5 Great Tips for Design Feedback
Client feedback is one of the most important parts of any design process and to make it effective, we have compiled a list of things that can help you streamline the process. A few simple guidelines is all it takes to craft great design feedback. Whether you communicate in writing or email, over the phone, or in person, these tips will ensure that your designer understands your needs so you get the best creative art for your brand.
1. Be specific
One of the worst things you can do is be vague with your design feedback. Ambiguous phrases like “make it pop” or “it’s too bland” are not only difficult to interpret, but can have the time spent on rectifying it doubled. Design is subjective. What “pops” to you and what “pops” to your designer could be two different things. You might think “pop” means brighter colours. I might think “pop” means bigger and bolder fonts. Do you see how this can cause problems? Don’t expect your designer to know what you mean. Be specific so they don’t have to guess, as this causes more rounds of changes than necessary. Tell your designer exactly what you like and don’t like about the artwork. Is it the font? The colours? The imagery? Specific language is harder to misinterpret. Your designer is more likely to understand your concerns if you can point out exactly what’s bothering you.
Bad Feedback: It needs more pop.
Good Feedback: The colours might be a bit muted for our young audience. A brighter colour scheme will appeal to them and be more on brand.
2. Avoid micro-management
Giving a reason for the required change may spark new ideas from your designer to solve the problem. Telling them what you think to do to solve the problem may help, but it can also have a worsening effect on the overall design. It’s in your brand’s best interest to ask their opinion and take their suggestions on board. So how do you give a specific critique without micro-managing your designer? Present your designer with the problem, not just the solution you have in mind.
Telling your designer to “make the title bigger” only doesn’t give them any context. Your designer may not have an understanding of the problem. They know that you want the title to be bigger. But they don’t know why you want it to be bigger. By presenting your designer with the problem, they can understand the why. When they understand the why, they can suggest solutions that you may not have thought of.
Bad Feedback: Can you make the title bigger?
Good Feedback: I’m worried that people won’t be able to distinguish the title from the rest of the text on the page. How can we put more emphasis on it?
3. Give examples where possible
If you’re having a hard time finding the right words, use visual examples to illustrate your point. You may have seen a flyer or card before that you thought of when suggesting the change. How helpful would it be to show that to the designer to get your ideas across.
Bad Feedback: This isn’t what I imagined “bold and trendy” would look like.
Good Feedback: This isn’t what I imagined “bold and trendy” would look like. Here’s an example of what I had in mind. The large type and lots of white space on this layout is in line with my vision.
4. Don’t Make it About You
It’s easy to get caught up in what you like and what you don’t like. It’s important to remember that your brand isn’t about you, it’s about your business. (Unless you’re making a personal brand. Then it’s kind of about you.) What matters most is if your audience likes it, and not personal taste. If it meets the goals discussed at the beginning of the project, your designer will be focussing on those goals and suggest the most up to date representation of that goal. In some cases, personal taste can ruin a great design.
Bad Feedback: I don’t like that font. Can we change it?
Good Feedback: The font seems playful, but our audience is middle-aged and mature. Is this the best choice?
5. Be polite
Designers hit the mark very closely the first time round, with minor changes required. In cases where this did not happen for you, framing your feedback in a way that does not reflect on the person, but the work only will be better received. An easy way to do this is avoid using “you” in your design feedback. Constructive criticism is helpful. Personal insults are hurtful. The process of getting the best outcome for your brand is mutual respect, open channels of communication and respect. These are the things in our experience bringing about those “wow” projects everyone loves.