“I definitely see that there is potential for design software to make it easier for design teams to work on a single design synchronously.”—Jacob Gube

Jacob Gube: Chief Editor, Six Revisions + Deputy Editor, Design Instruct

“i definitely see that there is potential for design software to make it easier for design teams to work on a single design synchronously.”—jacob gube

What do you predict collaborative design technology will be in the near future?
There are a lot of great tools and extensions that allow for visual design collaboration. For example, there’s the LiveShare PS plugin for Photoshop that allows you to work on a design remotely, but there would need to be a person controlling the PSD file and making the changes. There’s a ton of online wireframing and prototyping tools that you can use to collaboratively work on a design prototype. There are plenty of design feedback tools and communities where you can harvest design critiques from.

I definitely see that there is potential for design software to make it easier for design teams to work on a single design synchronously. This would be beneficial if the design task is complex enough. But if the design is simple, like a one-page layout, it’s like having ten drummers in a band trying to play the same song together—one drummer suffices under most circumstances, and even for the most complex of songs. But for complicated or extensive designs that can be modularized and assigned to different designers or design teams, then a way to work on a single design project/file in sync would be a great option.

We are interested in your thoughts on sharing versus collaboration as it relates to public domain, social media, and appropriation.
The “intellectual property rights” question on the web is tricky. On one hand, intellectual property rights are very important. People work hard to create their work. On the other hand, in order to fully enforce these rights, there must be some form of governance, but then the whole essence of the internet being a free and open space can be at risk when we give certain organizations the ability to call the shots on the internet.

My framework for deciding whether or not to put my work on the internet is to ask myself, “Am I willing to be plagiarized?” If not, then perhaps a more traditional approach that’s not prone to appropriation, such as a magazine or an art gallery, is a better option.

For me, the benefits of having a free and open internet, and having my work available in it, far outweigh the downside of potentially being plagiarized. At the end of the day, it is the producer of the work in question that gets to decide whether or not he or she would like to have it available on a free and public space, and assume any risks associated with that.

In your opinion, what is the most helpful collaborative design tech tool and why?
The most helpful tool is some form of a version control system, and there are many to choose from. It helps keep your work in sync with one another, and allows you to see track changes that your teammates have made.

Do interactive social tools equal physical proximity for collaboration?
I think interactive social tools are even better than physical proximity because you have the ability to work with anyone in the world. And I believe that if you really wanted to have an interactive/social tool for collaboration, you can easily do it with existing technologies. This can be achieved simply by sharing screens, having web cams, and VoIP—it’s almost like working in the same physical space. For design and knowledge work, eyes and ears are all you need to effectively communicate with one another. Would it be nice to have a specialized application for visual design collaboration to do what I’ve just described? Yes. But if the question at hand is whether we’d have to wait for that app to exist, the answer is no, we can already do this right now.