The 5 Best Project Management Software for Creative Agencies [2022 Update]

Good creative agency project management software is paramount to making day-to-day operations seamless. You won’t be able to grow if you can’t manage the projects and clients you already have. Inefficient time management is the silent business killer.

Project management software can help solve problems that you may encounter in advertising, marketing, design, strategy, and more. 

In the hopes of making your life (and your agency’s) easier, we’ve rounded up the best 5 project management software for creative agencies.

How to pick a project management software

As you begin to shop around for the right project management software, you need to consider a few important points before you buy.

What size is your business?

Not all project management software is made for all business sizes. Are you a startup with a handful of employees? Or, are you a part of a larger corporation with hundreds of people and projects to manage?

These two business types will not benefit from the same software. Remember: no two businesses are the same and no two project management software are either. Determine your size and move on from there. 

Can the software grow with you?

This question also relates to the first one: if you’re a startup with hopes of growing, you’ll need a different solution than a large enterprise. As your needs evolve, your systems and tools have to evolve as well. 

There’s nothing worse than taking the time to set up a project management system only to discover it has become obsolete 6 months down the line. You can avoid this hassle by taking into consideration the software’s scalability. 

What are your team’s major pain points?

You have to know what you need help with before you can find a solution for it! Take a hard look at your creative team and what they’re struggling with. Identify your weaknesses so that you can find software that will turn them into strengths.

For example, if your team is having a hard time keeping up with updating the client or with communicating amongst themselves, you’ll want to opt for software that places communication above all else.

Is the software easy to use?

You and your team are going to be using your new project management software daily, so its usability is paramount. If you don’t choose software that’s easy to use, you run the risk of your team’s inability to adopt it. 

The whole point of investing in project management software is to make your creative team’s lives easier, not harder.

Comparison criteria

Before we jump into the different types of project management software available for creative teams, it’s important to determine different comparison criteria that you need to look out for.

Criteria 1: User interface design

Yes, the way a project management software looks can be just as important as how it functions. You need an interface that is clean, clear, and intuitive. Additionally, you’re a creative team! You love design, you love a quality UI, and your team deserves to have that in project management software. And there’s nothing wrong with that. 

Criteria 2: Accessibility

This is so important we had to mention it twice! The accessibility and usability of the software are perhaps the most essential criteria to consider when it comes to choosing one.

Is the software easy to use and easy to adopt into your daily operations? Will it make your lives easier after a few days of adjustments? Is there a sharp learning curve? The answers to these questions should ultimately determine which service you go with.

You should also make sure that the software boasts a great customer service support team. It’s a game-changer for when you need help!

Criteria 3: Features

In terms of importance, after usability comes features and capabilities. A project management software for creative teams must provide features such as:

  • Intake forms to make the onboarding run smoothly.
  • The ability to customize all processes so that the software works no matter what project you’re working on. Custom workflows can make a huge difference.
  • Collaboration is not only possible but encouraged. Shared workspaces, easy ways to give feedback, and the capability to approve or reject changes are all necessary. 
  • Progress reports will let your team know how they have gained ground on any given project. They are also nice to show your investors or stakeholders. 
  • Updates on each project’s budget will make staying on top of finances within your agency. You should also look for software that can track invoices, bill payments, and project estimations. 

Criteria 4: Integration possibilities

As a creative team, you’ll need software with creative integrations. Adobe (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator) comes to mind immediately, but there are others to think about as well. If you can’t find the integration you’re looking for, make sure it’s easy (and affordable) to set them up. 

Criteria 5: Third-party reviews

Online reviews are the modern-day word of mouth and don’t sell them short. You want to read real, unbiased opinions from real, unbiased users before you purchase anything. Check out social media and other websites such as Capterra, G2, and Trustpilot. 

It’s also worth checking out any reviews on the software’s website. Sure, they will likely choose to showcase reviews that make them look great. But, they can still provide a wealth of information! 

Criteria 6: Price

Last but certainly not least is the price of the software. You set yourself up for disappointment when you fall in love with a creative management tool only to realize that you can’t afford it. This criterion is right up there with usability and features offered.

You’ll also want to look at the value. Does the price line up with what the software can do? How does it compare with other software that has the same features? Look carefully to determine whether the pricing is fair, straightforward, and flexible!

The best project management software for creative teams

1. ManyRequests

manyrequests

ManyRequests (that’s us!) is a client portal software specially designed for creative agencies.

Your clients will be able to easily access files, invoices, project reports, as well as project updates in one convenient place. It’s a one-stop-shop for communication too.

The user interface is completely customizable so that you can add your own branding. This is huge for creative teams who want their project management software to reflect their personality. The ability to make the portal your own shows a level of professionalism that can’t be beaten.

Features:

  • Customizable interface: You can even upload your own branding and domain name. ManyRequests also offers customizable onboarding so that you stand out from start to finish. 
  • Client management: Manage all of your clients in one space. You’ll be able to see an overview of each client and each project that your team is working on. Additionally, you can invite clients and their own team members to collaborate on any given project. To keep things even more organized, you can assign an account manager to each client!
  • Sharing: Share files, project deliverables, invoices and more. This allows clients to easily upload files that you may need and it also lets them decide on due dates. They can also access their invoices whenever they need to.
  • Embed reports: Share what you’ve been working on or a plan for what you intend to do by embedding reports or dashboards into each client-specific portal. You can share Google Data Studio and embed Airtable, to name a few.
  • Delegate tasks: Use automations to assign specific team members to specific projects. This makes keeping an eye on employees’ workloads easier than ever.
  • Easy communication: Easily communicate with your clients via the client portal as well as through email. You can even send your clients notifications when tasks are completed or if you need more information from them!

Integrations:

  • Zapier, which includes over 1,000 integration possibilities such as Slack, G-Suite, Facebook, Adobe Creative Suite, and more.
  • Referral programs like Tapfiliate, GetRewardful, and Firstpromoter.
  • Live Chat software like Intercom, Tawk.to, Hubspot, and Crisp.
  • We’re also working on integrating Quickbooks, Xero, Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, and Google Analytics.

Why ManyRequests stands out:

manyrequests interface

The completely customizable user interface is one feature we are very proud of!

The choice here is yours: you can upload your creative agency’s branding and domain name for a seamless user experience from the get-go.

Or, you can upload your client’s branding and domain name to show them how dedicated you are to their project. Either way – your customers will be impressed with the attention to detail, which really matters in creative projects.

Where it’s lacking:

  • No custom menus: We’re working on this! Stay tuned.
  • No auto-responders: We’re also working hard on implementing an auto-responder tool.

Pricing:

  • Basic: $99 per month (billed annually) – best for smaller agencies
  • Pro: $249 per month (billed annually) – best for agencies that want to scale up
  • Enterprise: Custom – let’s talk!

If you’re interested in giving ManyRequests a try, sign up for our 14-day free trial here (we don’t even ask for a credit card). We can’t wait to show you what we can do.

2. monday.com

monday

Monday.com offers several different solutions for creative agencies, one of which is a project management workflow.

You’ll have the ability to plan, track, and manage any type of project from A to Z. Monday is hailed as being intuitive, customizable, and the software makes collaboration easy.

Whether you’re working on a basic project or a highly involved portfolio, monday.com can help your team get their tasks accomplished faster and in a more organized fashion. You can also use monday to help with marketing, HR, sales and CRM, and even software development. 

Features:

  • Templates: You can create a customizable workflow for your team, or you can choose from over 200+ premade templates. This can be helpful if you’re looking for a jumping-off point and don’t want to create your own. 
  • User interface: Monday’s UI is easy to use and so intuitive that the site boasts you don’t need to be trained to use it. You can also create custom dashboards for each client.
  • Automation: Set up automation so that when once a task is completed, the team member responsible for the next step is immediately notified. 
  • Collaboration: Connect easily with all team members and clients involved in any given project. 
  • Project tracking: Create different phases for each project so that you can see your progress as you go along.

Integrations:

  • Dropbox
  • Excel
  • Google Calendar and Google Drive
  • Slack
  • Trello
  • Mailchimp
  • Zapier (including Adobe)

Why monday.com stands out:

monday project overview

The colorful and vibrant user interface is one of the best parts of monday.com. Color coding projects in terms of urgency is a great way to quickly assess what needs to get done.

You can also assign team members colors so you know who needs to get what done. Their project management tool can also be displayed in several different manners: list view, Kanban boards, timelines, as well as a map view. 

Where it’s lacking:

  • Mobile integration: Although monday does offer mobile integration, the software has some kinks to work out here.
  • A tough learning curve: If you want to learn how to use monday.com to the fullest, you may have trouble digging up quality tutorials. Get ready to peruse through YouTube.

Pricing:

  • Individual: Free for up to 2 users
  • Basic: $8 per user per month
  • Standard: $10 per user per month
  • Pro: $16 per user per month
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

3. ClickUp

clickup

ClickUp is a project management software that is catered to creatives – and the creative process. It’s also another software that recognizes that collaboration is key.

You can use it to easily share files, create communication threads for different tasks, and create and share deliverables. ClickUp also allows you to collect valuable feedback from your clients. 

This software excels at task management. Their features include task templates, convenient checklists that will keep everyone on track, and you can also create subtasks within larger ones. You can also visualize your workload through the use of calendars and timelines.

Features:

  • Customizable views: With over 15 possibilities for views, you can choose whichever one works best for your team. Options include list view, board view, box view, calendar view, Gantt charts, and more.
  • ClickApps: Each ClickApp features different functionalities. You get to choose which apps you’d like to integrate into your project, including threaded replies, nested subtasks, due dates, tags, and even time tracking.
  • Collaboration: Work together within your team as well as with your client with myriad collaboration possibilities. Chat, comments, proofing, and email about any given project at any given time.
  • Real-time reports: Keep an eye on all of the moving parts that are involved in your projects. You can set your goals, track progress, and manage your team member’s workloads. 

Integrations:

  • G-Suite
  • Slack
  • Dropbox
  • Calendars
  • Outlook
  • Loom
  • Zapier (including Adobe)

Why ClickUp stands out:

clickup freemium plan

ClickUp offers a robust freemium plan that we haven’t found elsewhere. This free version includes all of the primary features that you’ll find in their paid plans. If you do decide to step things up and purchase a plan, their options start at just $5 per user per month. This kind of affordability is what makes this project management software stand out.

Where it’s lacking:

  • Feature overload: Sometimes too much of a good thing is just that: too much. ClickUp’s massive list of features can be overwhelming.
  • Calendar interface: The calendar user interface is cumbersome and often experiences bugs. Remember that UI is an important project management software criteria.

Pricing:

  • Free forever (best for personal use): Free
  • Unlimited (for small teams): $5 per user per month
  • Business (for mid-sized teams): $9 per user per month
  • Business Plus (for multiple teams): $19 per user per month
  • Enterprise (for large teams): Custom pricing

4. Asana

asana

Asana is a cloud-based project management software that is one of the most popular of its kind. If you’ve been shopping around for software for a while, you’ve likely run into the name! It makes collaboration easy for multiple team members and is used by creative teams all over the world. 

Although Asana is well-known, it does lack a lot of the features you’ll find with other management software.

However, where Asana lacks in features they make up for in integrations. Another interesting aspect of Asana is that the software boasts strong security measures through the use of their confidential classification system. 

Features:

  • Multiple project views: Choose the view that makes the most sense for your creative team. Options include timeline, board, list, and calendar view.
  • Task management: Organize everything you need for any given project. You can break down each into tasks, or take things a step further and create subtasks. Assign each step to specific team members and celebrate milestones together as you reach them.
  • Customization: Create custom dashboards, implement charts that track your team’s progress, and take a closer look at what each team member is working on so that you can avoid bottlenecks. 
  • Communication: Creative teams can stay in touch through the use of comments, followers, status updates, messaging, and even team conversations. 
  • Mobile capabilities: Access your projects on the go via iOS or Android. The Android app in particular is award-winning.

Integrations:

  • G-Suite
  • Slack
  • Dropbox
  • Email
  • Github
  • Instagantt
  • Harvest
  • Zapier (including Adobe)

Why Asana stands out:

asana goals

Asana’s goal-setting feature makes it easy to determine which goals are the most important, who is responsible for getting them done, and how team members can work together to complete tasks.

Its tracking feature will even tell you what percentage you’re at, and how much is left to go. It’s a real efficiency booster.

Where it’s lacking:

  • Too many features: Asana is another software jam-packed with features that can feel overwhelming at times. And that’s the exact opposite of what you want in creative project management.
  • Tasks cannot be shared: Even if you have multiple team members working on the same task, you’re only able to assign one person per task. This can lead to confusion.

Pricing:

  • Basic (for individuals or very small teams): Free
  • Premium (for larger teams): $10.99 per user per month
  • Business (for even larger teams and corporations): $24.99 per user per month

5. Wrike

wrike

Wrike is an extremely versatile project management software that creative teams can take advantage of. Wrike is all about helping your agency grow, so if you’re looking to scale up, you should consider their software.

You’ll be able to customize your team’s workflow and keep an eye on who’s doing what to prevent any hold-ups or bottlenecks. 

There are quite a few different views available, and Wrike is known for its impressive Gantt timeline view. The interface is easy to use and enjoyable to look at — both of which are major for creative teams!

Features:

  • Customizable: If you can do it on Wrike, you can customize it. That includes workflows, dashboards, and request forms. 
  • Scalable: This project management software will grow as you grow. It’s a great option for creative startups who hope to scale up quickly.
  • Artificial Intelligence: AI will help automate tasks which helps to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. 
  • Collaboration: A record of edits made, digital asset management that streamlines digital publishing, and shareable team calendars make communication easy.
  • Automations: Alert team members automatically when they are responsible for a task. Once one person finishes one thing, the next step will automatically be assigned to the correct person.

Integrations:

  • Salesforce
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Google Drive
  • Slack
  • Dropbox
  • Github

Why Wrike stands out:

wrike gantt timelines

Wrike specializes in Gantt timelines, which, if you’ve been hunting around for project management for your team, you’ve likely heard about by now. Gantt timelines are one of the most useful ways to display tasks.

They allow you to see which tasks you’re working on at a given time, when they are due, and how different phases of a certain task overlap with others. Plenty of project management software use Gantt timelines, but Wrike excels.

They also have Kanban boards if you prefer to look at things that way.

Where it’s lacking:

  • Steep learning curve: New users tend to be overwhelmed and struggle to learn how to effectively use Wrike. It takes a long time to get a hang of the basics.
  • UI is confusing: You know how important this is by this point! The user interface is somewhat complex and takes getting used to. Navigating between projects and tasks isn’t intuitive. 

Pricing:

  • Free (for small teams): Free
  • Professional (for fast-growing teams): $9.80 per user per month
  • Business (for larger organizations): $24.80 per user per month
  • Enterprise (for large corporations): Custom pricing

Wrapping things up…

You’ve likely skimmed through dozens of articles that outline the best project management software.

We decided to keep things simple and focus on the top 5 that work best for creative teams.

If you’ve done all of your research and are ready to move forward with ManyRequests, we would love to have you: click here to sign up for our 14-day free trial!

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