How to share your graphic design with others

Streamlined from design to "ready for publication"

Peter Desmyttere
October 3, 2019
⏱ 4 min. read

Marketers are confronted with graphic design almost every day. For example, the marketing agency provides designs for advertisements, brochures or mailings. A lot of teams also have a graphic designer or design department that supplies the marketers with graphic design for promotions and marketing campaigns. This entails a considerable flow of communication via email and PDF. One or more correction rounds are always started to bring the initial design to the approved version. In this article I will show how you can streamline the graphic approval process thanks to digital tools.

Email and PDF lead the field

Every marketer has experience with approval processes via email and PDF. A PDF file with a graphic design drops into the mailbox via an internal graphic designer or the marketing agency, for example for a digital advertisement. What happens next? The marketer prints the PDF file, analyzes it and starts on a list of corrections. They are written down in an email, sometimes accompanied by a PDF file with a visual translation of the corrections. 

Is the frequency of such approval processes rather low and the number of people involved also limited? Then the time investment within such an approval process is quite acceptable. If you are involved in a graphic design review every day and several people within the marketing department and the marketing agency are involved in the correction rounds, then the risk of misunderstanding and frustration with the many emails and PDF files is quite high.

Approval software graphic design
Eight people in a graphic approval process, each of whom forwards comments by email, replies to emails from colleagues and sends visual comments on PDF files to one another: a hell for marketing agencies, internal graphic studios and graphic designers.

Online proofing & design review tools streamline the process

Marketers who frequently have to review, discuss and approve graphic designs, digitize the graphic approval process as quickly as possible. Numerous Online Proofing software programs are available for this that offer the solution to the chaos in design review via email and PDF. How does it work? Designers upload the design in a certain format in the approval software, after which the marketers make comments and corrections directly on the file in the software. 

They can then share this with colleagues who make their comments within the same approval flow. For this they only need a link to the place in the online proofing software. All comments are now processed centrally in one place and supplemented with feedback on the comments. In the end, there is one person with final responsibility who gives the signal for approval, after which a new correction round, a publication or a printing process follows.

Online proofing software graphic design
One of the graphic design review tools: GoVisually

Online proofing integrated with marketing planning: the state-of-the-art

However powerful online proofing software is, it is yet another extra digital tool that you must set up within the marketing department. Tasks in a task app, communication planning in Excel, results in dashboard software, designs in approval software ... No wonder that not all marketers are eager to digitize operational marketing planning. For those who want to centralize all aspects of their marketing planning within one digital system, there are Marketing Project Management tools or digital marketing planners (such as Husky Marketing Planner). 

Digital marketing planners have an integrated online proofing or design review tool. This offers all the benefits of standalone approval software, but is integrated within the communication, media or campaign planning. Does the marketing agency or internal graphic designer upload a design in the proofing module? Then a correction round is created with the designer and colleagues, which leads to an approved design. However, the PDF file with the approved design is attached to a planning item (for example, "Facebook Advertisement from October 1 to November 30"), so that it is immediately visible to the campaign planners. Tasks for yourself, colleagues or the designer can also be assigned to the design. Finally, the budget, any notes and strategies are also integrated with the design. All information and steps to bring your advertising campaign to a successful conclusion are in one daily online planning tool.

Online proofing in Husky
Our online proofing module offers all the functionalities of standalone proofing tools, but has the bonus of being used in a marketing planning context. Within the framework of a streamlined collaboration between marketers, graphic designers and marketing agencies, this puts everyone on the same wavelength, even a campaign planner or an event marketer who was not involved in the proofing process.   

Pros and cons of the different ways of sharing a design review with others

Software  Advantages  Disadvantages
Mail and PDF
  • Simplicity
  • Low threshold
  • Free
  • Complete freedom (100% customizable)
  • Chances of misunderstanding with different versions
  • Overload of emails with multiple stakeholders
  • No history
Online proofing software
Ziflow, Proofhub, Approval Studio, Webproof, GoVisually
  • 100% tailored for online proofing
  • No file sharing, a link is enough
  • Feedback stays with the document, not in emails
  • An extra (paying) digital tool
Marketing Project Management tools
Husky, Wrike, Percolate
  • All the benefits of proofing tools, but also integrated within a planning context
  • An extra (paying) digital tool




This blog article is part of a series on shared marketing planning for efficient collaboration. Below you'll find all the articles that will help you find your way around.

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