Trello Gold: Should Writers Upgrade?

Trello gold logoAs part of the Write On Sisters commitment to recommending all the best writing tools and apps, today I’m reviewing Trello Gold. Please remember Heather and I never take a dime from any of the product or book reviews we do. If we recommend something it’s because we use it and want to share a great product with our writer friends.

If you haven’t already heard of Trello, you are missing out. It is one of the best project management tools available. Best of all, the standard version is still free! I’m a huge Trello fan; I find the app vastly superior to using anything else on the market, even Scrivener’s Corkboard doesn’t compare. So when Trello offered their regular users a free Gold trial last month, an upgrade that normally costs $5.00 USD a month, or a flat year long rate of $45.00 USD, I jumped at the chance to try it.

According to Trello’s own data, you get 5 extra features with the Gold premier subscription. They are:

· More Stickers (premium sticker packs & the ability to upload your own designs)

· Custom emojis, because sometimes (according to Trello) a few emoji speak louder than words.

· Custom board backgrounds, so your board can reflect your style and/or branding.

· Larger attachments, Gold can accommodate 250 MB uploads, instead of the 10 MB in the free version.

· Saved searches.

Taking these features one at time:
Trello Gold Stickers #2

I’ve never been overly excited about using the 12 standard Trello stickers, so I wasn’t exactly salivating over the prospect of having more stickers. However, they are pretty darn cute. And I can see the value if you’re maintaining a large public Trello board. Creating your own stickers means you can brand a board with your blog, book and/or author logo. Also I think anyone teaching writing (particularly to kids) could find these stickers a good motivational tool.

With Gold you will get 16 Taco the Trello Dog stickers, and 15 Pete the Computer stickers.

Custom emojis
Because the world needs more of those. (Note my sarcasm.) I have no problems with emoji use, and I’m just as inclined to drop a smiley into an email as the next person. But since I’m not using the Trello stickers, I can’t think of any reason I would want to take the time to upload emoji images. However, if you’re sharing boards with a bunch of writers who thrive on the positive reinforcement, the ability to add some emoji hands clapping might be tops on your list of necessary features.

Board backgrounds
Oh boy, do I love this feature! It’s just absurdly visually pleasing to me. Trello Gold Main Board area

The new backgrounds gave my menu page a fantastic look (see above), but some of my custom images ended up being too distracting while I was working with my cards. The custom images seem to work best with a landscape where the focal point is placed in the lowest 1/3 of the image frame. I played around with loading my own images a lot! It was fast and super easy. If you’re the kind of person who craves pleasant visual stimuli, for example you always have happy pet faces on your desktop, this feature alone might make the upgrade worth it for you.

With Gold you get 9 new photo board options and 8 new textures. I’m less excited about the textures; wood grain was a hit with my husband, but several of the others too closely resembled the 9 standard backgrounds. However, custom images rocked! And I liked that I could use them as a single image, or in a tiled mode.

Larger attachments
Depending on your normal file transfer method, Trello should make it easier to attach notes, checklists and comments to your files. Plus you will get real time status updates when your critique partner, beta reader or editor makes changes to your checklists, responds to questions or adds new comments. All changes show up in the activity history. And since this can not be overstated, it happens in real time. No need to send an email asking if the other party received your notes. You will know the moment they start working on your project. And you will be able to monitor their progress remotely from anywhere in the world. I don’t know about you, but anything that saves me a few extra emails is a good thing!

You can attach files in the free version of Trello too, but with Trello Gold the file size jumps to an impressive 250MB per attachment. Much bigger then the ten MB a free account comes with. Do you need the extra MBs? That’s for you to judge. I just know writers are always moving data around. We send drafts to beta readers; we pass things back and forth with our editors! If you’re also working with a co-author or an illustrator, this feature gives you a fast and private way to work concurrently on the same project. Best of all, only the people you select will ever see your data, and you can modify the settings to control who can edit your data vs. just view it.

Saved searches
While I do enjoy using the search function, I can’t say saving my searches is a big deal to me. I guess it might save a few keystrokes, but not much else. It is an easy feature to use, and would prove helpful for someone needing to organize data over a huge number of boards.

There you have it, all the features in Trello Gold account. While Trello is a great tool, I don’t feel the upgrade to Gold is worth it for me personally. However, if you are routinely managing large files, working with a co-author or group, an editorial team or collaborating with a remote illustrator, this upgrade should help streamline your workload. Writers of picture books, cartoons or manga could definitely benefit from the larger file size and the seamless way an author and illustrator could exchange comments in real time on a page-by-page basis. Also, writing teachers and editors should find the Trello Gold features a nice addition and popular with students or clients who thrive on visual rewards and validation systems. In fact, everything about Trello Gold screams writing teacher/coach to me. So if you are a writing teacher, or someone running an editing service, and you’re looking for a smarter way to manage projects, you may want to get out your credit card.


Author: Robin Rivera

Robin trained as a professional historian and worked as a museum curator, educator, and historical consultant. She writes mystery fiction, with diverse characters and a touch of snark. She's currently working on two new manuscripts that started off as NaNoWriMo projects. You can follow her on Facebook( However, Pinterest ( is where her inner magpie is happiest of all.

4 thoughts on “Trello Gold: Should Writers Upgrade?”

  1. Good article. I am just now experimenting with Scrivener corkboard feature and Evernote for writing projects. I like both. I’ve glanced at Trello but haven’t had a chance to fully explore. I’d like more details on how exactly you use Trello for writing. Have you posted on this before? If so please share the link. Also are you using Trello to post publicly or just as part of your writing process? TIA.

    1. Hi Lissa,
      I linked to another post in the body of this one, but I think we have two others at this point. I’m a bit of Trello fangirl. You might want to start with this one: T is for Trello. Or this one: 5 Reason Writers need Trello.
      Trello boards have three setting: Private, Team, and Public. Currently, I have a large number of private boards, and I have two Trello teams, where anyone I’ve added as a member can work on the same boards with me. And I’m also a member of some other Trello user’s team boards. The ones we have created as writing templates under our Write On Sisters Trello account are currently set to private. However, Heather and I have talked about making them team boards at some point. Maybe as a goodie for our blog subscribers.

      If you’re looking for good examples of Trello boards, I would try a Google image search. There as so many boards up on Google. Also the main Trello blog runs fantastic user idea posts all the time.

  2. My sentiments exactly. The one feature I WANT is the ability to back up Trello boards in a standard format like .doc or .rtf, even .xml. It’s a serious limitation to me!

    1. There is a board export feature under the “more” option. However, I’ve never needed to back up my boards, copy yes, export no. So I don’t know how to use it or if it will do exactly what you want.

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