The Hoodrats’ Toolbox: Google Drive

You know what’s great? The internet. You know what makes the internet even greater? All the wonderful instantly-accessible tools that are available through it to make our lives just that much easier. Our “Hoodrats’ Toolbox” series will reveal some of our process and workflow. We’ll be focusing on some of our favorite tools for designers and businesses in general, starting with an oldie but such a goodie…

Google Drive!

What better way to keep track of things than from a tool that’s accessible from all of your devices, all of the time, and easily editable for all your collaborators? Google Drive can even sync your files from online to a local folder on your computer, similar to dropbox, so that all of your files sync seamlessly and you have access to them even without internet connection. Some specific items that we use the almighty Google Drive for: editorial runsheets for catalog or magazine jobs, word processing, logo questionnaire forms and much, much more!


Runsheets via Google Sheets

Have a large project with a lot of assets to track? Google Sheets (formerly known as Google Spreadsheets) is there for you. On projects like catalogs and magazines this can be a life saver as far as organizing and tracking what you have, what you need, what articles or sections need to get done, how long they should be, what ads should be placed and where. You can track dimensions, required resolution, due date, when proofs have been turned over and any missing assets. Use the highlighting tool to create a quick visual key of what you’re still missing and what’s good to go. Red might mean you are missing assets, yellow might mean you have assets but have not completed the design, pink might mean you are waiting on client approval and green might mean that everything is completed. You can even automate notification rules for the sheet so you know when someone changes or adds to the sheet, etc. It’s not as easy as it once was with the old Google Sheets, but it can be done with a little effort and brain power. See the DIY here.


Word Processing via Google Docs

It’s the best four letter word out there: free. Google Docs is Google’s free alternative to other word processing software. And really, do you want to fart around with paying Microsoft to have Word on your Mac with all that unneccessary-and-annoying-to-remove secret formatting? Nope! And Apple Pages? Really, does anyone use this? Apple pages manages to corrupt so many things in ways I don’t know how.

Other glorious things about using Google Drive for your word processing:

Collaborators can edit, suggest or simply view your document in progress. Suggestions are in green and you can add extra notes off to the side for them. Making collaboration just that much easier and clearer to follow. You can also collaborate in real time, using the chat area to the right of the document to discuss changes before making them. You’ll see your collaborators cursor and edits in the doc via a color coded cursor with their name next to it.

You can even use this add-on to require approval on your doc changes from your clients.

P.S. Totes writing the draft of this post on Google Drive RIGHT NOW.


Client or Project Questionnaires via Google Forms

Use Google Forms to collect the information that you’re always asking everyone for without having to write the same questions over and over again. No one likes having to repeat themselves and this ensures that you remember to ask all of the questions on the first go. We sometimes use one for our logo and branding jobs to help figure out more about the project before starting. This should in no ways replace a proper call or meeting with the client to discuss goals, it’s just a great place to start, or a great way to get details to better quote a project. You can send the form to a client via a link, then Google will email you their filled out form once they hit “submit”. It’s pretty easy to figure out how to make one if your just log into your Google account, go to Google Drive, click add new, select form, and start putzing around. But if you like instructions, here’s a How To Make a Google Form article. Here’s a peek at the first couple questions that we routinely use…




There are a million other uses for the magnificence that is Google Drive (Google Calendar being one of them we didn’t have time to cover); these are just a handful of our most loved options. What do you use Google Drive for? Tell us what we’re missing in the comments!


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