Feedback is a critical part of the design process and, if done well, ensures the success of the work, but how do you provide a designer with effective feedback in the right way?
The design process should ideally be a collaboration between the designer and the client to create work together that is successful for both parties, and feedback plays a huge role in getting to that point.
It’s rare that a piece of design will be perfect the first time around and it will usually require a few iterations before everyone is happy, with things that can be tweaked and changed to improve it along the way to get it there in the end.
As a designer, receiving feedback can be stressful if it’s not clear or feels inconclusive, and as a client, giving feedback can feel harsh or the process confusing. To make it as efficient, seamless and productive as possible, here are five tips on how to give effective design feedback as a client.
You are working with a designer in order to create work that serves a purpose for you. The entire process aims to provide you with something that you are super happy with and that will be a success for you and your business.
If you’re not happy with something, you don’t like it or you don’t think it is successful in achieving its purpose, then please be honest. It’s much more helpful for a designer to hear honest feedback early on, even if it’s difficult to hear, than for you both to struggle through the process and ending up with something neither of you are proud of.
Equally, if you love something, be open about that too! The designer will feel assured and confident that they are providing a great service and you can celebrate together!
“There is no failure. Only feedback.” – Robert Allen
Sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint exactly why you don’t like something, but just saying ‘I don’t like it’ isn’t really helpful at all. If you can, try to provide the designer with some more detail about why you don’t like it – maybe describe how it makes you feel, what it reminds you of, the specific parts you don’t like (fonts, colours, logos etc) and why, or how you think it is failing to serve the purpose you were hoping to achieve.
Again, on the other hand, if there’s something you’re loving, be specific about that too. Explaining what parts you love and why you love them will help your designer to get to know you and make better decisions about your designs moving forward.
There may be moments in the design process when you see a piece of work and you have questions, so make sure to ask them! Talk to the designer about why they made certain decisions, what things mean, what happens next or anything else you’re curious about.
If the designer is thinking carefully about the work they’re making, they should be able to answer these questions for you no problem, and it will not only make things clearer for you, but will also show the designer that you’re engaged and interested in the process which can bring you closer together and make the whole thing more enjoyable for you both!
I know that as a client it can feel at times like you might be annoying the designer or being a hassle with your feedback and questions. I can’t speak for all other designers, but for me, I can assure you that you are not!
Like I said earlier, our jobs as designers is to work with you to create something that successfully serves a purpose and makes both parties happy and proud. Getting your feedback is the only way to ensure that that happens and I’m more than happy to chat with my clients about anything they’re not sure about, don’t love or have questions on so that we can work together to make something awesome!
So be brave and don’t be scared – it’s what we’re here for!
While it’s important to get the design right, it is also important to respect the designer’s time and honour the contract you have together for the work. There are a few ways that you can do this and be realistic about it:
The more engaged and open you are in the feedback process, the better your relationship with the designer will be, and the more likely you are to create something magical together that you’ll both want to scream from the rooftops about!