Like any business, a creative enterprise - freelance, agency or in-house - should assess their workflows on a regular basis to ensure they haven't become cumbersome or outdated. A successful creative team will have a workflow process that is streamlined, centralised, and developed in such a way that every team member can collaborate creatively. Members should be able to effortlessly share digital assets, get project updates whenever they need them and receive feedback on content sooner rather than later.
If you're looking to take your creative workflow to another level, read our 7 top tips...
The creative workflow is a set of stages that creatives such as freelancers, design agencies and marketing teams use to organise tasks, activities, and resources throughout the creative project process. It includes planning, creating, organising, and editing. A well structured creative workflow ensures ideas and projects are delivered efficiently every time.
The first stage of the creative workflow process is planning. This starts with the creative brief. Concepts or ideas are selected, the target audience is determined and the project’s requirements are understood before setting timescales, deadlines, costs, and deciding on the formats for delivery. For more information, read our article on writing the perfect creative brief.
The second sage of the creative workflow process involves gathering the necessary supplies for creating and completing the project, such as software tools, images, or illustrations. At this time, creative problem-solving looks at how to meet the objectives and guidelines established within the creative brief.
The next stage involves proofing and gathering feedback. The account manager and client or stakeholders provide feedback and check the material produced meets quality standards, adheres to brand guidelines, and fulfils the details set out in the creative brief.
The final stage in the creative workflow process is delivery. This is when all creative material is packaged up in their appropriate formats ready for distribution. This could be online or handed directly to the clients or stakeholders. For more information, read our article on creative project management.
Before you begin implementing any changes, it's important to look at your current creative projects and break them down into their key stages. Are there any areas where the project manager is unsure of the progress? Are there gaps where the creative process lags or stalls? Do you regularly miss deadlines or run over budget? Are you worried your team may not be on the same page with the project progress and aware of the project milestones?
If the answer is 'yes' to any of these questions, let's look at some solutions that will provide you with a smoother creative process.
If you're managing creative projects via shared spreadsheets, lengthy email chains, and weekly video calls, then the chances are you'll be well aware that your creative projects can be run so much better.
You need to take as much care with your creative workflow as you do with the creative brief or the work you produce. Look at your total team collaboration, from launch, through the approval process and then on to project completion. To get started you can trial or demo workflow software solutions that track project progress, assign tasks, provide an up-to-date summary and offer client review, and see which suits your business needs. Your team members, and your bottom line will thank you later.
With robust workflow software solution in place, future projects will run smoother and meet deadlines every time.
Providing a single location for project managers, your creative team, and clients or stakeholders to log in to and view the status of the project, will save countless hours and bucketloads of frustration.
You don't want your creative team sifting through long email chains to locate text amendments or going through Microsoft Teams or Slack chats to uncover any images that may have been posted there. Look for collaboration tools that place the project brief, designs, creative digital assets, and any and all tasks in a single dashboard.
Centralisation is a key to success.
Keeping the entire team within the creative workflow, regardless of their location or time zone is a must. Especially during the feedback phase where final approval is needed to progress the project to the delivery stage. Invest in project management software with mobile integration, or a mobile version that seamlessly syncs with your creative workflow. The last thing you need is a project waiting on a simple confirmation of completion because your collaborators have limited access to the content.
Utilising mobile offerings will help you to complete creative projects faster than ever before.
Manage each stage of the creative process with deadlines and time allocations for the phases involved. Recurring tasks should be easily assigned and time-framed, and critical project milestones added to the project. This will ensure that account managers, the design team and clients are all aware of the project needs and relevant dates.
A creative workflow that tracks the progress of all activities will deliver a finished product on time, and on budget.
Nobody likes jumping in and out of different systems and platforms to perform simple tasks. It wastes a lot of time and drains creative energy. Sharing creative assets such as logos, images, text amendments animations and videos via Adobe Creative Cloud apps will make your designer's life a breeze. These files should be available via a centralised dashboard and also via your designer's Creative Cloud apps.
Team members should be able to access these files via the creative workflow dashboard or from their Adobe software of choice.
A creative workflow begins and ends with collaborators and a workflow management system that allows team members, such as creatives, account managers, and even the clients to work together to get a creative project over the line is the route to success.
For example, if the supplied copy for a project isn’t working, why make it complicated to fix and stall the project with back-and-forth discussions? Allow your collaborators access to get involved and make text changes on the fly and see how they appear in situ.
In the past, it was acceptable to write long emails and have stretched-out phone calls explaining why a simple piece of text won’t fit. Cut it out. Make it easier with a project management tool that allows your collaborators to make changes to the creative proof, and see what these changes will look like. Once happy, collaborators can submit these change requests to the designer. Speeding up the whole review process and saving hours.
Having all files associated with a creative project, in a single location will save your team hours. When working creatively, the creative brief can be referred back to, assets can be accessed and re-upload. Every collaborator will have every file that matters to the creative project at hand. Safe int he knowledge that each asset will be the latest and most up-to-date version.
A simple fix for successful creative workflows.
A successful creative workflow process will:
If you're looking to supercharge your creative workflow process and require a project management solution that can take ownership of the many collaborators, team members, digital assets, and phases involved in the creative process, then Oppolis Cloud has your back.
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