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How to give good feedback to a designer

How to give good feedback to a designer

Giving good feedback is key to a successful design project.

Regardless of what you're having designed - logo, website, Annual Report, brochure, etc. - your input is important and totally necessary for your project to be successful.

You're paying good money for your project and you want great results, but the onus is on you to give good feedback. After all, designers aren't mind readers. No one knows your business like you, and the magic happens when your knowledge comes together with your design team's skills and expertise.

Below are a few guidelines on how to provide effective feedback and, just as or more importantly, what not to do.

How to give good feedback to your design team:

  • Be honest. If you don’t like something, your design team needs to know – now, not three weeks down the road.
  • Be specific. Point out what, exactly, is not working for you, and why it’s not working.
  • Ask why. If you aren’t sure what the design team was thinking, ask about the reasoning. Everything we do for a project has a reason and a purpose.
  • Refer to your goals. Relate every piece of criticism back to your goals.
  • Relate to your audience. Design needs to speak to your audience, and they should be top of mind for every decision or critique that you provide. What do they need? What will they love?

How to give bad feedback to your design team:

  • Involve lots of people to give feedback. Art made by committee is rarely successful. There's no way to please everyone, and you'll usually end up with a hodgepodge. Sometimes it's necessary to have several people involved in the project, but one person has to be willing and able to make an executive decision.
  • Take things personally. If the designer misses the mark, they'll work with you to figure out why and move closer to the mutual target. If the designer disagrees with you, it’s because they’re thinking about your goals and your audience. It’s not personal, it’s business.
  • Do our work for us. You should give written or verbal instructions about what isn’t working; don't redo the designer's work to illustrate your point. If you're able to design the project yourself you wouldn't need a designer.
  • Prescribe fixes. You’re paying your design team to provide solutions, not to assemble something using your instructions. Explain the problem and the designer will pitch potential fixes, based on their experience, skills, and research. As in the point above, you wouldn't be hiring a designer if you were able to design.

When you hire us for a design project, we're bringing many years of experience to the table. This experience is what enables us to do our jobs well, just as your experience is what has brought you success. We need you to trust us to do our jobs so you can do yours.

Are you interested in talking about starting a project? If so, contact us and let's talk about it.

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