“”
Best ToolsGeneralPlanning ToolsPM Tools

10 Best Creative Agency Project Management Software [2021]

By 11/05/2021 No Comments

This will help you quickly compare the best creative project management software—that’s PM software for designers, marketing agencies, branding studios, and other teams who can benefit from software to help manage the flow of their creative projects.

Best 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 brainpower 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. monday.com - Award-winning, visually intuitive tool for planning, tracking, and collaborating on work, fully stocked with customizable templates
  2. Screendragon - Best creative operations project management solution designed for high-performing in-house & agency teams
  3. ClickUp - Best free plan for creative project management software
  4. Workgroups DaVinci - Best creative project management software for workflow automation
  5. Wrike - Best for scaling organizations
  6. FunctionFox - Best online project management tool for creative teams
  7. Streamtime - Best job management software for creative businesses
  8. VOGSY - Best creative project management software for Google Workspace
  9. Kissflow Project - Intuitive project management software for creative teams
  10. Nuvro - Clean, efficient software for project collaboration, planning, and monitoring, with features geared towards distributed teams

Below you’ll find an overview of each of the 10 best creative project management software, with screenshots, feature overviews, and pricing.

Jump to creative PM software reviews

Creative Project 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 include 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 to get 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, listen to podcasts, 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.

In addition to the creative project management software on this list, you might want to look at these other relevant tools for creative teams:

  1. List of software for advertising agencies
  2. General agency management systems
  3. Digital asset management systems to organize your creative assets and metadata
  4. Project management software with really good visual tracking and planning features

Creative Agency Project Management Software DPM Logo Soup 2021
If you have ever been the project manager at the helm of a creative project or managed a creative agency or team, then you know that this position comes with a unique set of challenges.
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, and 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 project management. And so 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.

The Digital Project Manager is reader-supported. We may earn a commission when you click through links on our site — learn more about how we aim to stay transparent.

Creative Project Management Software Comparison Criteria

How do I evaluate project management for creative teams? Here’s a breakdown of some of 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 system for creative teams should facilitate this process with real-time collaborative editing in a shared workspace, 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

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

  • 14 days free trial
  • From $17/month for 2 users

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

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

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.

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 14-day trial.

  • Free demo
  • From $20/user/month

Screendragon - Best creative operations project management solution designed for high-performing in-house & agency teams

Manage the entire lifecycle of your creative project in one place, from briefing to production and delivery.

Screendragon is a creative project management software designed to speed-up creative delivery and reduce project risks and costs. It is used and loved by in-house and agency teams at Kellogg’s, BP, The International Olympic Committee, TBWA, and McCann World Group.

Screendragon’s user interface is easy-to-use and allows users to custom-brand the interface. It covers all aspects of creative project management with features for SOW creation, creative briefs, project management, visual proofing, file sharing, review and approval workflows, resource management and forecasting, and financial tracking. Advanced customization is available in the form of granular user permissions, powerful custom forms, templates, personalized dashboards, workflow management rules, and more.

Creative teams can visualize and manage tasks through interactive Gantt charts, Kanban boards, or list views. Screendragon’s integrated budget module makes it super easy to create estimates and track expenses for the lifecycle of the creative project. Another great feature for creative leaders is the capacity view, which offers a 360-degree view of both current and upcoming resource capacity.

Screendragon also has powerful features to help streamline creative production workflows including version control, advanced routing capabilities, ability to automate approvals, and more. It is the creative project management platform of choice for many in-house agencies with additional functionality to cater to their growing needs around increasing productivity and reducing costs.

Screendragon has an open API, enabling custom integrations with any solution. It offers native integrations with leading ERP systems such as SAP and PeopleSoft and can integrate with thousands of apps through Zapier like Slack, Trello, Google Drive, Office 365, and Microsoft Dynamics.

Screendragon starts from $20/user/month with a one-off implementation fee, and a free demo is available.

  • freemium version
  • Free forever with paid plans starting at $5/month

ClickUp - Best free plan for creative project management software

Small and large teams can easily plan projects, assign team members, and track progress.

ClickUp is a creative project management tool software that offers built-in creative features for every step in the design process.

Users can collaborate with their teams on any design project with features for proofing, threaded comments, chat, and easy file sharing. Share files and deliverables with clients and control what they can access with permissions. Collect approval, feedback, or customer information with custom branded forms. ClickUp also offers multiple views and templates for building and managing your creative workflow or getting projects started.

Task management features include task checklists, subtasks, and task templates, as well as the ability to filter, sort, search for, easily reorder, and view tasks in the manner most convenient for the team. Users can also create Gantt charts, calendars, and timelines to visualize tasks.

ClickUp also includes features for creating, sharing, and collaborative editing for documents and files. Users can comment on documents and tasks, assign comments, and chat with other team members for increased communication and collaboration. Reporting features include the ability to create custom dashboards, as well as six built-in report types for team reporting.

ClickUp offers native integrations with Slack, G Suite, Dropbox, and many more tools, as well as over 1,000+ integrations through Zapier.

ClickUp’s free plan is robust and includes all primary features. The unlimited plan starts at $5 a month per user and offers additional functionality.

  • 14 days free trial
  • From $55/user/month

Workgroups DaVinci - Best creative project management software for workflow automation

Team members can review work and provide feedback, view upcoming deadlines, and discuss projects with team members in the project hub.

Workgroups DaVinci is a creative project management software that covers a wide range of creative projects, including packaging design, social media advertising, and billboard production.

The tool includes configurable intake forms that can be used by internal and external clients to request work and for creative teams to scope and collect the info needed to deliver the work. The tool also includes workflow automation functionality for customizable task templates, checklists, and project statuses.

Users can also assign work to individuals or groups, get granular project-based time tracking, and see ongoing work and team members bandwidth. You can set up projects and tasks as Agile or Waterfall, depending on your needs. There is also a project hub that allows for real-time discussion and collaboration.

Another great feature is the integrated digital proofing and approval management functionality, which allows creative teams to request, capture, consolidate, and act on feedback.

Workgroups DaVinci costs from $55 per month per user, and a demo is available.

  • freemium version
  • 14 day free trial
  • $9.80/user/month

Wrike - Best for scaling organizations

Users can give feedback and collaborate on creative projects within Wrike.

Wrike is an award-winning creative project management software suitable for teams of five or more. Users can customize their workflows, dashboards, reports, and request forms with this highly configurable software. You can switch between Kanban boards, interactive drag-and-drop Gantt charts, and traditional workload views to visualize priorities. Wrike features customizable briefs and request forms, visual and customizable workload management, space for team members to provide feedback, and reporting and analytics.

Wrike has an easy-to-use interface and navigation with distinct spaces, folders, and tasks. You can switch between the home screen and timesheets, dashboards, calendars, reports, and a stream for notifications and messages. Users also have access to a variety of templates for common organizational processes.

The tool has over 400 integrations, including the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.

Wrike costs $9.80/user/month and offers four different price points, including a free version and plans which allow users to invite free external collaborators to a paid account.

  • Free demo
  • From $5/user/month

FunctionFox - Best online project management tool for creative teams

Function Fox offers colour-coded Gantt charts for monitoring progress and upcoming work.

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.

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 be saved as Excel, CSV, PDF, and HTML. Unfortunately, integrations beyond these internal add-ons are limited.

With a primary focus on time tracking, FunctionFox may not be the big-picture app that some teams need.

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

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $40/month, fixed price available

Streamtime - Best job management software for creative businesses

Streamtime has a To Do screen that keeps track of task progress and can automate time tracking.

Streamtime is a creative project management tool that allows users to create, plan, and manage projects. The tool’s interactive To Do screen replaces traditional timesheets and allows users to monitor progress and complete work.

Project managers can view and manage team member workloads from the To Do screen and the schedule view. Users can reschedule tasks and jobs using the drag-and-drop functionality, as well as plan tasks and jobs from the schedule view.

Streamtime’s reporting tools include preset segments that allow users to see work in progress, time spent by week or month, items over budget, or expenses for the month. Filters also allow users to create custom reports and export to .csv for further manipulation if needed.

Users can also measure how projects are tracking in terms of budget, manage expenses, keep track of invoicing, and more.

Streamtime includes integrations with Xero and QuickBooks, as well as many more through Zapier.

Pricing starts at $40 per month.

Pros

  • To Do screen replaces traditional timesheets
  • Schedule view with filtering capabilities that can be saved
  • Includes profitability reporting

Cons

  • Collaboration with external stakeholders not currently available
  • No Android app available
  • English language version only
  • freemium version
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $9/user/month

VOGSY - Best creative project management software for Google Workspace

Send out accurate invoices on time and reduce manual work with automated billing. From employee timesheets, to invoice, to approval flow, without any extra effort.

VOGSY provides creative agencies with the ability to automate project management workflows and admin tasks. The tool is built for Google Workspace and uses an intuitive Google Material Design interface. VOGSY generates and sends quotes and invoices to clients, suggests resources while you’re planning hours, creates project budgets, optionally pre-fills timesheets, and produces real-time financial reporting across projects and agencies.

Projects, resources, and tasks are viewable in Gantt chart timelines and visual project cards that show deliverable activities, resources, real-time budget consumption, and estimated vs. actual margins. Project cards keep everything in one location, including documents, tasks, emails, automated invoices, comms, and notes.

This tool is unique for covering services firms’ entire services chain from opportunity tracking to billing and reporting as well as Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Sheets integrations. Teams can work from their inboxes and follow up with clients immediately, as well as simultaneously edit, comment on, and mark up quote and invoice templates.

VOGSY is ideal for mid-sized professional services organizations looking to lay solid foundations for future growth, or larger ones that have tech stacks and are looking to bring data and operations into one place. Integrations include CRMs such as SalesForce and HubSpot, as well as financial systems such as QuickBooks and Xero.

VOGSY starts at $9/user/month and offers a 30-day free trial. It also offers a free version limited to one user.

  • freemium version
  • 15 days free trial
  • From $35/month (Includes 5 users)

Kissflow Project - Intuitive project management software for creative teams

Kissflow Project allows users to plan their team’s work, see who’s working on what, and deliver great results with minimal tracking. It ensures 360º visibility into projects with Kanban, list, and Matrix views.

Kissflow Project is an intuitive project management tool designed with a focus on collaboration, transparency, coordination, and productivity, much required for creative teams. It offers tracking features to provide a clearer view of items and tasks that actually matter to creatives.

The platform offers multiple views for projects including Kanban boards, list views, and swimlanes. The Project States function helps reduce the amount of tracking needed by allowing team members to mark tasks with one of three statuses — on hold, in progress, and done.

Something great about this tool is that it enables creatives to share project plans, documents, and other files as well as discuss projects directly within its interface. Team members also get reminders when due dates are approaching (although this is customizable, along with a lot of other features). Another great feature is the ability to set priorities and assign team members to them.

In essence, Kissflow Project does a great job of affording creatives the freedom to do what they’re best at: being creative!

Kissflow includes native Microsoft and G Suite integrations, and the platform offers a REST API and webhooks.

Pros

  • Multiple views like Kanban, lists, and swimlanes
  • On hold, in progress, and done states available for tracking progress
  • Powerful reporting features

Cons

  • No Gantt chart
  • No ability to set up recurring tasks
  • Not intended for complex projects
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $4/user/month

Nuvro - Clean, efficient software for project collaboration, planning, and monitoring, with features geared towards distributed teams

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

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.

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.

The Best Creative Project Management Software Summary

Software Overview Free Option Price Site
monday.com monday.com logo Read monday.com features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $17/month for 2 users Check out monday.com
Screendragon Screendragon logo Read Screendragon features & functionality

Free demo

From $20/user/month Check out Screendragon
ClickUp ClickUp logo Read ClickUp features & functionality Freemium version Free forever with paid plans starting at $5/month Check out ClickUp
Workgroups DaVinci Workgroups DaVinci logo Read Workgroups DaVinci features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $55/user/month Check out Workgroups DaVinci
Wrike Wrike logo Read Wrike features & functionality Freemium version

14 day free trial

$9.80/user/month Check out Wrike
FunctionFox FunctionFox logo Read FunctionFox features & functionality

Free demo

From $5/user/month Check out FunctionFox
Streamtime Streamtime logo Read Streamtime features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $40/month, fixed price available Check out Streamtime
VOGSY VOGSY logo Read VOGSY features & functionality Freemium version

30 days free trial

From $9/user/month Check out VOGSY
Kissflow Project Kissflow Project logo Read Kissflow Project features & functionality Freemium version

15 days free trial

From $35/month (Includes 5 users) Check out Kissflow Project
Nuvro Nuvro logo Read Nuvro features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $4/user/month Check out Nuvro

Other Project Management Software For Creative Agencies

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

Which Creative Project Management Software Do You Use?

I hope you found a useful project management system to accommodate your creative team’s workflow.

Which project management software from this list is your favorite to use? Do you have another tool in mind that you would add to this list? Do you have any tips to maximize the effectiveness of these tools? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

For updates on our latest articles and podcasts from project management experts, sign up for the DPM newsletter.

You can also share tool recommendations and best practices with other digital PMs in our online community—get involved with our community in DPM Membership.

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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.