Design

How illustrator Alice Lee uses Freehand for collaboration and contextual design

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If spend time online, chances are you’ve seen Alice Lee’s work. Beyond being a featured artist in our own Marketplace, Alice has created stunning illustrations and designs for companies ranging from Slack and Wealthfront to WordPress.com and The New York Times, and many more.

As an independent artist, Alice faces the same challenges many designers do when working on large projects with multiple stakeholders. Getting on the same page with so many people can be tough, and keeping track of everyone’s feedback on “works-in-progress” is often confusing and time-consuming.

Enter Freehand.

Alice has been using Freehand for a variety of projects, from in-product illustrations to animated videos, and shared with us how it’s revamped her workflow and made group presentations and collaboration easier—and more fun.

Headshots taken by Amy Wibowo.


Creating an animated video for WordPress.com’s business launch

Getting the team together

Alice partnered up with the team at WordPress.com to help create an animated video for a major company milestone. The goal: create greater awareness around WordPress.com’s new capabilities for businesses.

With 20+ storyboards in constant motion and plenty of stakeholders, Alice and her team faced the daunting task of maintaining clear lines of communication while iterating on an evolving project. Freehand, she said, saved the day.

Related: How to have more creative conversations

She loved using the ‘presenter mode’ option, she said, because it made it easy to showcase ideas and keep the team focused.

“I can see everyone’s cursor, which makes it really easy to follow along and reference specific elements. Also, we’ve been leaving comments on our Freehand during meetings as a form of notes, which is easy to go back to and reference later,” she said.

“Freehand has really helped—we can look at the material together and track everyone.”

Joint collaboration

Collaborators on this project span the country, from San Francisco to New York and lots of places in between. Alice’s illustrations needed to be separated into layers for the designers, and then the animator had to understand the vision for how the images move and fit together.

Freehand helped not only bring the team together, but kept the conversation at the right level. The team’s Freehand looked like a collaborative work in progress, so that’s how the team approached it. They could toss out ideas, sketch their suggestions, and drop in comments on the fly.

“I like that this is more casual. It felt easier to add things and jot real-time notes.”

“There was a lot of collaboration that needed to happen,” Alice said. “Especially working remotely, and doing the bulk of my project collaboration remotely, with remote teams, Freehand was helpful because we could just get an immediate sense of what other people were talking about.”

Big-picture context

Seeing an illustration or design out of context can create even more confusion, but dropping them into a Freehand and outlining the bigger picture provides a much better sense of what collaborators are seeing, and how to move forward.

Related: How to design from 10,000 feet

“Freehand, plus InVision in general, is really helpful because you can embed your work into the context of this larger project and help collaborators see what you’re going for, especially when it’s a work in progress,” she said.


Freehand, Alice said, helps her and her team showcase their projects’ potential, at every stage.

“It’s more straightforward to get buy-in when you have a final product,” she said. “But when you’re working on something that’s in progress, that’s when it’s really important. You need to showcase [your project’s] potential by putting it in context.“

Before Freehand, generating useful feedback and staying on the same page with her many remote teams was tricky, but now, Alice says she plans to incorporate Freehand into her workflow often.

I’ve found Freehand so useful and easy that I have been using it with clients on so many other projects, from storyboarding videos to design feedback on webpages, to thinking through concepts and ideas for launches and rebrands.

If you haven’t given Freehand a try yet, what’re you waiting for? It’s now a core part of the InVision platform, living alongside all your prototypes, Boards, and other projects. Get sketching—or commenting, or presenting, or doodling, or wireframing—today, with Freehand.


Author

Kayleigh Karutis

Kayleigh got her start as a news reporter, and she still considers that time she wrote the entire paper among her greatest achievements.

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