Email is Never Enough for Design Work.

Chris Chae
Jul 31 · 5 min read
Remote working is the new normal and using just email ain’t gonna cut it.

Email is hard to work with.

We know that working with others through email is very hard. It’s painful to look at your teammates' long threads with essay-length explanations of the world’s most straightforward ideas. After spending hours trying to digest what the heck these people are trying to say, you find yourself end up repeating the same process. You have to ask them for clarifications again. Then there comes the reply with 500-word feedback. An endless hell breaks loose.

Email is never enough for managing work. We see this in the visual space more than ever before. Design teams are sending emails with their work attached and some descriptions to their stakeholders. Then they start an endless loop of threads, receiving essays on why that logo should be altered in a thousand different ways.

Even worse, designers find it challenging to develop their work because (1) they hardly ever get swift responses/feedback from stakeholders, and when stakeholders actually do give a speedy response, (2) feedbacks that come in are abstract — generating more question marks than clarifications and action items.

Email is not the right tool to work on visual projects.

We wanted to change this. We wanted to modernize the creative workflow. We envisioned a dedicated tool for design teams. Software that enables designers to work smarter and more efficiently.

Steps we took to confirm our idea

One of our co-founders — Bia — is a product designer by trade, so we knew this pain point exists at firsthand. But what if this need of a better tool for creative work, wasn’t for many designers and creative teams? Before turning our idea into an actual concept, we wanted to talk to as many designers as possible and confirm our idea first. So we talked — designers from various industries, backgrounds, countries, companies, and teams. We spoke to the freelancers as well.

We did in-person sessions, Zoom calls, chats, and emails to connect with our prospective users.

What we found from having insightful dialogues with 30+ designers was that this pain point of using email wasn’t just for U.S.-based designers. It was global. Designers with different cultures and languages shared the same pain point. These designers were part of the world’s largest creative agencies, growing startups, and freelancers. No matter where they worked, who they worked with, design collaboration via email was merely hard.

We asked them what kept them up at nights. We asked them what could be done to make their lives easier.

What could we do to make you take fewer meetings and do more designing?

We went deep into the designer’s workflow and understood that there is a gap to be filled with our product.

As soon as we opened up a dialogue, we had so many recommendations and insights on our idea. When we saw this excitement from our friends, we knew idea had the right target.

One of the designers we talked to loved our idea/product that he took a screenshot of our landing page and used our product to give feedback to us!

Roberto, a designer from Europe, gave us thoughtful feedback on our landing page using our demo product. Thanks, Robert :)

What our product (Pixelic) looks like

Meet Pixelic, Pixelic is a new kind of creative workflow management tool for creative teams & designers.

1. On-Image Feedback.

Simple but powerful feedback tool for designers.

Problem: Email-based collaboration creates ambiguity in communication, especially when managing design projects.

Solution: Why talk around the design? Bring discussions to the design and highlight specific areas of the design and leave comments. Share links to your co-workers so that they can access your work and give feedback. What’s easier: trying to provide feedback to an attached image versus directly annotating one?

We’re releasing this feature as a standalone product for anyone who wants to collect feedback on August 14, 2019. Subscribe here to get notified when we do.

2. Version History & Control.

Problem: How many times have you renamed your files to update your design? What about conflicting files? And how many times has your client asked if this was the latest file you were working on?

Solution: Pixelic’s robust version control works like Github for developers. You can easily throw in a design file and upload new drafts with descriptions as you go. You can ‘commit’ to replace your old version with a new draft. Your stakeholders know what changes were made, when, and why.

3. Manage Work & Task.

Problem: When tasks start to pile up, knowing what to do today is important. It’s hard to follow up with who’s working on what and when each project is due. It’s also hard to see the big picture when work starts to get fragmented.

Solution: Organize your files. Assign tasks, leave comments, and make deadlines. See the bigger picture by switching between different project views (Kanban boards, To-Dos, Calendars, etc.) All things design is on Pixelic.

4. Email + Sketch Integration and more.

Email Integration

Problem: Most creative teams use email because co-workers/teams don’t adopt new tools.

Solution: We wanted to build a product that designers can use even if their co-workers aren’t. Your co-workers/stakeholders can give feedback and share ideas by replying to the email sent from Pixelic.

Sketch Integration

In a modern creative workflow, Sketch takes a big part for most designers. This is why we’re integrating with Sketch. Designers can export their work directly to Pixelic. Do your Sketch work and collaborate on Pixelic.

Interested in modernizing your creative workflow? Sign up now to get early access. We’re launching very soon!

Chris is the co-founder at Pixelic. If you have any questions or comments, please email Chris at chris@pixelic.io

Pixelic

Inside Pixelic

Chris Chae

Written by

Co-founder @pixelic_hq

Pixelic

Inside Pixelic

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