5 Best Project Management Tools for Creative Designers

Illustration by Taylor Doran via Dribbble
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On a scale of 1 to 10, we’d give a fat rating of 8 to creative design experts who are looking to use dedicated tools for work management and active collaboration with clients.

Creative designing processes go beyond the scope of conventional project management software in 2021 from different perspectives. For instance, the work requires versatility, creativity, and the ability to manage multiple clients simultaneously.

To that effect, any traditional software with a minimal feature set doesn’t necessarily offer what creative designers are looking for.

This post highlights some of the best project management tools for creative designers who are considering porting their workflow over to a reliable program that can help to do more without any hassle.

The question is: why does a creative designer need project management software when he or she can collaborate with clients through any online dedicated portal?

The above statement would have been true if we were talking about design portfolios a few years ago. The competition wasn’t that much, and many designers felt it easier to navigate clients at any popular freelancing website.

However, the digital playground has changed a lot. Especially, during pandemic days when remote work gained a huge amount of traction, designers and other online contractors had to fall back on reliable project management solutions to carry on with their daily rituals.

Having said that, creativity is born out of chaos and it takes a lot on a designer’s end to come up with visually intriguing images that help to take branding and marketing to the next level.

Right now, a single expert-level designer is expected to be juggling anywhere between multiple clients, different timelines, and various other deadline-oriented processes that go beyond the boundaries of what freelancing platforms are capable of offer.

Needless to say, creativity gurus need a centralized hub where everything can be managed and monitored on the dot without any hassles or whatsoever.

This list not only highlights some of the best project management tools for creative designers but also signifies specific features that make a program worth a shot for such individuals. So, let’s get to it.

5 Best Project Management Tools for Creative Designers In 2021:

#1. Project.Co for Graphics Designers

Project.Co for Graphics Designers

Project.Co is not only a broad spectrum project management, but it’s been known to have many dedicated features that designers have reportedly adored all over the world.

In terms of design-related features, Project.Co was developed to manage different projects and creative teams alongside their respective clients. To that end, there’s a boatload of powerful features, integrations, and sub-level tools that help to get things done fast.

According to the dev team behind Project.Co, each “project” is interpreted as a special task that requires a unique set of tools to collaborate, share files, manage payments, and complete milestones. Designers with multiple teams can invite their team members, followed by a very easy onboarding process where each user can input his/her role.

This helps to create permissions at the admin level so that team members, clients, and contractors hired for a specific project can be managed effectively.

Moving on, each integral piece of communication is stored within a dedicated “Discussion Feed” for different projects. These feeds do not overlap with other tasks so that design experts are easily able to keep tabs on what’s going on at different forefronts. Designers must know what the client agreed on, design proposals, and the when and where of each process.

Moving on, designers can tinker with Project.Co’s display campaign banners. They are available in different view options so that if designer X feels comfortable with managing design tasks in Kanban style lists, he can do so without switching over to list view.

Likewise, the data is constantly synchronized with Project.Co’s cloud servers guarantee constant data backup and instant retrieval whenever it’s needed at the designers’ end.

Key Features:

  • Multiple campaign view options for easy design project tracking
  • Invite team members for different projects
  • Set roles, permissions, and access options for each team member according to the designation
  • Manage payments, contracts and clients easily
  • Get team level visibility of simultaneous activities
  • Dedicated discussion boards for each individual project
  • Dedicated embed tool for work view without switching over to other platforms

Pricing:

  • Project.Co is available for $10 per user/ per month with everything unlimited feature.

#2. ProofHub

ProofHub

ProofHub kicked off as a traditional project management tool a few years ago. However, over the years, the program has received multiple updates to cater to the requirements of software engineers, freelancers, and professional designers.

Everyone remains on the same page as long as managing multiple clients with different design work-related requests.

For designers, ProofHub comes with a special feature, called: Proofing. It helps creative designers to collaborate with clients, where each client can input suggestions related to a specific project. This way, collaboration takes the form of a two-way platform where both sides don’t have to switch over to emails and other modes of communication.

Key Features:

  • Elaborate Kanban boards with pre-populated visual templates
  • Use Proofing tool to discuss reviews about each project
  • Manage design tasks through internal discussion boards, Gantt charts, and other modes
  • Create timesheets to monitor and multiple designers’ performance
  • Create invoices with auto-reminders for client-side management

Pricing:

  • ProofHub offers a free trial version to designers who are looking to evaluate the program
    Ultimate Control Plan starts at $89 per month

#3. Jira Project Management for Creative Designers

Jira Project Management for Creative Designers

Jira is a heavy-weight player in the project management industry. The program easily defies the boundaries of a typical project management software because it has so much to offer to anyone from any industry.

For instance, if designers were to use Jira for their workflow management, they can easily play around with visual Kanban boards for task assignments. In addition to Kanban, the ‘Rules’ feature helps admin-level designers to define process controls, roles, and permissions for Jr. Designers to help everyone remain on the same page – and that too without affecting anyone’s efficiency levels.

Jira, in other words, is like a dedicated playground for designers who wish to deal with each project in silo formation to maintain maximum focus and productivity.

Key Features:

  • Create highly personalized reports for clients
  • Dedicated mobile app to collaborate with design teams and clients
  • Offers interactive Kanban boards with different customizable templates
  • Automate repeat tasks for managing long term clients with multiple web properties
  • Use Rules to manage team members and clients for each dedicated project

Pricing:

  • Jira Basic supports 1 – 100 designers at $7 per month/ per user

#4. Kanbanize – Dedicated Visual Solution for Designers on the Go

Kanbanize – Dedicated Visual Solution for Designers on the Go

Kanbanize is by far the best project management tool for creative designers because of its dedicated visual boards.

The program offers a Trello-like interface where you can manage design tasks, shuffle around cards and lists and do more without porting over different platforms. Designers can optimize workflow delivery and design-oriented processes with multiple teams working towards different project goals.

Top it off with the ability to get things done in an Agile manner where designers can work in a clutter-free approach without feeling controlled by an external stakeholder.

Also, the initial design plans are easier to come up with because the tool forecasts different statistical workflow analyses based on the success and failure rate of previous tasks.

Key Features:

  • Create, manage and plan designing-related activities with ease and comfort
  • Kanbanize offers an intelligent predictability analysis for managing clients based on their success and failure score
  • Work in a decluttered environment with active collaboration between design teams and clients
  • Advanced security options available in high-end paid plans
  • Supports multiple file extensions

Pricing:

  • Kanbanize has a 30-day trial offer for evaluation purpose
  • Paid plan starts at $99 per month for up to 15 designers at a time

#5. Trello

Trello

Last but not the least, we’ve got Trello as one of the best project management tools for creative designers.

It’s sleek, it’s visually stunning, and comes with loads of integrations to make the work process a breeze. What makes Trello special is its Kanban board style layout where you can create lists, collaborate with clients within different cards and manage team members alongside their tasks.

If you are a designer struggling with a myriad number of client-side requests, you can divide them into smaller chunks on the same board. Trello also supports 3rd party integrations, as mentioned earlier, to further enhance the visuals and control level optimization for your boards.

Above all, Trello Gold is free if you are going to be inviting your design team members to your dedicated board. For each invite, you get Trello Gold status for up to 30 days where you can use special features to maximize your team’s productivity.

Key Features:

  • Visually stunning layout for designers with a penchant for graphics
  • 3rd party integrations with DropBox. InVision, Figma, and other tools
  • Enhance workflow with Trello Gold
  • Overall, a phenomenal collaboration tool with an intuitive user interface

Pricing:

  • Trello Free for limited team members who want to explore core program features
  • Trello Business class is available for $10 per user, per month for teams with 100 active designers
  • Contact Trello’s sales department for a price quote on Enterprise plans

Over to you

We handpicked these project management tools in terms of their dedicated efficacy for designers. If you think that your favorite tool isn’t mentioned on the list, go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments section below.

We’d love to hear back from you.

Good luck, and don’t forget to have fun with your creatives.

About the Author!

Fred Wilson is an agile project manager at www.ntaskmanager.com. He is known for actively engaging with fellow community members at various education platforms.

1 Comment
  1. Victoria says

    Excellent, thanks for sharing! My suggestion is although Kanban Tool (kanbantool.com) as it changed completely the way I work in a team. Better organization, increased productivity and simplicity. I appreciate it’s a truly visual system. Also, it has a 2 weeks free trial, if you’d like to try if it’ll work wih you.

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