How to give better feedback to a designer

6 November 2023

When it comes to engaging with a designer for a project, it’s important to cultivate a close and honest working relationship. Like any creative endeavour, design is a highly subjective thing so good feedback between designers and clients is vital.

However, comments like “It needs to pop a bit more”, “Can you give it a bit of extra… zing?”, or “I can’t really explain it. I’ll know when I see it.” are decidedly the opposite of what we need to hear. Don’t get me wrong it’s important that design feels right, and that can be an intangible thing to describe. But for the love of all things precious please don’t say these phrases! It offers nothing for your designer to work from, beyond giving them a headache.

Providing feedback can be a delicate process, but it doesn’t need to be awkward. It’s totally fine to not like something the first or second time around. That’s exactly what the draft and approval process is for. So when formulating your feedback, what’s the best approach?

Be clear and specific

The key to giving constructive feedback to a designer is clarity. Vague or ambiguous feedback can lead to misunderstandings. Be specific about what you like, dislike, or need to change. Broad statements like “I don’t like it” offer little depth. However, breaking it into separate aspects that you’re dissatisfied with create a starting point.

For example, you might say, “I don’t like the colour scheme; it feels too bright”. This specificity allows the designer to pinpoint the problem, as well as hint at a wider issue with the overall concept.

Prioritize and Organise Feedback

When providing feedback, it’s essential to organise your thoughts and prioritize your suggestions. If you have numerous points to address, create a list or document and categorise the feedback. This helps the designer understand which issues are most important and where to focus their efforts.

Respect the Design Process

Design is a creative process, and designers often go through multiple iterations to arrive at the best solution. Though the first options might not be exactly what you’re looking for, don’t be discouraged. Aim to be patient and open to revisions as designers refine their work to meet your needs.

Offer Context

Providing context for your feedback can be immensely helpful. When briefing the designer explain your project’s goals, target audience, etc. This information helps the designer tailor their work to meet your specific needs.

Take on Board the Designer’s Expertise

While your feedback is crucial, it’s equally important to respect the designer’s expertise. Designers have knowledge and experience that you may not possess, so be open to their suggestions and ideas. A collaborative approach can lead to more innovative and successful designs.

Giving feedback to a designer is an essential part of any creative collaboration. By being clear, specific, respectful, and open to suggestions, you can build a strong working relationship that offer the best ROI. Remember that effective feedback is a two-way street, and embracing a cooperative approach can lead to remarkable outcomes. Have you had a bad experience with a design agency in the past? Are you looking for an agency to work with that you feel comfortable with? Get in touch with us today and we’d love to talk. Want to know more about what we do?

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