When working with a designer giving feedback is always part of the process. Critique is necessary either if it’s positive or negative. But the key to moving your project in the right direction is to give useful feedback. Feedback your designer can translate into your design.
Who to ask for feedback
If you feel unsure yourself you might want to ask somebody else for advice but be careful who you get on board. Qualified feedback can only from people who know and are involved in your project or from a potential member of the target group you’re trying to attract.
If you’re listening to everybody’s tips and advice you can easily fall into the trap of wanting to please everybody. Of course, you can learn from every critique, qualified or not, but you should always keep your initial project goal in mind to make sure you’re not straying away from the path.
7 tips to give better design feedback
Let it sit
Never give your feedback out of your initial gut feeling. Though your first reaction is often a good indicator of what you like or not, your answer should be more than just a yes or no. Let it sit, at least for a couple of hours, before you go back and take a closer look at positive and negative points. Your feedback will be more precise and you avoid making changes you haven’t clearly thought through.
Remember your goal
Just because it looks good should never be a reason to throw your project goals overboard. When you sit down to take some notes for your feedback write down your “Why” for this project on top of the page. Then ask yourself if the design aligns with what you want to achieve.
Start on a positive note
Starting with what you like about the design is the best way to lift the tension on both sides. Your designer will know that you’re both on the same page concerning the direction of the project. He will take the following negative points with pride because you’re not just focusing on negative things.
As designers, we want to please our clients and we want them to love what we create. After starting a project, we wait for the first feedback with lots of tension because we never know if what we create is 100% what the client had in mind until this moment.
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If you don’t like what you see you should take a deep breath before you give your feedback. It doesn’t help anybody if you get all defensive. Stay calm and objective when explaining your reasoning.
If your designer has a different opinion let him explain his thought process. You will see that there’s always a solution. Communicating and exchanging ideas is a basic part of the creative process.
In order to help your designer understand better what you want, you need to go into the details. Vague statements won’t do. You need to tell your designer exactly what you don’t like and the reason why you want to make a change. The more specific you get the better your designer can work. This way you avoid any unnecessary back and forth of designs until you finally find the right one.
Don’t be afraid to talk about design without having a background in design and without knowing the terms. You’re not the only one who doesn’t understand the designer lingo. Designers are used to translating non-designer feedback. It’s part of their job.
Related post: 10 most used design terms you should know
In person vs written
Whenever you have the chance, choose to communicate directly with your designer over sending an email. Direct exchange is often more fruitful. A written message can be misunderstood and result in frustration. When talking in person on the phone or via video call you can ask questions and any problems can be discussed and solved directly.
Change is normal
Keep in mind that the first draft is almost never perfect. Changes and tweaks are necessary and part of every creative process.