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6 Indispensable Creative Tools we Refuse to Work Without

There ought to be a workplace productivity app to help find the best workplace productivity apps. Since there appears to be a gap in the hyper specific, workplace productivity apps advice for the creative marketing agency, we’re covering it here. As artists, designers, and all around creative types, we have more than a few strong opinions on the tools and software that work for us.

Hubspot

Our CRM tool of choices is Hubspot. We use the platform to help manage our social media marketing, sales, web analytics, and search engine optimization efforts. For the less developer savvy folks on our team, Hubspot's web based tools for site upkeep, blogging, and email marketing are simple and easy to use. They also provide an extensive library of help videos so if there's a task you don’t feel up to figuring out on your own, whether it’s email automation, or keeping a social media calendar, they have a lesson for you.

Trello

Our go to project management tool, Trello, is an infinite whiteboard, expanding past the horizon of our Baltimore office and into the sunset. Metaphorically speaking. It’s actually a web-based application for organizing collaborative projects. Using team boards, we create lists for each client and track projects on individual cards. With tools for creating task lists, scheduling, and a robust comments section for adding feedback and discussing project details, Trello is head-and-shoulders above the competition in our book. Larger teams that require more in-app power-up’s will want a paid subscription, but everything described here is apart of their free subscription.

Slack

Slack is our inter-office messenger service of choice. We considered hiring an intern to pass notes between our desks, but none of them could manage to make an accurate “rofl” emoji with their face, so we settled for Slack. It’s faster, more conversational than email, and when you have a team meeting you can use gifs instead of slides. You could also send a slideshow over Slack, any sort of file really, but we’ve found gifs work best. Even working in an open office communication can be tricky. Slack allows us to reach our whole team, wherever they’re at, and it keeps us all on the same page.

Harvest

Our grandparents time cards for clocking in and clocking out of the factory got a serious upgrade. Harvest is a web based tool for tracking the hours individuals and teams spend on projects. It comes with a desktop application so you don't even have to log into the site, you’re always two clicks away from starting the clock. Harvest can also integrate with many of the other project management apps we’re using which makes tracking time that much easier. When the work is finally done, the web based reporting tools provided our project managers an overview of the scope of the work we’re accomplishing for each client and how we’re spending our time.

StudioBinder

Video is a powerful marketing tool, it’s also the cause of some powerful migraines. To keep video projects from snowballing out of control we use a web based platform called StudioBinder. Used primarily for organizing film and television it's packed with features to support call sheets, shoot lists, scripts, personnel and file management, literally anything a production team needs to make the magic happen. It has everything we need to take a commercial from script to final edit, all on one convenient platform.

Adobe Creative Suite

We’d lose our membership to creative agency club if we failed to mention the most powerful design tools available, the Adobe Creative Suite. Listing the whole suite would be a whole paragraph on its own so suffice it to say we primarily use Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, and Premiere. No surprises there, print and video are our bread and butter. The ubiquity of the PDF and Adobe Reader makes the format ideal for sharing work with clients. Also, did you know you could upload video directly to YouTube or Vimeo from Premiere? We typically don’t but it’s cool that the option’s there.

With all the software available to help us get the job done it’s difficult to imagine how agencies functioned in the age before the Internet. There’s loads of other fancy tool in our kit, but what would we have left to do if we gave all our secrets away?