Whether you’re a photographer, graphic designer, content creator or artist, doing a creative collaboration is a great way to inspire your work and reach new heights.
You may be apprehensive about forming a partnership or collaboration; there’s a lot to do and it may take you out of your comfort zone, but the benefits are worth it. So, keep reading our top tips for successful creative collaboration.
1. Get out of your comfort zone
One of the main reasons to collaborate with someone is to explore new paths, techniques and ideas. It might sound daunting if you’re used to your own workflow, but isn’t that what you’re collaborating for, anyway?
Try something different. Remember that failure is part of learning, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes when exploring and working with someone new.
Explore different mediums. If you’re a photographer, try painting for a day. If you usually work digitally, trade in your Apple Pencil for a set of charcoal pencils. If you work in 2D, try 3D. It can be fun if the person you’re collaborating with works in a different medium; just swap your tasks.
Besides support, change of location or daily habits can inspire your work. See where and how your new partner works and copy it for a week.
2. Compare your creative visions
When discussing a new creative collaboration, you need to define a creative vision. Are you going to combine the knowledge you share about the same thing, or are you going to combine your different skills and ideas and meet somewhere in the middle?
There is no right answer to know which direction to take in a collaboration. Working with someone from the same field and background will strengthen your creative endeavors, it will add to the authority you already have in that area.
However, collaborating with creatives from other areas of expertise can inspire your work immensely. Combining your skills and abilities with theirs is a great way to create something unique.
Decide as partners what you want to get out of the collaboration. For example, you could work on a TFP filming collaboration and even turn it into a business venture.
3. Keep your apps up to date
There are countless apps for specific creative uses, such as VSCO, Procreate, Figma, and Canva. These tools are powerful and essential for a creative partnership, but they’re useless if you can’t use them to the fullest. Keeping your apps up to date means you always have the latest technologies and features at your disposal.
VSCO offers VSCO Spaces, a great way to meet and collaborate with other photographers or videographers. You can learn from each other and discuss your work in an open space. It’s a great way to network with others in your creative field.
Figma is one of the most popular UX/UI design tools. You can use FigJam from Figma to collaborate with a design team. This works great if you’re introducing UX writers to your team or working with photographers who understand your branding and want to participate directly.
Even Instagram has its own Collab feature. This primarily appeals to photographers, but it’s also great for sharing and viewing videos, graphic design, UX/UI design, or networking with others for business purposes.
YouTube is another useful app for networking, sharing ideas, and reaching a wider audience. You can create a vlog featuring your collaboration partner or use it as a platform to share videos from your collaboration efforts.
No matter what app, tool or platform you use, make sure you always have the latest version so you can reap the benefits of its latest and most useful features.
4. Look further
Thanks to modern technology, you are no longer limited to working only with people geographically close to you. You can easily collaborate with creatives from other cities or even countries.
Who’s to say you have to be physically in a room with your collaboration partner to brainstorm or brainstorm? Instead, host a video chat meeting or share a Google Doc; you can easily add comments via comments.
Working with an international team connects your work with a wider audience. Not only through their relationships in another place, but also through the differences in cultures and how that might influence their creative work. Along the same lines, your cultural understanding of your home city or country will reach their audience when you collaborate.
5. Access Creative Events
Creative events are a great way to network with people in your field or adjacent fields. Find local monthly events, large global events, online events, or one-time events. Some are even free.
Creative Mornings is a monthly global design conference. It takes place in many major cities around the world one Friday a month. Although it focuses on design, it is an inspiring affair for any creative person.
Adobe also organizes several events a year in different cities around the world. Attending these events lets you learn more about Adobe tools and how to network with creatives of different backgrounds and abilities.
Some creative events are held online, so you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home. All creative events provide an opportunity to mingle with people from a variety of creative fields. If you plan to collaborate, an event is a perfect place to plant the seed.
6. Start small
The idea of starting a collaboration with someone can seem daunting. It is not obligated. No one expects immediate success from your first project. So start small.
Just having conversations with other creatives can be a way to collaborate; share ideas or give each other advice.
Start a collaborative partnership with someone you already know, or perhaps someone you may have worked with before. Work together on a low-risk project. If your small project feels like a good team, you can start developing your ideas or start a bigger project with higher risks. But remember, it’s okay to take your time.
Plus, starting small and slow allows you to pursue your solo projects alongside this new partnership.
7. Accept feedback
Teamwork can sometimes be frustrating. Some people happily hand out reviews and, unfortunately, some people aren’t very good at receiving reviews.
In a work team or collaboration, you must accept comments. That doesn’t mean you should be hard on your opinions, especially if you want to stay in good spirits with your project partner.
You can chat, post comments, or use post-its to comment on ideas. But don’t let all reviews be negative; it can throw you into a slump or backfire when your partner retaliates. Being a successful creative partnership means taking the good with the bad.
Give feedback using a compliment sandwich template, where you give criticism surrounded by two compliments. Using genuine compliments works well to build trust and encourage open conversation.
Make your creative collaboration a success
With these helpful tips, you will no longer question the unknown of creative collaborations. Start small with a trusted friend or former colleague, but don’t limit yourself unnecessarily. The world is full of creatives and technology allows you to team up with someone who lives thousands of miles away.
Whether you want to work with someone in the same industry as you or spread your wings to embrace creative differences, there’s no better time to start than now.