creative approval software

10 Best Creative Approval Software Tools to Use in 2024

If you have been in the trenches of creative teams for years, you are no stranger to the struggles of the never-ending loop of revisions and approval processes. It can bring projects to a grinding halt, leaving everyone frustrated.

That’s where creative approval software comes in. These tools streamline the final approval process, centralize feedback, and keep everyone aligned. But with so many options, selecting the right one can be overwhelming.

Worry not! I’m here to guide you through the top 10 creative approval tools and software options available today. We’ll explore what makes each one stand out and why they might be the perfect fit for your team.

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What Should You Look for In Creative Approval Software?

Miscommunication, lost revisions, and scattered feedback is common, leading to time wastage and missed deadlines. Creative approval software can help you cut through the clutter and enhance visibility across the feedback process. 

However, it’s always better to consider a few factors before selecting the right creative approval workflow software for your design teams.

Here are some essential features believed to be crucial for creative approval workflow software:

  • Management capabilities: Allows you to assign, track, and monitor the progress of various creative projects
  • Visual proofing tools: Annotate directly on images, videos, or PDFs for clear, actionable feedback
  • Workflow customization: Create approval stages mirroring your team’s process and progress, e.g., Draft, Review, Revision, and Final
  • Centralized communication: Consolidate all feedback and discussions within the platform for easy reference
  • Version control: Track changes and revisions seamlessly to avoid confusion
  • Integrations: Connect your approval tool with other project management software to build a holistic view and connected workflow
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The 10 Best Creative Approval Software to Use in 2024

1. ClickUp

ClickUp's Design Project Management platform
Manage your creative workflows seamlessly with ClickUp

ClickUp is a powerhouse for the creative process and project management. Beyond simple file sharing, it offers robust features that are ideal for creative as well as design teams, providing a centralized hub for managing projects, tasks, communication, and approvals, all within an intuitive interface.

Task statuses customization

ClickUp excels in task management and clearly defines who’s responsible for each step of the automated approval workflow proces. ClickUp Tasks allows you to assign tasks to specific team members, ensuring everyone knows their role.

ClickUp Tasks
Plan, organize, and collaborate on any project with ClickUp’s task management

ClickUp also lets you set deadlines and prioritization for each task, promoting accountability and ensuring timely approvals.

But are you overwhelmed by large tasks? You can break down complex approvals into smaller, more manageable subtasks using ClickUp’s subtask feature. It makes the process easier to follow and keeps everyone on the same page.

You can also create checklists within each subtask, outlining all the steps involved in the approval process. This ensures that every aspect of the creative asset is reviewed before proceeding.

ClickUp allows you to create custom statuses that reflect your specific approval process. For example, you might have statuses like “In Review,” “Needs Changes,” and “Approved.”  It gives your team a clear understanding of where each creative asset stands in the approval pipeline.

ClickUp 3.0 List view Progress status
Update the task statuses based on your priority and urgency with ClickUp

Visual proofing tool

ClickUp offers a dedicated comment section within each task. ClickUp comments allow team members to provide feedback directly on the creative asset, eliminating the need for scattered email threads.

ClickUp Chat View
Comment on your team’s tasks as and when needed, eliminating confusion with ClickUp

ClickUp’s built-in proofing tools allow users to annotate images and PDFs directly. Highlight specific areas, leave comments, and tag team members, ensuring everyone understands the exact revisions needed. ClickUp’s Annotations keep the visual feedback very clear and eliminate confusion.

Automate the flow and save time

ClickUp lets you automate repetitive tasks within the review and approval process. For example, you can set up an automation to automatically move the task to the next stage once approval is given or a specific condition is met. This streamlines the workflow for an efficient approval process and reduces the need for manual intervention.

For example, once a task status is changed to “Approved,” it can automatically be moved to the next step in your workflow. This helps ensure a smooth and efficient process.

Shared dashboards

ClickUp’s shared dashboards offer a centralized view of project progress. Everyone on the team can see the status of creative assets, deadlines, and who is responsible for the next step. This transparency keeps everyone informed and accountable.

ClickUp Dashboard
Creates fully customizable Dashboards to prioritize your work and improve project performance with ClickUp’s Dashboard

ClickUp fosters streamlined communication by keeping all feedback, discussions, and task updates within the platform, improving team efficiency.

That’s not all! Do you have recurring approval processes for specific types of creative assets? ClickUp allows you to create templates that capture all the steps and tasks involved. This saves time when setting up new projects and ensures consistency across your creative workflow.

Two ClickUp templates for creative projects

ClickUp’s Creative Request Form Template streamlines your creative request process efficiently. It offers a consistent structure for every creative request, ensuring all relevant information is collected quickly and easily.

Set up a smooth request process to gather the necessary details swiftly with ClickUp’s Creative Request Form Template

ClickUp’s Project Request and Approval Template is another template that helps to manage your marketing team’s workflow. You can create and manage any number of approval requests seamlessly with this readymade template. 

The ClickUp Project Request and Approval template helps you quickly and efficiently request, track, and approve new projects.

Streamline inter-departmental communication and guarantee that every request receives the attention it deserves with ClickUp’s Project Request and Approval Template

ClickUp best features

  • ClickUp Templates: Jumpstart your creative projects with ClickUp’s pre-built templates. It works well for tasks like design sprints, content marketing campaigns, and video production
  • ClickUp Mind Maps: Brainstorm and visually organize ideas with ClickUp Mind Maps 
  • ClickUp Forms: Need help with online forms for your company? ClickUp Forms are the perfect solution as they offer various fields for users to enter the required information. These fields then become part of the database, accessible to your team members
  • Time tracking & reporting: Gain insights into project timelines and resource allocation with ClickUp’s Time-Tracking features. Generate reports to identify areas for improvement and optimize your workflow
  • Integrations: Connect ClickUp with your favorite design tools like Figma and Dropbox for a seamless workflow

ClickUp limitations

  • ClickUp offers a wide range of features, which can be overwhelming for new users
  • There’s a learning curve involved in mastering the platform
  • Some advanced features are enabled only in higher-tier plans

ClickUp pricing

  • Free forever
  • Unlimited: $7/month per user
  • Business: $12/month per user
  • Enterprise: Contact for pricing
  • ClickUp Brain: Add to any paid plan for $5 per member per month

ClickUp ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.7/5 (2,000+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (2,000+ reviews)

2. ProofHub

ProofHub goes beyond basic task management. It allows your team to directly annotate images and files, ditching confusing email threads and endless revisions. Plus, you can design custom review boards and workflows tailored to your specific creative process. Version control lets you track changes and revert to previous versions if needed, ensuring transparency and eliminating confusion.

With ProofHub, discussions happen right within the platform, and all project files are stored and shared in one central location. This keeps everyone on the same page and eliminates the need for endless email chains and version control headaches. 

ProofHub best features

  • Directly annotate images, PDFs, and even web pages with ProofHub’s built-in markup & annotation tools
  • Visualize project workflows with Kanban boards and Gantt charts to track task dependencies
  • Create custom workflows with sequential review stages, assign reviewers, and set deadlines with ProofHub’s visual review boards
  • Generate reports to analyze project performance, identify roadblocks, and track team progress toward goals

ProofHub limitations

  • Offers a slightly less customizable workflow experience
  • Limited features in the mobile version
  • The range of integrations is not as extensive as a few competitors

ProofHub pricing

  • Essential plan: $50/month (unlimited users, 15GB storage, limited features)
  • Plus plan: $99/month (unlimited users, 100GB storage, additional features like custom roles and time tracking)
  • Enterprise plan: Custom pricing (custom features, high-volume storage, priority support)

ProofHub ratings & reviews

  • G2: 4.2/5 (1,500+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.4/5 (1,000+ reviews)

3. Ashore

via Ashore

Ashore lets you share files seamlessly, even gigabytes at a time, without email limitations. But security is important. You can set expiry dates on shared links, restricting access after a specific timeframe.  Password protection adds another layer of defense, ensuring only authorized users can view your work.

Going beyond basic security, Ashore lets you maintain a professional brand identity. Upload your company logo and customize the look and feel of your file transfers. This adds a polished touch and reinforces your brand image when working with clients or external partners. 

Ashore best features

  • Ensure the confidentiality of your work by setting expiration dates and passwords on shared links
  • Support multiple file types, including images, PDFs, documents, HTML, live websites, audio, and video
  • Upload and share large files (up to 50GB) without email limitations
  • Connect Ashore with popular design tools like Figma and Dropbox for a more streamlined workflow
  • Personalize the file transfer experience with custom backgrounds and messages

Ashore limitations

  • Ashore primarily serves as an online proofing software that focuses on feedback. For extensive project management needs, integrating with another separate platform may be necessary
  • Limitations in functionality on the mobile version compared to the desktop version

Ashore pricing

  • Free: forever (limited features)
  • Standard: $18/month per user
  • Premium: $33/month per user

Ashore ratings & reviews

  • G2: 4.5/5 (300+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (250+ reviews)

4. Hightail

While not a full-fledged project management platform like ClickUp, Hightail offers a unique blend of secure file-sharing and creative collaboration tools.

It excels at sending large files easily and securely while providing key feedback and approval features, making it a valuable asset for creative teams.

You can consolidate feedback and discussions within the Hightail platform by attaching comments to specific parts and centralizing all communication for easy reference.

Hightail best features

  • Tightens your grip on data security and allows you to set granular access controls for shared files
  • Embed watermarks onto your files, making it easy to identify unauthorized copies or leaks
  • See who has accessed your files, when they downloaded them, and how much time they spent viewing them
  • Connect Hightail with popular design tools like Dropbox and Slack for a more streamlined workflow

Hightail limitations

  • Primarily a file-sharing platform that lacks project management capabilities
  • The free plan offers limited storage space, which may not be suitable for teams with large creative assets
  • Version control features are challenging to track and revert to specific revisions

Hightail pricing

  • Lite plan: Free
  • Pro plan: $12/month per user
  • Teams plan: $24/month per user
  • Business plan: $36/month per user

Hightail ratings & reviews

  • G2: 4.3/5 (1,800+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.5/5 (1,500+ reviews)

5. Approval Studio

With Approval Studio, you can easily craft custom workflows, define multi-stage approvals, assign reviewers based on roles, or even incorporate conditional logic. This customization ensures your approvals flow smoothly and seamlessly align with your team’s structure and project requirements.

Plus, Approval Studio offers offline review capabilities with detailed activity tracking. Your team can review and annotate files on the go, even without an internet connection. This keeps approvals moving forward, and insightful activity logs provide review times and reviewer behavior data. 

Use this information to identify bottlenecks and optimize your creative approval process for maximum efficiency.  Approval Studio puts you in control, allowing you to design a system that works for you and your team.

Approval Studio best features

  • Provide a professional experience for reviewers with custom branding within the Approval Studio platform
  • Create customizable workflows with conditional logic to define multi-stage approvals
  • Review and provide feedback on video and audio files directly within Approval Studio
  • Track reviewer activity, identify bottlenecks, and optimize your workflows

Approval Studio limitations

  • Offers a limited free trial, making it challenging to fully test the platform before committing
  • A steeper learning curve compared to its competitors

Approval Studio pricing

  • Lite Plan: $50/month (5 users included)
  • Pro plan: $160/month (5 users included)
  • ProXL plan: $300/month (15 users included)
  • Enterprise: $6599/month (unlimited users)

Approval Studio ratings & reviews

  • G2: 4.9/5 (38 reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.8/5 (33 reviews)

6. GoProof

GoProof integrates directly with Adobe Creative Cloud, and you can keep revisions flowing smoothly within the familiar Adobe environment.

GoProof allows you to leave precise annotations directly on top of your PSDs, PDFs, and even web pages–all within the Adobe application.  Highlight specific areas, add comments, and tag team members for crystal clear communication.  

As a collaboration tool, GoProof also helps you to communicate seamlessly with your team members, keeping your creative vision on track.

GoProof best features

  • Allows collaborators to provide feedback and annotations directly on top of your designs within Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and other Adobe CC applications
  • Grants temporary access to external reviewers without requiring them to create GoProof accounts
  • Generates a unique proofing link to share your creative assets with reviewers
  • Reviews and approves creative assets on the go with GoProof’s mobile app

GoProof limitations

  • Limited customization options
  • Excels at proofing and feedback but lacks a few project management features for providing comprehensive solutions
  • The free plan offers restrictive features and storage space, making it unsuitable for teams with extensive proofing needs

GoProof pricing

  • Basic plan: $150/month

GoProof ratings & reviews

  • G2: 4.3/5 (15+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.3/5 (55+ reviews)

7. Filestage

FileStage goes beyond basic file sharing. You can create custom-branded client portals and a professional online space to showcase your work and gather feedback.  Plus, FileStage allows guest reviewer access, eliminating the need for clients to create accounts saving everyone time and hassle.

It also provides automated email reminders that keep projects on track, and detailed activity tracking provides valuable insights.  See how much time reviewers spend on your work and identify areas needing clarification. Use this data to optimize your workflow and ensure a smoother approval process for future projects.  

Filestage’s version control features help to track changes and revisions seamlessly. You can easily revert to previous versions, ensuring transparency and clear communication throughout the project lifecycle.

Filestage best features

  • Create custom-branded client portals. Upload project assets, present revisions, and gather feedback within a professional and secure online environment
  • Utilise AI technology to analyze video content and automatically generate timestamps for each scene
  • Keep projects moving forward with automated email reminders and notifications
  • Gain valuable insights into the review process with detailed activity logs 

Filestage limitations

  • Limited project management features
  • Steep learning curve for new users
  • Few third-party integrations

Filestage pricing

  • Free
  • Basic plan: $59/month (unlimited team members)
  • Professional plan: $299/month (unlimited team members)
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

Filestage ratings & reviews

  • G2: 4.6/5 (230+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (100+ reviews)

8. Miro

via Miro

Miro provides a boundless canvas where you can add sticky notes, mind maps, flowcharts, and various visual elements.  Structure your brainstorming sessions, organize complex projects, and explore ideas creatively. 

It allows everyone to jump on the board simultaneously, adding ideas, leaving comments, and refining concepts.  Miro collaboration features foster a dynamic brainstorming environment and ensure everyone’s on the same page from the beginning.

Miro also integrates seamlessly with popular project management tools and allows you to embed external content. Streamline your workflow by incorporating existing tasks and resources directly onto your Miro board.  

Miro best features

  • Provides a boundless digital canvas for teams to explore ideas freely
  • Miro’s sticky notes & whiteboard tools recreate the familiar experience of brainstorming on a physical whiteboard within a digital space
  • Visualize project workflows with Kanban boards. Easily drag and drop tasks between stages (e.g., To Do, In Progress, Done, etc.) for a clear understanding of project progress
  • Offers a vast library of pre-built templates for various brainstorming activities, user journey mapping, and project planning
  • Spark creativity on the go and capture ideas anywhere with the Miro mobile app. Access boards, contribute to brainstorming sessions, and even work offline

Miro limitations

  • While Miro does offer task management capabilities, it lacks the robust features of a dedicated project management platform
  • Complex boards with numerous elements can cause slowdowns or lag, especially on less powerful devices

Miro pricing

  • Free
  • Starter plan: $10/month per user
  • Business plan: $20/month per user
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

Miro ratings & reviews

  • G2: 4.8/5 (5000+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (1500+ reviews)

9. Pastel

via Pastel

Pastel is your ally for streamlined website reviews and a smoother development process. Clients, designers, or anyone involved in the project can then leave comments directly on the live website itself, just like using sticky notes. Highlight specific areas for improvement with a simple click. 

Explain your suggestions with clear text on the sticky note, and even tag relevant team members to ensure everyone’s on the same page.  This crystal-clear communication keeps revisions on track and eliminates confusion about what needs to be changed.

Pastel integrates seamlessly with popular project management tools you already use.  This centralizes your workflow and eliminates switching between multiple platforms, saving you valuable time and frustration.

Pastel best features

  • Capture screenshots for areas that require more detailed explanations
  • Leave comments directly on a web page itself using virtual sticky notes
  • Assign tasks and track the progress of feedback implementation within Pastel
  • Easily share webpages with feedback with external stakeholders or clients through easily shareable public links

Pastel limitations

  • Pastel serves only a specific purpose, i.e., gathering feedback on live websites. It doesn’t have any other features
  • Limited customization options

Pastel pricing

  • Free
  • Solo: $29/month (1 user)
  • Studio: $99/month (5 users)
  • Enterprise: $350/month (starts at 10 users)

Pastel ratings & reviews

  • G2: 4.6/5 (10+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.5/5 (40+ reviews)

10. Kissflow

Kissflow is a powerful platform to streamline repetitive tasks, manage intricate processes, and gain valuable insights from your data.

With Kissflow, you can design custom workflows with a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. Use it to create automated workflows, tasks, notifications, and approvals tailored to your specific needs.

Kissflow assigns tasks to specific team members, tracks the progress of intricate cases through customizable stages, and collaborates effectively to resolve even the trickiest issues. 

Plus, the tool offers robust reporting features with data visualization tools.

Kissflow best features

  • Allows  building custom workflows and applications without extensive coding knowledge
  • Manage workflows and tasks on the go with Kissflow’s mobile app
  • Offers dedicated case management features that facilitate tracking the progress of complex cases
  • Connect Kissflow with popular business tools like Salesforce, Google Drive, and Slack, centralizing your data and streamlining workflows
  • Prioritizes data security and offers features to comply with industry regulations

Kissflow limitations

  • Steeper learning curve compared to other simpler project management tools
  • Limited reporting features, though it offers dashboards and reports

Kissflow pricing

  • Basic: $1500/month
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

Kissflow ratings & reviews

  • G2: 4.3/5 (500+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.1/5 (50+ reviews)
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Manage Your Creative Approvals Like A Pro With ClickUp

Choosing the perfect approval software for creative teams can make a world of difference. Streamlining feedback, managing workflows, and ensuring everyone stays on the same page are crucial for any creative team aiming for efficiency and excellence.

After examining the other software, ClickUp definitely stands out for its comprehensive features, including task management capabilities, customizable approval workflow solutions, and powerful visual proofing tools. Its versatility and integration with other tools ensure seamless project progress from concept to execution, making it invaluable for creative professionals.

So, what are you waiting for? Get ClickUp for free today to succeed in all your creative project management goals.

Questions? Comments? Visit our Help Center for support.

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