There seems to be a new tool or platform popping up every other week. Rather than just checking my emails I now need to check Slack, Trello, WhatsApp, Basecamp and google docs. Whilst we’ve been promised that this would make things easier, the jury is still out whether that’s actually the case.
In the meantime we’ve reviewed the latest and greatest creative tools available for you in 2019. We’ve put together a short list of the most commonly used tools for team collaboration and designing digital products. We’ve highlighted what we think they’re great for, pros, cons, when to use and what we think could be improved.
Slack – the ultimate team chat tool, revered by developers, designers and project managers. Great for teams that need to work together remotely.
PRICING: Free version, then £5/user/month and upwards depending on features
PROS: Simple, integrates with Google docs and let’s you create #channels
CONS: Jumping between workspaces is tedious and notifications are a bit fiddly to set up, their filing system is soso and really poor on mobile
USE IT FOR: Content sharing and chatting amongst team members online
COULD BE BETTER AT: Assigning tasks, storing files
Google docs/G-suite – Google’s answer to Microsoft office allows you to create text documents, spreadsheets and presentations online for free and is great for sharing and co-creating.
PRICING: Free up to 15 GB, G-suite then starts at £4.60/user/month and upwards depending on features
PROS: Amazing at co-creating basic presentations, text documents and spreadsheets
CONS: Ensure to “Starr” most commonly used documents or they might be impossible to find on a poorly set up server structure. There is no place for team chat like there is on Slack.
USE IT FOR: Co-creating documents and file sharing
COULD BE BETTER AT: Limited to google fonts – if you want to use custom local fonts inside your documents it probably ain’t for you.
Trello – a basic project management tool that uses team boards to assign tasks
PRICING: Free up to 10 team boards, then it starts at US 9.99/user/month
PROS: Quick and easy to spin up to do lists
CONS: Moving tasks from one board to the next can be tedious at times. Can’t quite put my finger on it but don’t love using it.
USE IT FOR: Assigning short to-do lists to teams.
COULD BE BETTER AT: See if you like the interface. We don’t think it’s tricky to use for more extensive to-do lists.
Mural – an online whiteboard and interactive file sharing tool. A must-have for running design sprints remotely
PRICING: Starts at US $20/user/month
PROS: It’s an online whiteboard with file sharing capability set up for design sprints (incl. voting, post its and icon library)
CONS : You will need some time to familiarise yourself with the tool.
USE IT FOR: Running remote workshops or design sprints.
COULD BE BETTER AT: Integrating video conferencing
Adobe XD is Adobe’s answer to Sketch.
PRICING: It’s free! I know, incredible, considering it’s Adobe. But then they are losing market share to new start-ups quickly.
PROS: It allows you to quickly prototype and comes with a number of free libraries and tutorials
CONS: Found it took a bit longer than we hoped for to get going, asset management and libraries take a little getting used to and seem to be lacking in typography options.
USE IT FOR: Creating wireframes, workflows and quick prototypes
COULD BE BETTER AT: Detailed complicated designs
Sketch has been Photoshop’s first genuine challenger for a few years now and is many digital designer’s preferred choice to create digital products.
PRICING: $99/year for ongoing updates. If you’re not worried about updates, you can continue to use it after the first year without updates (so $99 once-off at a minimum).
PROS: It allows quick prototyping, creates code for developers and ticks a lot of boxes for creating digital designs.
CONS: Great for creating something and then outputting it, but not necessarily the tool of choice if co-creating designs. Whilst affordable, it’s not free and not an online tool.
USE IT FOR: Creating wireframes, workflows, prototypes and detailed web designs
COULD BE BETTER AT: Co-creating for quick design sprints
Figma – an online design tool that allows designers to co-create
PRICING: First three projects and two members are free allowing you to access files for 30 days. Then it starts at US $12/month/editor
PROS:Great tutorials, detailed file permissions, despite being online it allows you to use local fonts and co-design. Brilliant for quick prototyping and creating digital designs.
CONS: It’s an online tool which means it requires internet access to use.
USE IT FOR: Creating wireframes, workflows and fast prototypes
COULD BE BETTER AT: Providing a local version, otherwise it’s difficult to fault it
Please note: All information as of May 2019. Pricing or features may have changed since. This list is by no means comprehensive. If you have a new tool or an update you would like us to review send us a message via twitter @BrightfulUK.