5 Tips for creative collaborative projects

Hello Messians,

I wanted to write a post today about organizing collaborative projects. This is something highly encouraged within the Get Messy community and I love seeing new groups pop up all the time! Recently, I have had a few questions about how to organize who is sending what to who ETC. As a member of the zine squad and color blast (2 collaborative projects formed under the Get Messy umbrella) I have a bit of experience with this and a few tips to share with you all.

Create a HQ 

This can be in whatever format you all agree on; facebook chat, a facebook page, emails, whats app, slack… there are so many options out there! For zine squad we have a facebook chat and for color blast we have a facebook page. It’s good to have one place where you solely discuss your project, progresses or setbacks and always feel in the loop with one another.

Use imagery

However you decide to organize your collaborative project, it’s important to be clear and direct with what is happening. For color blast, we have 7 journals that will go to 7 artists at different times, this can seem overwhelming so to help, I like to create infographics.


Something you can look at quickly and understand instantly what you’re supposed to be doing at that point. These can be shared in your HQ and screenshotted to your phone’s image gallery.


Before making the info graphic you have to think laterally about how this will work. Who will have each/the journal and when. What about the overlap time? Is everyone sending internationally the same amount ETC. It’s a bit of a logistical nightmare but so rewarding once done. It’s good for only one or two people to do this otherwise an already taxing task can seem overwhelming. I like to use google sheets and I always double check with the group before setting anything in stone.


Make it clear when you want this project to be finished – if a date at all. For color blast we have a pretty relaxed rule of 1 month per journal. We also communicate when each journal is sent and received. We then set a date to publish our latest work so even if we’re a little out of sync by a few weeks, we never have 2 journals at once or are posting images alone – it’s always a group thing. For zine squad, we give each artist an unlimited time with the zine. As long as you are communicating with the rest of your collab, it’s all pretty simple. Everyone is human and can understand if you need more time or are feeling uninspired.


Working collaboratively takes a lot of trust. You have to trust that your fellow artist will respect your work, will communicate with you, will take care of what you are sharing and you can only pray to the post gods that nothing will be lost! Also, as a community, it is important to honour and respect any like minded projects that have already been formed. Want to start your own zine squad? Great! Just make sure you have a new project title and your own identity.

I hope this answers any questions you might have had about setting up a collaborative creative project. Now all you need to do is reach out to people who inspire you and get started!


Julia is a British designer and creative enthusiast. She loves to express herself through shape, colour and pattern – living by the ethos of more is more!


  1. Misty Granade

    Nice! Thanks for the tips!!

    • julia Thomas

      You’re welcome! <3

  2. Sasha Zinevych

    This is just great! Very helpful!

    • julia Thomas

      Yey! I’m so glad 😀

  3. Kelli CRESWELL

    I always love how the zine squad captures the personality of the person they are making it for. I had no idea there was so much work going on behind the scenes – thanks for sharing!

    • julia Thomas

      Thanks Kelli! We also do a lot of sleuthing on instagram 😉

  4. Lea

    Great tips. I am inspired to do a collab!

  5. Kuma

    Awesome, thanks! Those logistics do seem nightmarish

    I’m curious:
    With a collab like the colour blast that has more than one journal, does each person make a booklet with a designated number of pages (and size), then send it to the next person? Before they send it to the next person, do they complete the first spread?

    • Vanessa Oliver-lloyd

      yes, we each agreed on the size of the journals we would use. We assigned the umber of pages per person and try to have collaborative pages too. Then we made a certain number of initial pages before sending it off to the next recipient.