Collaborative Proofing

Hi everyone,
I’m new here, but have been a graphics designer for over 20 years now however my proofing techniques have never changed. I normally print it out, everyone scribles over it, this goes on untill final design is complete.

My question: Is there an online colaborative solution that can involve my team to proof a pdf or an indesign file online / cloud based. Can this go a step further and get the public involved in proofreading, suggesting, creative ideas, design sugestions etc. I would happily pay for such a service.

Interested in your thoughts and methods you use.


It’s been a while since I’ve used it, but check out Basecamp. It might do what you’re wanting to do.

Why would you want to get “the public” involved in your design process. Unless it’s a focus group study, “the public” could very well derail your project.

If somebody in “the public” provides you with a design idea that makes you and/or your client a lot of money, there would be an electronic trail to the person that actually did the thinking and they may suddenly feel the need for compensation.

For collaboration we use Dropbox for non-NDA work. For NDA work we use the client-provided secure servers they want us to use. With Dropbox, you can invite people to view and comment, and you can control who has access to the files beyond commenting. Be very sure the invitees know the file hierarchy rules you are using and you need to keep the job versions up to date.

I put a PDF in Dropbox then send the link to the project manager, who then forwards the link to the appropriate people. The list of people varies from proof to proof, and can be a few dozen people on data heavy things like catalogs. They download the PDF, add notes with Acrobat’s commenting feature, then upload the revised file to the manager. There is a feature that allows all of the comments in all the files to be combined into a single file, and the manager does that, then reviews all the comments before putting it back in the dropbox for me. I go through the comments list and make changes, and we repeat the process until it’s ready for print.

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We have one client that does this to an extent, but it’s a very specialized situation. They have a large user base that is very involved and concerned, so they post materials on their website and through selective use of their client emails, invite those people to get a preview and make comments. It’s a bit like a beta program, I suppose, only without it being software.

I can’t go into more detail than that, but it works for them, and it’s not part of a commercial online collaborative system. As I said, it’s a specialized situation.

I don’t think I’d necessarily recommend this process unless it’s really been thought through. In most situations, I suspect the process would yield all kinds of goofy, counterproductive, and time-consuming suggestions and criticisms. Feedback from a user group is good, but the usefulness and manageability of what you’re suggesting would likely depend on the situation, who will be involved, how you will interact with them and whether or not the outcome meets with your expectations.

All good points, I can see the complications.

Also for dropbox our IT team block sites like dropbox, so nice of them.

Thanks for all your input

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