage, they have a choice between two buttons:

  • ✓ Approve 
  • ↻ Request changes

You can then see all those review decisions from your project dashboard. So you know exactly which designs to work on next and which ones are ready to publish.

Review decisions

7. Invite internal and external reviewers to give feedback

If you work in an agency or large company, you’re probably used to getting approval from a few different groups of stakeholders. In Filestage, we call these “review steps”.

When you set up a project in Filestage, you can create and customize your review steps to suit your approval process. You can then invite your reviewers to make sure all your content gets approved by the right people.

Here are some of the most common review steps teams use in Filestage:

  • Creative
  • Account management
  • Marketing
  • Brand
  • Product
  • Legal
  • Compliance

By breaking the approval process down into specific review steps, you can keep feedback focused on specific topics. This helps to save time and prevents a messy free-for-all of feedback.

Dashboard with multiple review steps

8. Set due dates to keep design reviews moving forwards

According to our Year In Review report, 52% of designers and creatives received delayed feedback on their work in 2021. Not only does this mean you have to waste time chasing people for their comments, it also means you have less time to work on the next version.

Filestage solves this problem with due dates. Every time you share a file, you can set a due date to let your reviewers know when you need feedback. And if they still haven’t given feedback on the day before the due date, Filestage will send automated reminders to give them a nudge.

Discover how Barcelona and LA-based agency, SLAPS, uses Filestage’s graphic design proofing software to half design time and focus on creating their best work →

Set due date

9. Review websites, images, and videos too

Last but not least, online proofing tools aren’t just made for reviewing designs. You can share live websites, images, videos, interactive HTML, documents, and audio files too.

So instead of collecting feedback in email one minute and Figma or Acrobat the next, you can collaborate on all your content in one place.

Multiple file formats

What is a design proof?

A design proof is a piece of design that’s been shared for feedback and approval. The design itself could be anything from a social post to a 100-page brochure. The design is usually exported as an image or PDF and then shared over email, chat, or with a design proofing tool like Filestage.

What is design proofing?

Design proofing is the process of reviewing a design before it goes live or gets sent to the printers. Companies pour huge amounts of money into advertising media spend, so design proofing helps to make sure there aren’t any silly (and costly) mistakes slipping out the door.

What is graphic design proofing software?

Graphic design proofing software replaces the paper- and email-based proofing process to make it more digital. You can share content, invite reviewers to give feedback, and manage all your projects and versions from your browser. So instead of spinning plates across multiple tools and email chains, you can dedicate more time to your designs.

How do you send designs to a client for proofing?

You can send designs to clients for proofing by dragging and dropping your files into a project in Filestage. Then simply invite your client as a reviewer so they can give feedback. Or, if they’re already in your project, they’ll get a notification about the new file automatically. No transfer links timing out. No downloads for your clients. Just quick and easy design proofing in your browser.

Final thoughts

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the benefits of online proofing for designers. In a nutshell, it’s all about saving time on feedback management so you can focus on being a designer and creating your best work.

If you’d like to give design proofing a try with Filestage, you can request a free trial here →