Collaboration has become synonymous with digital industries, allowing you to create a more effective workflow with colleagues in the same office or the other side of the world. A good set of collaborative tools is an invaluable weapon for the modern designer, whether you work with an in-house team or go it alone as a freelancer. Time is your biggest asset in this game and cutting down the hours spent away from your design work means you can concentrate on what you do best.
Teamwork is supposed to increase productivity, not slow you down with back-and-forth emails or cumbersome attachments. Dealing with clients can be even worse when you have to send briefs for approval and wait for a reply – while simply moving from one computer to another is a chore without shared access to files and projects.
Luckily you don’t have to put up this and there are a number of free collaboration tools to help you speed up your workflow. All of the tools on this list are free, except for the first one – which no longer has a free option – but it’s just that good it still deserves a mention.
Which brings us to BinFire, a quality all-in-one collaboration and project management platform with all the tools you need to make teamwork a breeze. Sadly, they no longer have a free option, but prices start from $19/month or $190/year and if you’re looking to pay for a project management platform, this is a great option.
Concept inbox is a visual collaboration platform for designers that makes communication a breeze between you and your colleagues – as well as clients. Real-time collaboration features and interactive prototypes mean you can get work approved in no time, while visual feedback helps you make improvements without crossing any wires.
Invision is a web and mobile application that offers designers an advanced collaboration platform, allowing you to turn designs into interactive prototypes with transition and web animations. You can get started with Invision for free, which gets you one project, or start a price plan from $15 a month to add projects and features.
Flatsies is a simple web and mobile app package that allows you to share projects with clients via a URL. Each project is password protected and you can share up to four projects with the free version or unlimited projects with the £4/month version.
Trello is a card-based collaboration app that takes away the pain of emails and spreadsheets with an intuitive to-do interface. Think a prettier version of Google Keep for sharing design projects with your clients, other designers and developers.
Podio is designed with teamwork in mind, giving you a digital whiteboard to share and communicate with your colleagues. Live sharing sessions mean you can get a natural workflow running, no matter where you are, and you can monitor what boards each member is viewing – making it ideal if you have a small team to manage.
Cage is a simple but elegant application that has come along way since its first release. The latest version allows you to add tasks and approve files – without fuss – thanks to its tidy interface, although it doesn’t have some of the more advanced features of other options.
ConceptBoard is a digital whiteboard tool designed for group projects of all kinds and its diverse range of features make it a great option for design teams. If you need an all-round project management system with a broad range of collaboration and workflow features, give ConceptBoard a look.
Yammer is a practical social network for business, currently part of the Microsoft family. Employees sign in with a company email address and collaborate in private sessions, using the web platform, desktop or mobile application.
Producteev is a social task management platform that lets you keep on top of your to-do list and in touch with your team members. You can collaborate on an unlimited number of projects with as many participants as you need – all completely free.