It’s a wonder how many people make it through the day without tapping into their creativity. From the big screen to the laptop screen, our culture is full of creative minds. Yet, as your creativity grows and your projects become more complex, your project management software might not be keeping pace. This list of the best creative project management software will solve that.
- Creative project management software is a category of tools that help creative teams manage their projects and collaborate effectively.
- Creative project management software should allow users to easily share files and folders and chat with one another. This allows users to take care of the bulk of their communication in the application.
- The most significant difference between creative project management software packages is the way they handle task assignments. Some have a simple task-first approach, like Trello and Asana, while others take a more flexible approach, like ClickUp and monday.com.
- The best creative project management solution for you depends on your unique needs. Find one that matches your creative team’s requirements to make the best of it.
While many project management tools are geared toward business, creative industries have unique needs. For example, in the advertising industry, you’ll hear the word “campaign” a lot. It’s not just about creating one ad or video for one product, you have to think about how to create an overarching “campaign” for many products over the course of months or even years.
Hence, the need for strong organization and project planning remains, but aspects of these different creative industries require unique solutions for project management. That’s where this article comes in. We’ve reviewed dozens of tools to give you an overview of some of the best creative project management software out there, so you can get on with what really matters: creating.
Alternatively, check out our best project management software roundup for a broader look at our experts’ favorites.
Creative project management software is a set of tools used by creative teams to organize and manage projects. Creative projects differ from business projects in that they require special features like version access, more control over digital and collaboration tools.
monday.com helps creative and marketing teams manage their projects with ease, while also providing team collaboration tools that allow them to build stronger and more meaningful relationships with each other and their clients.
Top Creative Project Management Software
What Makes the Best Creative Project Management Software?
Creatives typically work in open and flexible environments, so policies and procedures often need to be more malleable than what a stricter corporate environment may require. Creatives need tools for collaboration and often require ways to plan large-scale events like conventions.
With that in mind, here’s a list of five of the best creative project management software offerings.
- monday.com — Great for version control and annotations
- ClickUp — Most generous free plan for creative projects
- Asana — Best for task-heavy and operational creative teams
- Wrike — Suitable for large-scale agencies
- Hive — Combination of adaptability and collaboration
When hunting for the best creative project management solutions for your team, there are a number of factors you’ll want to consider. The first thing our experts recommend is to look for an appealing interface. If you’re going to spend time in it daily, it’s worth checking whether your team will enjoy working with it.
Second, you’ll want a system that’s easy to maneuver. The last thing you need is for your team to spend unnecessary time getting used to a new program or struggling with its user interface.
You also need to make sure that your creative project management software comes with integrations with other software you use. This is especially relevant if you’re planning to use a customized intake form or brief template. Consider what design programs you use and ensure that they can integrate seamlessly with the new tool.
Version editing and project collaboration are also perks. Collaborating in real time through comments makes it easier for everyone to communicate their needs and resolve issues quickly, without having to wait until they have time to meet.
Given these criteria, our top project management picks for creatives are monday.com, ClickUp, Asana, Wrike and Hive for their simplicity of use and collaboration features (and aesthetics, of course).
The 5 Best Project Management Software Options for Creative Projects
Choosing the right creative project management software is not a decision to be made lightly. It’s one of the tools you’ll use every day, and it can have a critical impact on the success of your projects. Here are five you can kick off with today.
More details about monday.com:
- Pricing: Free plan available with up to 2 seats; Paid plans start at $8 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: monday.com
- Basic plan is limited
- Minimum 3 users required
monday.com is a complete creative project management tool for professionals to use from start to finish, with features including tasks, resource allocation, budget management, timelines, milestones and communication. For example, publishers can use it to stay ahead of book launches, review version edits of manuscripts or book cover graphics and coordinate with the press and other external parties.
Its features allow you to move faster and keep a close eye on your projects. monday.com offers a drag-and-drop interface, allowing you to arrange your creative workflows in a manner that makes the most sense to you and your team, while also leaving room for new ideas as they come up. The intuitive user interface reduces unnecessary clicks, making everything you need readily available.
If you’re looking for a way to simplify collaboration with your team members or clients, monday.com offers clear visibility into the progress of everyone involved in the project. You can use built-in calendars to schedule meetings or events and integrate it with your tasks. It also offers integration with other tools, like Slack or Dropbox, so people can comment on the status of tasks or share files.
Pre-made Intuitive Creative Templates
monday.com offers many templates for a creative agency to use from the get-go. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can whip up a ready-made intake form for creative requests, a calendar for post-production scheduling or your own media coverage campaign. You don’t have to worry about setting up the fields — they’re already there when you use the templates. This can save a lot of time over creating project management schedules and systems from scratch.
If you’re working as an independent creative freelancer, monday.com’s free plan (limited to two seats) may be suitable for you. Tasks are capped at 1,000. You get access to two basic views: the list view and kanban view. However, if you’re part of a bigger creative team, you’ll have to go for the paid subscriptions. The drawback here is that you have to purchase a minimum of three seats.
Read our monday.com review to know more.
- Maximum users: 2, Kanban Board, & list
- Minimum users: 3, Price per user, Basic features
- Minimum users: 3, Price per user, Expanded features
- Minimum users: 3, Price per user, Advanced features
- Enterprise-level features.
More details about ClickUp:
- Pricing: Free plan available with cap of 100MB storage; paid plans start at $7 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: clickup.com
- Very good free plan
- Tons of features
- Unlimited storage on paid plans
- Unintuitive UI navigation
- Onboarding could be easier
- Some features lack polish
With its distinctive user interface, ClickUp is incredibly easy to use for a multitude of creative projects, but especially for design. It offers a calendar view and Gantt charts for those who prefer to work with timelines, as well as kanban and list views. The platform also offers built-in integrations with Figma and Invision and templates for everything from clothing and apparel design to web page creation, giving your team the flexibility and adaptability required to be innovative.
To save time and ensure consistency, ClickUp allows you to create and save templates. If you need assistance getting started, you can check the template center for a variety of ready-to-use templates. Creative teams can make use of features like ClickUp Mind Maps and ClickUp Whiteboards to display their thoughts and processes in a more collaborative way.
Get Creative With ClickUp’s Whiteboard
ClickUp’s Whiteboard feature can help you manage multiple projects and keep track of where your work stands compared to the rest of your team’s. Each project has a column that contains a checklist of tasks — essentially everything that needs to get done to complete the project. Every task on the list has a link that shows who’s working on it and their progress. This allows you to see at a glance which items have been completed and which are still in progress.
You can also add new columns that contain other kinds of information. For example, you might create one column called “Needs Art” that contains links to all the tasks that haven’t been assigned creative assets yet, so you know where you stand in terms of creating assets for the project.
ClickUp’s free version comes chock full of features. However, it does have its caps: 100MB per file upload and limits on integrations, dashboards, Gantt chart views and custom fields. If you’re planning to collaborate with external vendors or require extensive reporting features (including Agile), an upgrade could be worth it.
Check out our review of ClickUp for more details.
- Basic functionality with some limitations
- All prices per user
- All prices per user
More details about Asana:
- Pricing: Lifetime free plan for 15 members; Premium plan starts at $10.99 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: asana.com
- Good free plan
- Tons of features
- Very user-friendly
- Not cost-effective
- Mediocre security
Asana concentrates more on tasks. It can feel more like you’re constructing an elaborate Lego set than a to-do list, and that’s because Asana puts more emphasis on the tasks and how they’re structured than on their deadlines. It’s particularly useful for creative teams who need to visualize the iterative process of getting something done.
To make sure your deliverables arrive on time, you can stay on top of your creative workflow management and assign tasks depending on the available resources.
The user-friendly design of Asana makes it easy enough for anyone to run it, including complete beginners. A hierarchical chart that details the overall project and each job is available for you to analyze your project statistics.
Collaborate Better With Asana
Asana’s creative asset feedback feature is great for all types of creative teams. For example, it can be used by film production teams that need to easily search for all assets related to a particular shot in one place. This can help to continuously update and improve upon every frame throughout production. The feature is especially useful because it allows all members of a team to give and receive feedback on designs, prototypes, presentations and any other digital assets.
This feature lets the team collaborate on design and improve the quality of each individual’s work, making Asana one of the best collaboration tools. The best part is, you can add this feature to any project, whether it’s a website redesign or a new logo for your company.
Asana’s feature-packed free plan allows up to 15 users. If you want to operate your creative workflows at a bigger level by integrating external tools, you should try one of the paid versions.
Read our full Asana review for more insights.
- Up to 15 users
- Price is per user. unlimited users, expanded features
- Price is per user. unlimited users, even more features
- Custom pricing, advanced security features
More details about Wrike:
- Pricing: Free plan with a cap of 2GB storage per account; Professional plan at $9.80 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: wrike.com
- Great free plan
- Exceptional security
- Shady privacy policies
- Expensive paid plans
- Lacks detailed tutorials
Wrike’s creative project management software gives you a bird’s eye view of your projects to help you assess them quickly. It comes with pre-existing templates and tools for different sets of tasks, including a built-in integration with Adobe Creative Cloud. You can manage your resources by creating designated folders for files and attachments, which are easy to find again later.
The paid plans in Wrike allow you to create, customize and share workspaces. You can stay on top of your projects and guide your team using real-time collaborative communication tools. The project tracking tools let you track your progress and task dependencies using Gantt charts, kanban boards, timeline views and more.
Process Automation Made Easy
Wrike’s automation feature segregates tasks and requests based on conditions you set, helping you prioritize your operations better. Other creative workflow features — such as customized request forms, team communication and review and approval process tools — can help creative project managers achieve their goals and satisfy the needs of clients.
Wrike’s free plan includes task- and subtask-management features. However, the free plan limits you to 200 active tasks and 2GB of storage. You should consider upgrading to a paid plan if you want extra storage, shareable workspaces and illustrative views.
Learn more in our full Wrike review.
- Unlimited users. Basic features.
- Price is per user. Plans for 5, 10 and 15 users.
- Price is per user. No monthly option. Plans for 5 to 200 users.
- Plans for 5 to an unlimited number of users.
More details about Hive:
- Pricing: Free plan available for up to 2 users. Paid plans start at $12 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: hive.com
- User-friendly UI
- Generous free plan
- Syncs with external apps
- Dodgy privacy policies
- Desktop app can be slow
Hive’s project management system comes with pre-existing and customizable templates, so you can easily create and share separate project campaigns for each client. Hive also allows you to create sub-projects, which lets you compartmentalize your goals and better organize them.
For example, if you’re a party planner, you can use sub-projects for each step to planning a party, like invitations, place cards, decorations, food preparation and so on. Each can have a due date associated with it and will show up separately in your task list. You can also assign project tasks to your team members based on their workloads to ensure workflow is centralized and optimized.
The platform’s project management time tracker feature ensures you don’t miss your deadlines. You can track the progress of your project or tasks with different illustrative views, like Gantt charts and kanban boards. You can also set milestones and reminders to stay ahead of all your project deliverables.
Seamless Synchronization With Other Apps
With Hive’s exceptional integration feature, you can easily pull data and tasks from third-party apps, including Google Workspace, Dropbox, Microsoft Apps, Github, Slack and Jira. For example, if your creative team uses file-sharing features across multiple design platforms, like Gimp, Adobe Photoshop and Canva, you can pool them together and maximize your productivity by synchronizing your data. Hive even has a native Photoshop integration.
You can get a generous set of features including Gantt charts and kanban boards in Hive’s free plan, which is limited to two users. If you wish to synchronize third-party apps to improve productivity, you should go for a paid plan. You can unlock a free 14-day trial to try the paid plans before you subscribe.
Read more in our Hive review.
- Max 2 users; 500MB storage; Up to 10 users; Unlimited tasks; Unlimited collaborative notes; Gantt, Kanban, calendar & table views; Email in Hive; Desktop, iOS and Android apps; Native chat messaging; Custom emojis
- Price per user; Everything in “Free”; Unlimited files & storage; Unlimited workspace members; Workspace add-ons; External guest access; Shareable forms; Time tracking; In-app calendar; Cloud storage integrations; Zoom and Slack from Hive
- Everything in Teams; Flexible add-ons included; Enhanced security and permission controls; Custom analytics and reporting; Unlimited onboarding; Dedicated Customer Success Manager; Enterprise API; Access to Professional Services
Finding the best project management software for digital and creative teams can seem like a daunting task with so many options out there, but it doesn’t have to be. If you know what you’re looking for in your software, you can find it much faster.
Our top pick is monday.com. We found it to be the most user-friendly option, with an intuitive layout and several features that allow you to customize it to fit your team’s needs. It’s also the best project management tool for marketing teams and a great project management software for designers.
ClickUp came in second and is a great option for teams who want to save money and upgrade later. It offers more features than other free platforms and lets you pay as you go until you hit its limits.
Asana is the best free project management software for creatives. It has limited features for extensive collaboration compared to other options, but it’s flexible enough for a project manager overseeing a small team of up to 15 members.
At the end of the day, the right software depends on your needs. What is your favorite creative project management software? What factors do you consider when choosing one? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thank you for reading.