Bringing Other Teams into the Creative Process

Post image

Creative projects can either seem fun or intimidating for ‘non-creative’ functions. The specific terminology, feedback required and overall process can seem unlike other projects. However, having diverse perspectives is invaluable to a creative project whether it’s a brand redesign, creative campaign or website refresh.

What we’ll cover:

Align creative briefs with other teams

According to a study done by, 89% of marketers and 86% of agencies believe in the power of good creative briefs. This is a key stage of the process for both internal teams and external partners. Resist the temptation to shorten this phase. It might seem like a great place to save time, but time cut here will only become extra work later.

Preparing the brief for a creative project is a great time to socialise and align on the project. This includes consolidating input from other teams, outlining project needs and aligning on the desired outcome. Every creative project should ultimately be set-up with the business in-mind.

When working with other teams, there will be teams core to the project and others brought in at specific moments. Ensure it’s clear someone’s role and responsibilities to avoid confusion, as well as provide an indication of when their input is needed. This can be documented in the creative brief.

Once the creative brief is created, it’s worth talking through it. I’ve found these discussions can help to clarify expectations and degree of creativity needed. That is to say, some people might expect a revolutionary design change and others something more evolutionary.

Create collaborative milestones

Whether workshops, vision sessions or project kick-offs, there will be times when more intense collaboration is needed. This could be at the beginning of the project or half-way through when working on more executional details. This all depends on the type of project and its scope.

During a project kick-off, as an example, you are able to collect various inputs from shared conversations. This is important to get multiple teams on the same page, work through assumptions and clarify expectations. It is especially helpful in more complex projects that are challenging how the business usually does something.

This is also a good time to share industry trends, competitor insights and any existing customer research. Each team, whether sales or engineering, will have experiences and insights relevant to the project. It’s a great way to build trust early on in the process, while demonstrating how multiple teams bring value to a creative project.

Collaborative milestones also allow time for those ‘other’ questions to arise. Often when working through a project on a tight timeline, team members are tactful in the questions asked. Having longer sessions allows for deeper conversations. You never know what opportunity or challenge might arise.

Clarifying type and timing of feedback

Each team brings a unique skillset to the table. Marketing understands the target audience, sales knows customer pain points and engineers can ensure feasibility. This collective knowledge fuels groundbreaking ideas and helps to ensure project feasibility.

When working with a range of teams, clarify what feedback on creative is required throughout the process. For example, with a creative campaign, you might ask marketing to focus on the clarity of messaging and correlated imagery at a specific stage. 

One of the toughest aspects of the creative process is looking at mock-ups, visuals or experience concepts at different level of refinement. Keep this in mind when sharing work with others, and consider if a call is better than an email. When someone is feeding back over email, they are quicker to react to the visual in front of them versus the concept behind a visual.

In the beginning of a creative project, there will be more conversations about the work, its direction and its business relevance. This will be more time intensive. Plan for this by reserving time on your calendar for additional conversations, presentations and meetings. Once a creative project is underway, it will be more execution feedback than strategic.

Ask questions to really understand someone’s perspective

Not every team member is going to use design-y language like kerning, proportion, alignment and opacity. This means some feedback might not be clear when initially provided. If you don’t understand what someone means, ask. Sometimes it is a difference of terminology that creates a barrier.

By being patient, approachable and inquisitive, other team members won’t feel hesitant with their degree of creative terminology. I’ve found some people like to learn and others just want to communicate the way they know how. When working with specific team members overtime, you start to better decipher their feedback and understand each other.

Anticipating this helps with project planning. Don’t expect to get feedback internally and consolidate it one hour before an agency feedback meeting. This does not allow for follow-up questions or conversations with other team members.

Document feedback throughout the project

There will be times when you will look back at a round of a creative campaign or website page and wonder, ‘Is this what we meant?’. Odds are, this can be answered by looking at your previous feedback. Documenting feedback is not just good as a sanity check, but also for tracking progress and identifying sticking points.

This is especially helpful if you are managing multiple projects and don’t want to memorise everything. Furthermore, there are times a project might be put on hold. Having documented feedback helps when a project jumpstarts again and you’ve forgotten where the project left off.

There are many ways to document and provide feedback. This can be over email, as a presentation or comments within Figma, Miro or a PDF. This depends on the type of creative work and the stage. I’ve found the combination of written plus a visual to be the best. Then it is clear what the feedback refers to.


By fostering an approachable environment, leveraging diverse strengths and employing collaborative techniques, you can transform your team into valuable, creative collaborators. The result? Marketing campaigns, websites, services and beyond that resonate with your audience, answer business needs and leave a lasting impression.

Let’s summarise

  • Aligning teams with the creative briefs is a key collaboration point
  • More intense sessions cross-team might be needed throughout the process
  • Clarify type and timing of feedback, especially when work is more conceptual
  • Ask clarifying questions around feedback to better understand it
  • Documenting feedback is helpful as a reference