You’ve made it! After much hard work, you’re finally at the last stages of your design project – and now just need reviews and approval from your clients and stakeholders. This should be an effortless and quick process.
However, from our years of experience, this is rarely the case.
If you don’t have a clear review and approval workflow this stage can easily take weeks, or even months.
From endless email threads, to clients looking at completely the wrong design version, there are so many bottlenecks – none of which are strangers to most creative agencies.
But there is hope.
By taking advantage of the right tools, many agencies have already discovered that it is possible to remove these common bottlenecks, helping to deliver projects faster, and cutting turnaround times from weeks to months.
In this post we’re sharing our eight best design approval software solutions to help you prevent these problems, and deliver projects quicker and with far less hassle.
Say goodbye to stress and wasted time, and hello to a more profitable future!
#1: Atarim – The Best All-In-One Solution for Design Teams
Yes, this is us! But as a design agency ourselves, we built Atarim as the solution we desperately needed. We understand your pain points, because we had them too! That’s why we sat down to design the perfect solution, which has since grown to become one of the most popular tools available, used by thousands of design agencies.
Atarim is an all-in-one collaboration platform for design teams, agencies, and enterprises.
It offers a robust set of features that will allow you to cut the delivery time by half, and boost design approval time by 300%.
One of the key features of Atarim is having the ability to collaborate with clients in real time. You can leave comments directly on the design itself, and take advantage of a range of quick and simple markup tools.
Unlike other tools, we allow you to turn clients’ comments into tasks, complete with deadlines.
You can also track time on each task, monitor the overall effectiveness with in-depth analytics, and keep everything organized and on time. The built-in version system lets you maintain an easy-to-navigate record of all previous versions of a design, ensuring everyone can see the progress over time.
Are you already comfortable using existing agency tools for communication, such as Zapier, Slack, Monday, etc.?
If so, then you’ll be pleased to know that Atarim provides full integration with all of these platforms, as well as nearly a dozen more. No need to completely change the established processes your agency enjoys – just plug Atarim in, and enjoy the benefits.
But the great thing is – your clients will think you’re using Atarim for their benefit! Because Atarim makes it so much quicker, easier, and simpler for clients to provide feedback, they’ll see it as a win for them, not realizing that it’s helping you turn projects around faster, (and therefore increasing your profit!)
We offer a FREE forever plan, or paid plans supporting additional functionality, such as user permissions, dedicated success manager and team training, as well as a full white-label experience, starting at $25 a month.
#2: ProofHub – The Most Customizable Solution
ProofHub is a project management and team collaboration platform – much more than just a dedicated project approval solution. It’s ideal for non-technical users since it’s super user-friendly and intuitive – unlike many other solutions.
It supports the most common graphics file formats, including JPG, PNG, and PDF, and includes a range of markup tools to help make it clear what’s needed. ProofHub also includes versioning control, to help keep track of progress over time, and the changes introduced at each iteration.
Communication is also well managed, allowing internal discussions between team members directly linked to tasks, and with inline responses to keep the conversation organized.
ProofHub also allows you to create custom workflows, which are super-handy for tracking how tasks progress – keeping everyone on the same page throughout the project. For instance, here is an example of a content management workflow:
As you can see, each step is well mapped and documented. This will make it easier for your team to finish projects, deliver them quicker, and ensure the top quality.
To make it even more effective, you can also use project templates.
These will save you tons of time since you won’t have to get started on new projects from scratch, filling in the basic details, and setting up workflows. You have an option to add a tasklist, discussion topics, timesheets, and notes.
And if there’s something you don’t like (or can’t get used to), you can customize it – no matter whether it’s the UI, workflow, or project settings.
You can also define clear roles, and set permissions for different users. This is great for security reasons, and also for showing your team members or clients only what they need to see – keeping all internal documents “internal”.
ProofHub also offers a mobile app to help you manage projects on the go.
When it comes to cost, ProofHub has split its pricing structure into two flat fee-based plans, starting at $45 a month.
#3: GoVisually – The Best Dedicated Approval Software Solution
GoVisually is the world’s top-rated proofing and design approval tool.
It’s super-useful for design agencies dealing with different types of design work, whether it’s a standard design, PDFs, or even videos.
As a designer, you often create multiple versions of the same design. GoVisually allows you to compare different versions of a design side by side. This is a great way of showing the client exactly what has been changed, and how, helping them to decide on the best way forwards.
You can also collaborate in real time on any additional changes with both your team and clients. Plus, it also offers dedicated client review portals that provide a personalized experience. This makes the whole approval process more enjoyable while also reinforcing professionalism and strengthening client relationships.
To make the collaboration even more effortless, GoVisually also allows you to share work-in-progress directly from Adobe Creative Cloud. That’s right, you can update proofs and revisions in GoVisually without ever having to leave Adobe Creative Cloud.
Say goodbye to messy screenshots & endless email threads. GoVisually puts all your projects, reviews, and approvals in one place, eliminating any confusion and friction caused by switching between tools.
And in case they don’t support your favorite tool, one of their integrations definitely will. You can connect to over 3000+ apps using Zapier. This will help you automatically move information back and forth between GoVisually and thousands of popular apps.
GoVisually offers a simple pricing structure consisting of two pricing plans on a per-user, per-month basis, starting at $60 a month.
#4: Ziflow – The Best ‘Hand-Off’ Approval Software
Ziflow is a great design approval software if you’re looking for the highest efficiency, since it’s built for automating the whole workflow. It also supports over 1,200 media types. In this way, you can quickly capture and review feedback on multiple file types within one powerful platform.
There is also a high level of security and compliance.
For instance, you can add digital fingerprints to your creative asset workflow, protecting your brand, your team, and your clients.
You can also easily generate audit reports at any time. Ziflow saves and aggregates creative asset feedback instantly for compliance auditing. With a simple click, access and export every action taken on a creative asset from start to finish.
Ziflow also allows you to create compliance specific automated workflows by forcing the inclusion of required decision-makers. This is critical to protect you from penalties from legal issues – and the costs of hurting your brand credibility.
You will also get a detailed activity of each asset’s comments, and decisions, as well as which notifications were sent, and when. This allows you to catch up with your team on the project’s progress, and see who worked on the project.
And if you miss any functionality, you can integrate it with your favorite tools, including:
- Google Drive
Since Ziflow is all about automation and efficiency, you can also track your performance. It provides detailed reporting and analytics on the approval process. You can track the progress of designs, approval times, and identify any bottlenecks.
Ziflow offers one free and two paid plans, starting at $20/user/month.
#5: Filestage – The Best Approval Software for More Than Design
Filestage is the content review platform that makes approvals clearer, faster, and more collaborative. In fact, most of their users are able to cut feedback and approval times by 30% – signing off 92% of files in just two review rounds.
Since it’s a content review platform, it focuses on more than just design, including:
- Websites and UX design. Make feedback easy and intuitive for your clients instead of sharing designs with complex UX tools.
- Videos and commercials. Tap anywhere to pause videos and add comments and annotations, giving creators full context.
- Social media posts. Review content calendars and assets in one place so you can always find the files you need.
- Documentations. Review and collaborate on contracts, company manuals, and other important documents.
- Email and CRM. Share email sequences and campaigns to make feedback easier and more visual.
Filestage also provides a great user experience for both your team and clients.
It offers a user-friendly and intuitive interface, making it easy for internal teams to navigate and use the platform without extensive training or technical knowledge. Plus, there is no need to create an account for your clients – which is a huge plus.
(Since we know most clients absolutely hate having to do this!)
You also get a full white-label experience to make you look more professional. That’s right, Filestage offers customizable branding options, allowing you to present the platform to clients and stakeholders under your own brand identity.
You can also integrate it with all popular project management tools, which is enormously helpful for making your team more productive. Simply upload a file to your cloud drive, create a project in Filestage, assign review tasks in Asana, and send nudges for feedback in Slack.
All of that without lifting a finger!
The Filestage pricing plans start at $19 a month, and follows a per-user, per-month model.
#6: Aproove – The Best Approval Software for Large Enterprises
Aproove is a design review and approval tool for larger companies and enterprises.
One of our favorite features of Aproove is its user-friendly dashboard. It allows you to see project progression, while also automatically flagging at-risk or late proofs. This helps you prioritize and minimize any delays that slow down the progress.
You also get great version control and comparison views.
In fact, Aproove will automatically detect and highlight any changes between the proof versions in their comparison views. This helps stakeholders easily identify modifications and iterations, streamlining the approval process.
Your clients and team members can also collaborate in real-time, leave comments, annotations, and mark changes directly on the design files.
Also, Aproove prioritizes data security and confidentiality. It employs advanced encryption and secure cloud hosting to protect sensitive design assets and information. This prevents any data leaks that might lead to legal issues.
Also, Aproove provides pre-built reports that can track and analyze the health and performance of projects, and identify any bottlenecks in your process. You can track various KPIs and compare the current project’s performance with the previous ones. This will help you stay on top of your game and maximize your effectiveness.
They offer two paid plans for small and medium businesses and enterprises, starting at $750/month.
#7: ReviewStudio – The Best For Review & Approval Presentation
ReviewStudio is an online proofing and collaboration tool for photo studios, advertising agencies, educational institutions, and even restaurant chains. It offers intuitive features to automate workflow, and remove unnecessary manual loads.
It also provides excellent markup tools to give quick and accurate feedback, including:
- Shape choices
- Sticky notes
Right after you make changes, you can present them LIVE, along with your reviews, to either your team or clients using Review Studio’s presentation mode.
They also provide a seamless experience for collaborators. ReviewStudio offers easy guest access for clients and key decision makers – no downloads or updates required. Also, since it’s a cloud-based solution, everyone works in the same space, on the same file, eliminating the need for endless email chains.
For guests and reviewers, as little as just a few minutes is usually all it takes to become familiar with ReviewStudio’s review and approval tools.
To keep the work moving forward you can also set deadlines and reminders.
You can use automated workflows to keep your feedback, tasks, and revisions on track. ReviewStudio allows you to see a complete history of all approval decisions, as well as tasks and feedback. This makes it super-easy to understand how and why a decision was made.
If you don’t find a feature you need, then Review Studio offers robust API and Zapier integrations to seamlessly integrate over 2000+ applications.
They have split their pricing structure into five straightforward pricing plans, starting at $24 a month.
#8: GoProof – The Best Approval Software for Adobe Creative Cloud Users
GoProof specializes in providing proofing and collaboration tools specifically designed for creative content, including designs, artwork, and marketing materials – and they have tailored the entire tool for this specific purpose.
For instance, it seamlessly integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud. This allows designers to send design proofs directly from Adobe applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign for review and approval.
Plus, collaborators don’t need a copy of Adobe Creative Cloud to proof work.
A hi-res image version of your document is presented to them through their encrypted website, so you can invite as many collaborators as you want.
That’s why it works so well: you use Adobe CC – they use a browser.
GoProof also supports customizable proofing stages and workflows. This ensures that designs progress through the appropriate review and approval stages based on the project’s requirements.
It also has a mobile app, with the option to send you notifications of any comments or approvals.
And in case you’re looking to monitor your performance over time, GoProof provides a comprehensive insights reporting dashboard. This will help you quote more accurately, avoid scope creep, and maximize your effectiveness.
With GoProof you also have an option to track workload on each of your designers. Key performance data shown up by Insights gives a true feel for the strain and effort your designers are under, and helps you manage their workload more effectively.
The pricing is based on the number of users and their specific roles. They don’t offer any free plans, with the paid membership starting at $1,500 per year. You can also hop on their free trials and product demos upon request.
After Action Report – Cut Your Project Approval Time And Maximize Client Satisfaction
Project review and approval should be an effortless task you look forward to. Yet, most agencies don’t view it this way. This is mostly because they don’t have a clear process of project review and approval. If this is you, this process is probably chaotic and leads to a lot of bottlenecks.
Fortunately, you can fix all of this, deliver projects much more efficiently, and slash the delivery time by using review and project approval software. And that’s what our team will help you with!
Atarim can help you review and approve projects in no time. We allow you to collaborate with clients in real time, turn comments into tasks, and keep the whole workflow straightforward – automating any repetitive tasks.
With our in-depth reporting and time-tracking feature, you can see how well your project is progressing and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
If you want to eliminate all issues with the design review and approval process give Atarim a shot for free now.
- Integrated into the leading visual collaboration platform trusted by 13,000+ agencies (web dev, design, and beyond) worldwide.
- Supporting project delivery for 1,200,000+ of their clients and stakeholders.
- Deliver projects in weeks instead of months.