Tools to Assist the Creative Process

Photo by Kourtney Jackson Smith

Photo by Kourtney Jackson Smith

Tools to Assist the Creative Process




"Over the past year, OPI started building out our digital team. To help me manage my newly formed team of digital designers, copywriters & creators – I was looking for a platform that could help me visualize the upcoming tasks, deadlines and responsibilities of the team. Teamwork has been a huge help in the management of our upcoming projects & has kept me on track with the high velocity of deliverables coming our way."

— Erica LoGiudice, Digital Content Strategy Manager at OPI



Lindlund Alm Ruler

"The Alm Ruler is a designers dream, turning any physical, IRL object into digital pixels — or at least, that’s how I use it most. It actually measures in four ways: centimeters, inches, pica and pixels. Basically, I can measure a print object that I want to design in the same spec,  and know the exact pixel measurements from the get go. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s as cool piece to have on your desk as well."

— ChelseA Matthews, Founder and creative director at Matte Black




"The inability to focus on any one thing at a time has become as characteristic of our current culture. I, myself have always struggled with concentration, coupling my own lacking with technology notifications focus can be impossible. Apparently, according to Microsoft, our attention span has dropped to 8 seconds, down from 12 (so it’s not just me!).


The major issue, with all this I had, was my work was suffering. I work across multiple global locations, my collective doesn't have an office and we are all often travelling. This means slack and email are necessary tools to keep everyone in communication throughout the day. Great in theory, but I know I am not alone in thinking, highly irritating at times - except for that nice dopamine hit you get from them. We work on strategies for major brands, this means we all need to get into a deep flow at least a few times a week. Being creative means you must have presence and give your brain the room for mundanity and real mind wondering not an instahole.


Recently I put down all my success of flow to Cold Turkey, you can select what to block and for how long so you can’t wander off onto R29 or be waylaid by the ping of an email. Sadly it doesn’t work on phones, but coupled with a quick switch to aeroplane mode I feel like with this new tool I am finding it much easier to get to that productive state of flow."

— Sarah Johnson, Co-Founder of The Akin




"Coming of age in the early 2000s, AOL Instant Messenger was a significant part of my teenage years. On December 15th of this year, this relic of the past will unfortunately be closing down forever. But in the last few years, Slack, a communication app built for workplaces, has rapidly gained popularity. And the beauty of it? It is like AIM on steroids. It makes communicating internally, sharing documents (and gifs), easy, organized, and fun to do. By taking internal communication off of email, it helps to declutter your inbox and makes it so that you can't accidentally cc a client on something internal. It also helps the entire company stay abreast of what is going on with clients they don't particularly have involvement with... this helps with a sense of camaraderie and accountability across the team. With its open platform, new integrations are coming out each day that make it a necessary part of any digital work environment. So while AIM will soon be RIP, I'm thankful that Slack is here to stay."

— Jonathan Godinho, Project manager at Matte Black




"I've been using Trello as a project management tool since 2013.  I was working at another agency, and along with our studio manager spent weeks deep diving into the different platforms and apps to find the best fit for our team. I've explored and tested other options the interim; but flash forward 4 years and Trello is still my go to for organizing and overseeing the graphic design and digital content we're producing. The visual nature of the app makes it really easy for us to check in on the status of any project in progress. It gives full transparency to the whole team about what we're working on, deadlines, upcoming projects as well as client feedback and revision."



"A project management system lending itself to a variety of tasks, team sizes and industries, Kanban Flow provides a visual structure for organising projects. It allows users to add an image or avatar to their profile, making it easy to navigate which members of the team are assigned to which responsibilities. The interface is particularly useful for keeping track of longer term projects, given the ‘In Progress’ tab, alongside those quick-fire tasks. This concept is also useful for assessing personal productivity within collaborative projects. It also encourages time management in quite a literal sense, with an integrated stopwatch timer and ‘Time Spent Report’ allowing you to gain an idea of which tasks have been the most pressing at the end of a piece of work."

— Abi Buller, Production Assistant




Google Drive is not only a way to save paper but a great community space for your team or company so that you can all collaborate. It is the most fully integrated system that I have used between email, calendar invites, presentations, finance and storing information.  From file storage to sharing documents/decks/presentations that are interactive and shared so it helps you work more efficiently with you team. On a small scale of being in the same room and all watching live changes in Google Presentations (there version of key note), to moments where you are pitching and your teams are spread out, to globally - allows you to share information more fluidly as well as be able. 

— Helena Yueh, Producer at 72&Sunny