Best Design Collaboration Tools In 2021

Designers don’t work in isolation. Whether it’s a design agency sharing the workload of one project across a team or an individual designer seeking feedback and, ultimately, a sign-off from a client, collaboration is an important part of what designers do. So too is selecting the right design collaboration software for the job.

Which design collaboration tools will help out the most? Whether it’s web design collaboration tools, online design collaboration tools or just a truly great voice-based messaging app to help designers deliver, we’ve assembled just such a list to fill you in.

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The Best Design Collaboration Tools Around

Here are five of the best design collaboration tools you definitely need to try in 2021.

1. Echo

Nothing ensures team-based collaboration better than a chat app that allows team members to message one another or the entire group. Doing this saves firing off dozens of emails that wind up clogging up inboxes in a suboptimal manner. Echo takes the concept of a team-based messaging chat app one step further by building it around, well, literal chat.

It’s a messaging app that lets users send voice messages to one another. Users can choose between either listening to the voice-based correspondence or reading a transcript created using state-of-the-art speech recognition. Designers spend enough time staring at screens without having to worry about writing long text-based messages to describe exactly what they’re doing. Echo makes the process seamless. It’s a perfect online design collaboration tool.

👍🏼   Pros:
  • Straightforward, intuitive UI that makes communication as straightforward as possible.
  • Offers the sense of live interaction even if team members are working remotely, sometimes asynchronously across different time zones.
  • Gives you the option of listening to messages as audio or reading a transcript.
👎🏼   Cons:
  • It’s available only on Mac right now. (But that could change in the future.)

Platforms supported: Mac

Price: Free tier available. Standard version for teams with added functionality is $5 per month per person, paid annually.

2. Visme

Whether you’re looking to create a presentation, an infographic, or a beautifully branded document, Visme is the solution you’re looking for. Supporting both individual projects and team-based collaboration efforts, Visme makes it straightforward to create a professional-looking finished product from a wide range of templates. You can then publish it online, embed it on a website or download it for use offline. It’s such a perfect design tool you don’t even have to be a great designer to get a fantastic-looking finished product!

👍🏼   Pros:
  • Incredibly comprehensive online design collaboration tool that lets you create a professional product rapidly.
  • High-quality graphics and templates available ensure that every piece of branded content looks great.
👎🏼   Cons:
  • Options could prove overwhelming.

Platforms supported: Windows, Mac

Cost: Free tier available. Paid options depend on business requirements.

3. Asana

If you’re working on a project on your own, it’s easy to keep tabs on how far along with it you are and who is responsible for moving it through to completion. But how about if it’s a collaborative effort? That can make things a bit tougher.

Asana, a group collaboration software task board, helps solve that problem. It allows users to create multiple columns and shuttle card-based tasks between them to visualize the workflow progression. Along with attaching files and links to cards, you can also leave notes, tag different team members, add subtasks, and more. It’s a great, easy way of making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to completing a particular project.

👍🏼   Pros:
  • Makes visualizing a project’s workflow from start to finish easy. You’ll never again be confused about how far along a project is, who is currently responsible for it, where the roadblocks are, and more.
  • Heavily customizable depending on the needs of the team. You can change the names and number of columns (representing stages of the project) to fit whatever suits your team.
  • Straightforward drag-and-drop interface. Easy to learn, but surprisingly deep when it comes to features.
  • Tools like status updates and progress reports help you quickly and easily check to find out if a certain project is on target for completion when required.
👎🏼   Cons:
  • Boards that have a large number of cards and complicated workflows in play can get a bit messy (although it’s still workable).
  • While there’s no storage limit for the number of files you can upload, individual files may only be 100MB in size. If you’re working in a field like design, where files may be considerably larger than that, you’ll probably need to rely on external storage solutions like the next one on our list. (Don’t worry, though: You can still link to these files in Asana.)

Platforms supported: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Cost: Free tier available. Paid options depend on business size and your admin needs. Pricing starts at $10.99 per month when paid annually.

4. Google Drive

Google Drive is just one of the cloud storage solutions out there (also consider the likes of Dropbox, IDrive, pCloud, and others), but it’s a very good one. Anyone who works in a graphics-intensive business knows that files can get pretty darn big.

Google’s cloud storage offers a generous 15GB of free storage, while users can upgrade to 30TB through paid plans. Google Drive provides you with all real-time syncing, strong encryption, offline working features and more that you would hope for from a top cloud storage solution. As you would hope, it works seamlessly with Google’s other services, whether that’s Gmail or Google Docs.

👍🏼   Pros:
  • Generous amount of free storage.
  • Works great with other Google services that you may already rely on.
  • Real-time syncing, offline working, encryption, and more.
  • Great for collaboration and sharing.
👎🏼   Cons:
  • You’ll need to be a Google user to get the most out of it. While there are workarounds for sharing Google files with those without Google accounts, it works best if you’re already part of the Google ecosystem (or happy to sign up for a free account.)

Platforms supported: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Cost: Free tier available. Paid options vary.

5. GoVisually

GoVisually is a collaboration tool that’s built specifically with designers in mind. It’s an online proofing tool that makes it easier for creatives to work with clients to get projects approved and provide feedback. It lets users upload images, then mark them up and leave comments, along with storing multiple revisions in the same place. It’s a neat piece of software with a user-friendly interface that can result in a more positive collaborative experience between creatives and the people who hire them.

👍🏼   Pros:
  • It’s built for designers from the ground up, making it highly attuned to the requirements of creatives and their clients.
  • Straightforward user interface that makes the commenting and sign-off process simple.
  • Stops you sending messy emails back and forth.
  • Ability to keep multiple revisions in one place means you’ll never mix up file versions again.
👎🏼   Cons:
  • It’s created with designers in mind. It’s great at what it does, but it does by extension mean a narrower scope than collaborative software such as, for instance, Google Docs.
  • Email notifications may be confusing to clients.

Platforms supported: Windows, Mac, iOS

Cost: Solo subscription is $20 per month. Team subscription is $50 per month.

Conclusion: A Good Start When It Comes to Design Collaboration Tools

Being able to collaborate is an essential skill for any designer who wants to be able to take a client’s wishlist and turn it into a great finished product. Thanks to design collaboration tools such as the ones mentioned above, it’s now easier to do this than ever.

Best Design Collaboration Tools - FAQs

What is collaborative design?

Working with others to create a stunning finished product.

Why do designers collaborate?

Anything from different skill sets to working with clients to ensure they’re delivering to brief.

What are the types of collaboration tools designers frequently use?

From organizational tools to messaging apps, we’ve listed some of the most useful in this article

How can design teams be improved?

Making it easier for them to work together and with clients is a great start.

What is the importance of collaboration in creating effective design solutions?

Designers aren’t just designing for themselves (usually). Being a great designer is all about communication -- and communication is frequently about collaboration.

Team Echo

Updated on Mar 18, 2021

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