Productivity Tools for Creatives

If you are working in a creative industry (design, advertising, technology, media, entertainment, architecture etc.) chances are that you are working remotely.

You don’t sit desk-to-desk with the people you work with every day. Your co-workers and clients sit on other floors, in other buildings, other cities and even in other countries. You cannot just roll over to your colleague on your office chair and ask him what he or she thinks of your latest design, logo or illustration. No, you have to discuss your visual idea in endless e-mails, multiple phone or Skype calls. You also need strong project management skills to keep everybody up-to-date and on track.

Luckily, there are a lot of productivity tools, and tips out there that can make your job easier and save you a lot of money, time and hassle. As a startup, media and marketing consultant I have found these tools useful.

A professional project management is essential for every successful project. The most prominent workflow tool is Basecamp.

Basecamp

Basecamp is a product from web app company 37signals and offers milestone management, time tracking, a messaging system, web-based text documents and file sharing. There is also Asana, a tool that was developed by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz to improve the productivity level at Facebook and Trello which uses Kanban, a project management method popularized by Japanese car maker Toyota in the 1980s for their supply chain.

Creative projects typically start with a brief and a brainstorming phase where ideas and possible solutions are generated and outlined. Balsamiq and HotGloo help you at this stage.

Balsamiq

Balsamiq is a mockup builder and reproduces the experience of sketching on a whiteboard. HotGloo is a wireframe UX prototyping tool and has a strong focus on more complex interaction and collaboration.

Most ideas go through many iterations and feedback rounds before they are approved. Red Pen and Prevue help you get instant and meaningful feedback from clients and team members.

Red Pen

You can upload your work directly on the Red Pen or the Prevue homepage, share the link with your team and clients and put comments directly on the design.

If you don’t like switching back and forth between various tools you should try Notism, a design collaboration platform that combines prototyping, realtime feedback and task management – all in one place.

Notism

This “one-stop shop” closes a gap among existing tools and was nominated at thenetawards for “App of the Year 2014” by net magazine.

Finally, Froont gives you the possibility to create a whole responsive website without a line of code.

Froont

Froont works directly with a drag and drop interface and creates fully functional HTML and CSS code on the fly which saves you the labor of converting
static images into HTML and CSS for the development stage.

Concluding

Whatever productivity tool you choose to work with, pick one that meets your individual needs and is easy to learn by team members and clients. Springtime is around the corner and there are better things to do than to sit at your desk.

Comments

  • Excellent article for working in a creative industry

  • StudioJerryCo

    Informative Article :) @Craig Mueller, Keep it up…

  • Meanu Normia

    Basecamp is fading away by time coz of less features more cost, We switched to proofhub from basecamp 6 months ago, Many other great alternatives are available too!

  • Marlena Kuczyńska

    I will add Asana (www.asana.com) for project management and TimeCamp (www.timecamp.com) for time tracking

  • Sharon Thomson

    I’d like to add ProofHub in your list. ProofHub is a highly beneficial tool that brings all the useful project management tools along with a native proofing tool. The proofing tool makes life easy for designers as it cuts the tedious task of reviewing and approval of designs easier than ever. Plus, there is an in built timer in the app as well, which you can use to track time spent on design works and bill the clients in the easiest possible manner.