The review and approval process is critical to creative workflow management. It is the process by which creative work is reviewed, revised, and ultimately approved or rejected.
There are a number of factors to consider when optimizing the review and approval process, including the type of project, the size of the team, the timeline, and the budget.
In this article, we are going to share the top 10 best practices for optimizing the review and approval process.
What is a creative review and approval process?
The creative review process is a collaborative effort that occurs around the creation and finalization of creative content. This can encompass anything from packaging design and development to legal information on the labels.
And it includes all of the different versions, decisions, sign-offs, comments, feedback, and stakeholders involved in taking a piece of content or a marketing campaign from concept to finished asset.
In short, creative review and approval is the flow of content and information that aids creative decision-making and changes.
Why is creative review and approval essential?
Here’s how a creative approval process benefits your team in the long run:
- Ensures that all materials produced are of the highest quality and meet the standards set by the company.
- Reduce content change collaboration and communication delays.
- Spend less time updating team members on project status.
- Improve project delivery timelines.
- Bring down the time and effort required to manage, share, and track new versions and files.
The above benefits may seem minor, but when it's multiplied over all of your organization's projects and creative work, the time and cost savings can quickly add up.
This entails increasing bandwidth to take on more projects and producing higher-quality work more quickly.
10 best practices for optimizing the review and approval process
When optimizing the review and approval process, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
1. Define the scope of the project
Before getting into the various steps of the creative process, you need to define the scope of your project. This will ensure all the stakeholders are on the same page.
Create a brief outline of the key details of the project including the objectives, target audience, tone, style, etc. to make sure everyone involved understands the expectations from Day 1..
2. Consider visibility while building the creative approval workflow
By making the workflow visible to all parties involved, it becomes easier to track progress and identify potential bottlenecks.
Additionally, considering visibility can help to ensure that everyone involved is aware of their responsibilities and the deadlines associated with them.
To build a creative project workflow that is more efficient and effective, you can use an artwork management tool like Artwork Flow within the creative operations management. This will allow you to manage the project in real-time while increasing transparency in the process for everyone in the team .
3. Communicate early and often
Make sure to communicate often with your team and clients to keep them updated on the progress of your projects.
This way you can address any concerns and feedback in a timely manner, avoid surprises and potential delays, and keep the process moving forward.
4. Be flexible
Be flexible with the review and approval process. Be willing to make changes as needed to ensure that the process is effective and efficient.
Always have a backup plan in case the review and approval process doesn't go as planned.
5. Collate feedback with annotation tools
Collating feedback with annotations can help you quickly identify the areas of revision and track the status of the feedback.
Additionally, annotation tools can streamline the review process by allowing reviewers to provide feedback directly on the document itself, rather than having to communicate their revisions through email or another separate platform
6. Document everything
Documentation is important for any creative project. Keep track of all decisions made during the review and approval process so that there is a record of what was done and why.
This will also give reviewers and other stakeholders material to look back on in case a similar problem arises in the future instead of hopping on a quick call.
7. Plan for the future
The review and approval process should be constantly evolving. As the project changes, so should the process. Be sure to plan for future iterations of the process so that it remains effective.
8. Spot errors quickly with proofing tools
Online proofing tools can be a great resource when it comes to optimizing the review and approval process. There are many tools that can be helpful, such as -
a) Spell checker
A spell checker can help identify errors and potential problems with your document.
This can help you ensure that the document is accurate and free of any errors.
Additionally, the spell checker will help speed up the review process by reducing the need for manual checks.
b) Font Finder
A font finder is a great way to quickly locate and identify the fonts used in your designs.
This can save you a lot of time and frustration when trying to identify and correct font-related errors.
Additionally, a font finder can also make sure that all the stakeholders are using the same fonts when reviewing the documents and can help avoid confusion and miscommunication.
c) Color extractor
A color extractor can be really helpful in quickly identifying which colors are being used in the design.
This is helpful as it allows for a more focused discussion on the colors used in a design.
A color extractor can be used to create a color palette for the design, which can be used for future reference.
9. Prepare a checklist
An artwork management workflow checklist can be a helpful tool for ensuring that all relevant information is collected and considered.
It prompts the reviewer to consider all aspects of the submission, from the completeness of the supporting documentation to the overall organization of the materials.
Additionally, a checklist can help identify any potential areas of concern that may need to be addressed before moving forward with the review process.
10. Setup deadlines and automated reminders
Deadlines are key because they keep the review process moving forward and prevent the project from becoming stagnant. It also helps identify any areas where the project may be held up.
We always recommend that teams review and approve deadlines to help keep things on track.
It's important to create deadlines not only for the overall project but also for each review and approval stage.
This will allow you to provide contextual reminders, which will take the time management out of enforcing deadlines and help identify any potential delays or roadblocks before they happen.
The review and approval process can be a very time-consuming process. But you’ve got to get it right to avoid fines and prevent your brand reputation from being tarnished.
So, it’s important to follow the best practices mentioned above and invest in tools that help you streamline the project workflow management process, enable effective brand asset management, offer creative workflow solutions, and reduce the number of revision cycles to launch products on time.
Artwork Flow has a suite of proofing tools and helps setup checklists so reviewers don’t miss a thing while checking the artwork. Book a quick demo with us today to know more!