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The 10 Best Creative Project Management Software For Creative Teams in 2019

By 26/09/2019 No Comments

This will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best project management software for designers, marketing agencies, branding studios, and other teams who can benefit from creative software.

Creative Project Management Software image

Quickly Compare & Evaluate The 10 Best Project Management Software For Creative Agencies

If you have ever been the Project Manager at the helm of a creative project or managing a creative agency or team then you know that this position comes with a unique set of challenges. If this is your first time addressing project management for creative teams, then buckle up.

In-house creative agencies are on the rise, which may mean that you may be either (1) Fighting for clients in an increasingly competitive job market or (2) Having to integrate a creative agency team within your current on-site space. No matter your situation, it’s important to be prepared.

Project management software for creative teams can foster collaboration, keep dates and deadlines organized, inspire people to share their ideas and build on them and foster innovation. It’s a way to balance practical, tangible, administrative needs with the imagination, freedom and creativity needed to stand out.

In this post I’ll share with you the best project management software for creative agency use; explain how creative collaboration software can help you inspire your team, prevent oversights and better meet deadlines; and answer some FAQs about creative projects management. And so that you know how we came to our decisions, I will also go over what you should look for in design project management software and our evaluation criteria.

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The Creative Project Management Software List

Creative project management means collaboration, brainstorming, communication—but it also means automating some more technical or administrative tasks to free up employee brain power for things computers just can’t do. These tools will help navigate the baseline needs of any creative team while also freeing them up to do more designing, critiquing and creating.

  1. FunctionFox
  2. monday.com
  3. VOGSY
  4. Admation
  5. Hive
  6. Freedcamp
  7. Paymo
  8. ClientFlow
  9. Nuvro
  10. Flow

Below you’ll find an overview of these creative project management software, with screenshots, feature overview, pricing and our score.

Jump to creative PM software reviews

Creative Projects Management FAQ

What is a creative project?

A creative project tends to be an original “imaginative” or “artistic” solution to a problem faced by digital marketing firms, advertising agencies, branding studios and other business types.

What is creative project management?

Creative project management involves navigating the needs and workflow of a team that has been assigned a creative-oriented task. It may also being the “go between” for technical/administrative teams and creative teams to ensure everyone is working seamlessly together.

How do you manage a creative project?

Unfortunately, there is no single way to manage a creative project. However, there are some steps that you can take can get you started:

  1. Go through a careful requirements gathering process
  2. Kick off the project with solid project kickoff meeting
  3. Make sure you know how to make and use a robust project plan and budget
  4. Manage and control your projects through to delivery by monitoring progress and maintaining frequent communication (mitigate against scope creep!)
  5. Once you’ve delivered the final product, make sure you get useful feedback from your teams (for example, in a retrospective meeting)

Where to start? Read books about, listen to podcasts about, or follow blogs about creative workflow management. Our PM how-to guides are a good resource to get you oriented.

Who uses creative project management software?

Anyone can use creative project management software but some specific examples include: designers, founders, clients, marketing managers and more.

What is the easiest project management software for creatives?

User-friendly project management software like Monday or Asana can work well for creatives that may not be hugely tech-savvy. These apps are prolific enough to have a solid base of “How To” support on YouTube, their websites and other online forums.

Not looking for creative or graphic design project management software? Check out our other lists of top software to manage teams, resources, and projects:

  1. Have a team of creative-types that don’t believe in deadlines? Try our project scheduling software recommendations to reign them in.
  2. Everyone can improve their communication strategies at work. These collaboration tools can help you get the conversation going.
  3. Suffering from project scope creep? Requirement management tools might help you keep things from growing out of control.

Project Management Applications Comparison Criteria

How do I evaluate project management for creative teams? Here’s a breakdown of some on my considerations when evaluating PM software:

  1. User Interface (UI): Does it offer clear displays and intuitive navigation that your design-centric creative team would like using?
  2. Usability: Is this easy to learn and use? For creative agencies, choosing a software with good tech and user support is important because not everyone on your team will be very familiar with the technical aspects of the software. Additionally, to be easy to use, it should offer a way to manage files efficiently and access team members easily through built-in communication features. The ability to use pre-made templates (and create your own) for recurring projects can also make the tool more useful from day one.
  3. Features & Functionality: How many of the key creative management software features and functions does it provide, and how powerful are they? Specifically, I looked for:
    1. Briefs & Intake Forms: this simplifies the intake process with dynamic forms that allow your teams to set specific question flows for incoming requests, storing all these details in a central location.
    2. Visual, Customizable Workload Management: this includes project planning and task tracking features that help everyone manage their workloads. They should be able to see projects, tasks, deadlines, dependencies, and scheduling conflicts in a timeline, and track their progress on visual dashboards. And because each creative team works in its own unique way, custom approval workflows is a useful feature for defining and monitoring your work.
    3. Collaborative Feedback: feedback, revision, and collaboration is a major part of the creative process. The best project management software for creative teams should facilitate this process with real-time collaborative editing, visual markups, feedback consolidation, and version control that clearly shows the item’s changes and approval history.
    4. Reporting Features: because of the nature of creative work, justifying the cost of creative teams can present a challenge—the best software includes beautiful, simple reports that illustrate your team’s progress and value to stakeholders.
    5. Budget Management: includes estimation, invoice management, billing, time-tracking, and financial reporting features that capitalize on project data already in your system, saving you from administrative headache.
  4. Integrations: Pre-built integrations with Adobe’s Creative Suite (Photoshop, Premiere Pro, InDesign, Illustrator, etc) is ideal for many teams. And if there aren’t pre-built integrations for popular tools that creatives use, I look at how easy and affordable it is to set them up.
  5. Value for $: How appropriate is the price for its features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent and flexible?

10 Best Creative Project Management Software Overviews

Creative Project Management Software - Featured image social

Get an idea of what each of the 10 best software suites that made it to my top list has to offer.

  • Free demo.
  • from $5/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

100%

Usability

100%

Integrations

50%

Value for $

100%

Features & Function

90%

Overall Score

88%

1. FunctionFoxSimple online PM tools created by an ad agency for ad agencies, creative teams, and PR, digital, and marketing firms

FunctionFox helps streamline time and expense tracking, estimates and budgeting, running reports, schedules and calendars, task and action assignment, internal communication, as well as other administrative busywork that can bog down your creative team. They also offer a dedicated account rep with paid plans so it is a good option for those unfamiliar with PM software.

FunctionFox screenshot - Creative Project Management Software

FunctionFox’s Project Status dashboard displays metrics like status distribution and turnover.

Affordable and easy to use, FunctionFox speaks to our evaluation component that digs into usability and value for your money. The comparably low cost is complemented by a generous feature set, making it a great option for small teams.

FunctionFox offers add-ons that allow for mobile app access (Android and iPhone), Flink (file exchange), and Invoicing. Reports can save as Excel, CSV, PDF and HTML. Unfortunately, integrations beyond internal ones and files type options are nil.

With a primary focus on time tracking, FunctionFox may not be the big picture app that some teams need. Particularly, a lack of billing software integration slowed overall workflow processes down.

FunctionFox starts at $5/user/month plus first user at $35 and also offers a free demo.

Overall Score: 8.8
Visit Website
  • 7 days free trial.
  • from $17/month for 2 users

User Interface (UI)

100%

Usability

90%

Integrations

90%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

90%

Overall Score

92%

2. monday.comAward-winning, visually intuitive tool for planning, tracking, and collaborating on work, fully stocked with customizable templates

Monday offers a range of tools that creative professionals will benefit from, including monthly and annual expense tracking, a recruitment tracker for HR, easy editorial and blogging planning, competitor analysis, the management of marketing projects, onboarding processes, creative requests and more. Easy, visual and intuitive, Monday is an award-winning PM software used by over 70,000 teams.

A sample event planning workload using a Monday project management template.

In our evaluation criteria, I specify that we are looking for customizable workload management and collaborative feedback, which is something that Monday handles particularly well. Monday allows you to easily collaborate with freelancers and third parties by sharing the same project “boards” and has many options for interface customizability to help navigate the uniques ins and outs of your workload.

Optional integrations include DropBox, Excel, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Integromat, Slack, Trello, Pipedrive, Jira, Mailchimp, and even more through Zapier.

If you are looking for web software that has seamless mobile integration, this may not be it. The tutorial and training options available through the site are also lacking, which leaves users scrounging on the depths of YouTube for unauthorized user-generated content in order to address the steep learning curve.

Monday starts at $17/month for 2 users and has a free 7-day trial.

Overall Score: 9.2
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  • free demo and workshops
  • from $19/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

100%

Usability

100%

Integrations

90%

Value for $

100%

Features & Function

90%

Overall Score

96%

3. VOGSYSophisticated but simple professional services automation built on G Suite.

VOGSY is a useful tool for managing change process if you need a way to unify your essential business workflows, automating operations to reduce admin.

VOGSY saves you time by automating PM workflows, including planning hours, filling out timesheets, setting tasks, and generating & sending invoices to clients. Through all of this, VOGSY produces reports in real time on budget burn, project margins resource utilization and more. Along the way, there are useful integrations into other G Suite apps such as Sheets and Drive.

vogsy creative pm screenshot image

The UI is modelled on Google’s material design, making it immediately familiar & intuitive to G Suite users. Setup is guided by both an in-product setup assistant, plus a dedicated customer success manager, with support provided by real developers, not call center employees reading from a script. This means onboarding is measured in days and weeks, not months and quarters, and won’t break the bank.

VOGSY is ideal for small to mid-sized Professional Services Organizations looking to lay solid foundations for future growth, or larger ones who have tech stacks that are out of control and want to bring their data and operations back into one, manageable place.

VOGSY’s integrations include all the leading CRMs such as SalesForce & HubSpot, and financial systems such as QuickBooks and Xero, allowing for a seamless flow all the way from lead generation to your bank account.

VOGSY costs $19/user/month. You’re charged monthly in arrears for the number of users you activate – no minimum commitment. They also offer a free demo and free workshops.

Overall Score: 9.6
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  • free demo
  • free trial
  • from $30/user/month

User Interface (UI)

90%

Usability

90%

Integrations

70%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

100%

Overall Score

88%

4. AdmationCreative project management and workflow management software designed specifically for marketing teams and ad agencies

Admation is a project management software made for marketing teams and agencies that want the benefit of multiple features rolled into one comprehensive tool. Combining project, resource and approval workflow management, Admation enables users to manage the full creative production cycle of their campaigns, from project briefs to resourcing to managing the entire approval workflow.

Admation Screenshot

With a user-friendly interface, Admation offers an exceptional range of creative project management software features and tools. A central dashboard enables you to have complete visibility over your projects and resources while offering an intuitive framework from which to manage all facets of your work.

Creative project management features include briefing templates, project resource templates, project timelines, scheduling and assigning tasks, document approval, capacity planning, department dashboard & calendar, resource allocation, timesheets and time tracking, a complete brand archive, permissions & access levels, tags & keywords, a secure digital storage system for your finalized ads, and more.

Integrations include email systems and Mediaocean, formally BCC, which is ad agency finance software.

Admation costs from $30 per user per month and offers a free demo and free trial upon request.

Overall Score: 8.8
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  • from $12/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

90%

Usability

100%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

80%

Overall Score

92%

5. HiveHighly adaptable project management and collaboration software used by small teams of 10 up to Fortune 500s.

Hive is a creative project management and collaboration platform that powers companies like Starbucks, Uber, WeWork and IBM. With AI-based analytics, thousands of integrations, flexible project views, and more, Hive streamlines your work in one centralized platform. Used by teams of varying sizes, from 10 people to 1,000, Hive is a great option for a diverse range of companies and work styles including creative teams.

Hive screenshot image - Advertising Agency Software

Hive’s time-tracking, analytics and flexible view capabilities allow for transparent understanding of other team members work and upcoming projects. You can organize your projects in a Gantt chart, Kanban board, calendar and easily switch between each layout. Custom designed automated workflows are also possible, along with resource tracking and team communication and collaboration.
Hive has a proofing and approval feature which simplifies feedback loops and approval cycles with the ability to assign approvals, share proofs and provide feedback. Forms can also be sent outside your organization to gather information about clients and customers.

Hive also has one of the first full email integrations in any project management tool, which allows you to send and receive Gmail and Outlook messages from the app.

Hive costs $12 per user per month when billed annually.

Overall Score: 9
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  • 14 days free trial.
  • Freemium
  • from $1.49/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

90%

Usability

100%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

80%

Overall Score

92%

6. FreedcampSoftware offering Kanban boards, Gantt charts, calendars, wikis, project templates, and a host of 3rd party integrations

Freedcamp has invoicing tools, project templates, CRM tools, widget and task boards, Gantt charts, Kanban boards, white-label capabilities to use your own URL and logo, file storage, file editing, a social hub (“Wall”), issue tracker, and more. They have iOS, Android and Desktop applications available.

Screenshot of Freedcamp Dashboard

Freedcamp gives an overview of tasks, projects, and recent activity from one dashboard.

As far as my evaluation criteria that chart value for cost, Freedcamp is a standout. That makes it perfect for smaller creative teams that do not have the resources for an expensive suite of PM software on top of everything they already use.

Integrations include Google Calendar, Google Drive, Dropbox and more through Zapier.

While the UX is a bit clunky, you’ll find it perfectly usable. The clutter of items on-screen at any given time can be a distraction but is not a deal-breaker by any means.

Freedcamp starts at $1.49/user/month and has a free 14-day trial or a freemium version.

Overall Score: 9.2
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  • free 14-day trial
  • from $9.56/user/month

User Interface (UI)

100%

Usability

100%

Integrations

90%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

80%

Overall Score

88%

7. PaymoPaymo is a work management tool for creative and digital agencies, designed to help with planning work and projects, tracking time and invoicing clients

The main goal of Paymo is to help creative agencies streamline the process of managing their projects from start to finish, while offering a frictionless experience. This means that both project managers and team members will know exactly what they need to do, when, and also collaborate better.

A dedicated account manager will make sure the onboarding process is smooth for everyone, therefore the learning curve being reduced.

screenshot of paymo creative pm image

Paymo’s features cover the whole process, from creating the initial project estimate, to adding and assigning tasks, setting up budgets, tracking work time, and generating reports and invoices for clients.

To keep everyone informed and on the same page, Paymo allows real-time commenting at the task and project level along with in-app and email notifications. The interface is modern and easy to navigate through. It looks pretty crowded but yoou can hide the modules you don’t plan to use.

Paymo integrates natively with apps like Slack, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Drive, QuickBooks Online, Xero, JotForm, Shift, to name a few. Other integrations are available through Zapier or by syncing with their fully-documented API.

Paymo starts at $9.56/user/month and offers a 14-day free trial. It also comes with a Free plan (limited to 1 user though).

Overall Score: 8.8
Visit Website
  • 7 days free trial.
  • from $19/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

100%

Usability

90%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

80%

Overall Score

92%

8. ClientFlowSoftware for small creative teams with features for client communication, team collaboration, and project tracking

ClientFlow is a hub for communication networks and workflow tasks with features such as a shared inbox, time tracking, invoicing, advanced email messaging filters, collaborative review and feedback processes, and more. While they have many tools you would expect from project management software for creative teams, they excel in communication organization.

Picture of ClientFlow Software

Organize projects and collaborate with your team through shared inbox software with Clientflow.

For our evaluation criteria, I give substantial focus to features and functionality that promote collaborative feedback. This is because creative teams often find themselves swamped with back-and-forth communication with clients for planning, approvals and revisions. This is where ClientFlow stands out from the rest of the list, making communication their unapologetic focus.

ClientFlow integrates with Twitter, Gmail, Google Drive, Facebook, Dropbox and many more through Zapier. By integrating with popular social media platforms, they reinforce a dedication to communication-centric workflows.

While their offerings for collaborative communication features are impressive, this may not be the software for creative teams who need more of a jack-of-all-trades tool. Notably, they are lacking in budget management, cost-to-completion tracking, milestone tracking, portfolio management, and common organizational tools like Gantt charts.

ClientFlow starts at $19/user/month and has a free 7-day trial.

Overall Score: 9.2
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  • 30 days free trial.
  • from $4/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

100%

Usability

80%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

80%

Overall Score

90%

9. NuvroClean, efficient software for project collaboration, planning, and monitoring, with features geared towards distributed teams

Nuvro’s self-appointed stance is that they are neither too lean of features, nor too complex for the average user. This makes them uniquely oriented to assist creative teams that may not be tech-savvy when it comes to automated project management systems. They offer visual progress monitoring, individual performance reports, collaborative document management, an internal messaging system, workload calendars, file sharing, online notes, and more.

ScreenShot of Nuvro Dashboard

Review active, completed or cancelled tasks on the Nuvro dashboard.

Nuvro ticks a lot of boxes for our general evaluation criteria, including dynamic forms for job onboarding, incoming request organization and sharing, easy feedback, revision, and collaboration, and basic reporting.

That being said, it is missing a few obvious project management must-haves that creative teams could benefit from, such as time and expense tracking, agile methodologies, and resource management functions.

Nuvro can Integrate with Dropbox, Microsoft Office, Slack, and over 1000 other tools through Zapier.

Nuvro starts at from $4/user/month and has a free 30-day trial.

Overall Score: 9.0
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  • 30 days free trial
  • from $5.95/user/month

User Interface (UI)

100%

Usability

100%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

80%

Overall Score

94%

10. FlowFlexible and visually pleasing PM software geared towards marketing, creative, product, and finance teams

Flow allows teams to track the progress of company’s initiatives through an intuitive dashboard, establish visual project timelines, map out tasks and deadlines, manage resources with drag and drop flexibility, and more. It offers both mobile (Android and iPhone) and desktop apps.

Screenshot of a Flow Dashboard Example

A simple, clean Kanban board for task organization through Flow.

Flow is incredibly easy to pick up, in fact, on their homepage they boast “No training required.” While I wouldn’t go that far, I would rate them excellently in the evaluation criteria for UI and usability. Creative teams that don’t have the time or interest to adopt a complex software system will appreciate the relative simplicity of Flow.

Flow integrates with the likes of Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Slack, and Harvest. If you are feeling particularly daring, or have a handy IT team onboard, Flow’s robust Rest API lets you automate, access and edit Flow data and fully integrate with other tools, as well.

Flow is definitely geared towards smaller or moderate-sized teams so large creative departments might find it comes short in certain areas. For example, you can search for projects by tag, keyword and color but there is no way to facilitate an “OR” or “NOT” logic to narrow items down (it’s always “AND”).

Flow starts at $5.95/user/month and has a free 30-day trial.

Overall Score: 9.4
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The Best Creative Project Management Software Summary

Software Overview Free Option Price Score Site
FunctionFoxfunctionfox logo - creative project management software Read FunctionFox features & functionality free demo from $5/user/month 8.8 Check out FunctionFox
monday.commonday logo - creative project management software Read monday.com features & functionality free 7-day trial from $17/month for 2 users 9.2 Check out monday.com
VOGSY
vogsy logo image
Read VOGSY features & functionality free demo and workshops from $19/user/month 9.6 Check out VOGSY
AdmationAdmation Logo Image Read Admation features & functionality free demo

free trial

from $30/user/month 8.8 Check out Admation
Hivehive logo - project management software tools Read Hive features & functionality from $12/user/ month 9 Check out Hive
Freedcampfreedcamp logo - creative project management software Read Hive features & functionality free 14-day trial from $1.49/user/ month 9.2 Check out Freedcamp
Paymopaymo-logo-time-tracking-tools Read Paymo features & functionality free 14-day trial from $9.56/user/month 8.8 Check out Paymo
ClientFlowClientflow logo - Creative Project Management Software Read ClientFlow features & functionality free 7-day trial from $19/user/month 9.2 Check out ClientFlow
NuvroNuvro logo - Creative Project Management Software Read Nuvro features & functionality free 30-day trial from $4/user/month 9 Check out Nuvro
Flowgetflow logo - creative project management software Read Flow features & functionality free 30-day trial from $5.95/user/month 9.4 Check out Flow

Other Creative Workflow Management Software

Need more creative software app ideas? After all, creative projects sometimes need to think outside the box. Here are a few more creative software suggestions to get you going.

  1. Asana – A complete PM solution for marketing and creative teams for planning, coordinating campaigns, tracking approvals and more.
  2. Brightpod – Web-based project management and time tracking software for digital marketing and creative teams
  3. Paymo – Planning, scheduling, task management and time tracking for creative agencies, marketing, web design and business consultants.
  4. Mavenlink – A modern collaborative platform that helps you manage resources and projects, harness rich data insights and business intelligence.
  5. Teamwork – Project management, help desk solutions, team chat, document management software, CRM and more.
  6. Zenkit – Project management software with a flexible database, CRM, task management, team collaboration and document management.

Want Help Narrowing Down the Options?

This tool is pretty useful. We’ve partnered with Crozdesk to give you access to their “Software Finder”.

If you input some of the details about your project and the features you’re looking for in a project management tool, it will generate a list of tools that match your preferences. You provide your email, and they send over a nice PDF guide with a summary of your best matches.

What Do You Think About These Top Creative Software Applications?

Creative teams require creative solutions to their project management problems. The above are some suggestions but, as always, not a comprehensive list. What tools or software do you use for creative project management? I’d love to see your suggestions in the comments.

Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedigitalprojectmanager.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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