3 Visual Design Tools for Teams (for Non-Designers)

DIY Design Tools are hot, but what about Visual Design Tools for Teams? In this post I breakdown my top visual design tools for teams, that will skyrocket your visual content productivity and quality.

Whether you're working in a small team (or even working solo managing multiple tasks) OR part of a big team wanting to get better systems, these tools are perfect for non-designers.

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Hipster People, Series by Kubko (Depositphotos)

BY DONNA MORITZ | 2 AUGUST, 2019

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DIY Design tools have changed. And I couldn't be happier to share these options with you – not just design tools, but visual design tools for teams. These tools could be the difference between hours and hours of freed-up-time with a huge library of visuals ready to go … and being stuck.

It's the difference between a team that has a well-oiled visual creation system and one that is haphazard, throwing out a quick design here and there but always feeling like you're behind the eight-ball and never keeping up.

In this post, I've shared three very different (and equally awesome) visual design tools for teams:

  • the most-used DIY Design tool for teams on the market for non-designers, with millions of subscribers.
  • a solid alternative DIY Design tool for teams that has some secret weapon team-features you'll be drooling over (I'm talking game-changing features that haven't been available before).
  • a third mobile-based DIY Design tool for teams, perfect for those of you that like to do just about everything on your mobile device!

Excited? All 3 of these tools are killer, so if you're not already excited about your options for visual content team mastery, you will be by the end of this post.

Before I share the tools, here's a quick overview of my criteria for including visual design tools for teams in this post:

Criteria for Visual Design Tools for Teams

Here are the features that I am looking for in Visual Design Tools for Teams. I look for the ability to:

  • Add Team Members over and above the main account owner.
  • Assign Team Roles and team permission levels.
  • Collaborate on Designs between team members.
  • Add a Brand Kit or brand features that you and your team can use – including the ability to upload or allocate brand assets (logos, fonts, colors and images too).
  • Create Team Templates that each team member can access.
  • User-friendly for Designers and Non-Designers to work together.
  • BONUS: to be able to Lock Down Designs so that team members can edit the design in the way you intend. Each team member has different levels of access to templates and the ability to edit and change them.

The visual design tools in this post have been selected because they include most of these features. Each has slightly different features, so be sure to check all of them out. You might gravitate towards just one of these design tools for teams. Or, you may find that 2 or 3 of them work together!

You'll notice that I haven't included the many (many) features you find across most DIY Design Tools that I love. This includes awesome templates, user-friendly features (you can create, edit, resize, publish awesome images, organise them in folders, and even create short GIFs, animations or videos) as well as access stock images or upload your own.

This post is not about the basic design functionality and features (although it goes without saying that these features have to be good for me to include these tools as a “team tool”). Rather, in this post, we are focusing purely on the features that elevate design tools to the “design tools for teams” status.

Let's take a look at what's available to your soon-to-be-killing-it team of non-designers for kicking the butt of visual content!

3 Visual Design Tools for Teams

Oh, and please know that all of these tools work exceptionally well if you have a designer on your team, too. Your designer just has to be a little open-minded about doing things in a more efficient and fun way for the entire team!

1. Canva Pro (+ NEW! Canva for Enterprise)

If you have been living under a rock, you may have never heard of Canva. It's the most used DIY Design tool in the world and their Canva for Work system (now called “Canva Pro”) is their Plan for users who want to work in teams. It's perfect for solo users too.

And since I wrote this article, Canva for Enterprise has been released to support larger teams. Scroll down to find out more about it and what it can offer for DIY Design for Teams.

But first, let's take a look at Canva Pro as this is the user level most of my audience will be taking advantage of:

Canva Pro - 3 Visual Design Tools for Teams (for Non-Designers)
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Canva Pro is Canva's Design Tool for Teams.

I was one of Canva's earliest users – user #267 or thereabouts. I've been through every iteration of the tool and watched Canva grow to millions of users and climbing. Here are a few things that Canva Pro brings to the table – so that you can see if it's a good fit for you and your team:

Canva Pro Features

1. Assign Team Permissions

You can add team members under 3 levels of permissions:

  • Administrators – can manage your team members and create design templates for your brand. They can also edit your brand kit.
  • Template Designers – can create design templates for your brand and edit your brand kit. If you invite your designers to your team at this level, Canva will send them special tips to get started.
  • Members – can create and share designs. This is perfect for anyone who needs to make branded designs on your team – especially your colleagues in marketing, social media and sales.

Here's an example of how that might look in your team:

Canva Pro Permissions - 3 Visual Design Tools for Teams (for Non-Designers)
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2. Brand Kit

Canva Pro's Brand Kit lets you keep your colors, logos and fonts all in the one place for your team to access. Just set up your Brand Kit with all of your assets:

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Add your colors, fonts and logos to Brand Kit in Canva Pro.

Then use those assets in your team designs – all added straight from your design dashboard. All of your team members can access them. You can upload your own fonts as long as you confirm you have licence rights to use them.

3. Collaborate and Comment on Designs

With Canva Pro you can stay consistent across your designs using team templates and design folders – for easy collaboration:

Collaborate on Canva Pro
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Collaborate on designs in Canva Pro.

Team members can also add comments or like designs within a team:

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Need changes? Team members can comment and give feedback.

4. Convert Designs to Team Templates

Canva Pro allows you to create designs and then convert them into team templates that other members of your team can access and edit:

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Find out more about how to create templates in Canva here.

Team members can then edit and use those templates to create their own designs.

Important: You will need to ask team members to copy the design to their own Canva Workspace first, or they will be editing the master template (which can go sideways very quickly!).

5. Organise Designs in Team Folders

With Canva Pro you can organise your designs into:

  • your designs (view all designs or separate folders for design sets)
  • designs shared with you by others
  • your team templates
Canva folders
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Flip between your designs and team templates.

6. Access Designs via the Mobile App

Canva also has a mobile app, and with Canva Pro you can access the team templates on the mobile app with a caveat or two. As Canva states:

Full access of Canva Pro features can only be done on a desktop or mobile browser. You may still access designs created with your account on your mobile apps but some special Canva Pro features and settings are not available”.

3 Visual Design Tools for Teams (for Non-Designers) - Canva app
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You can access your team templates in the Canva app.

Even though you can't use full Canva Pro functionality on the app, the ability to edit your designs and access templates is a bonus, for sure.

How much does Canva Pro Cost?

Canva Pro Monthly starts at $12.95 USD per month or $9.95 USD if paid annually. Each team member must have their own separate Canva Pro subscription to be added to your team and access Canva Pro features.

Pros:

Canva Pro has a lot of great functionality with its team features (including the other features you get with the tool on Canva Pro) and a lot of great features as a design tool in general. It ticks most of the boxes for my criteria for inclusion on this post, with the bonus of:

  • Free Teams – if you don't have Canva Pro, you can still invite people into your Free Teams to share designs and folders. You can then upgrade to Canva Pro to unlock all team functionality and benefits (as listed above) as well as the extra features here.
  • Functionality on the Mobile app – you can access and edit your team templates on the mobile app. Although you can't create them on theh app or use full Canva Pro features, being able to access and edit those templates is still super handy for your whole team.
  • Ability to Schedule Posts – you can schedule your posts now on Canva which is handy if your team does not have a dedicated social media management tool.
  • Design Locking – NEW! now you can lock down designs so that your team members don't mess up the master copy. This is super handy if you are converting a design to a template. If you don't want elements moved or deleted, lock them in! This was on my wishlist, but I'm glad to say that it's now a feature in Canva.

Wishlist:

My Wishlist is diminishing as Canva for Enterprise (see below) now covers off on some of those items, but one thing I wish to see would be the addition of brand images to Canva Pro:

  1. Brand Images – You can upload and organise brand images into your own folders, but there is no way for you to add them into the Brand Kit to allow the team to see your brand-approved images, icons, photos etc. The Brand Kit is restricted to logos, fonts and colors.

Try Canva Pro here!

NEW! Canva for Enterprise

A big developement in the Canva-verse is Canva for Enterprise and it takes the team functionality for Canva Pro a lot further. Here's what's included:

  • Digital Asset Management platform to sort, tag, and organize assets and templates.
  • Drag-and-drop design editor to create branded designs.
  • Multi-channel campaigns management to extend your reach globally.
  • Greater Brand Control including:
    • ensuring your team only has access to your brand fonts, colors, images and assets.
    • locked elements to protect the look and feel of your brand
    • the ability to save templates for your team to later customize
    • approval workflow so your team members can check, review and approve designs in your team.
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