8 Tips for Giving Feedback to Designers
Most designers consider their craft a helpful service we are able to provide people. And like any service, knowing and understanding the customer's wants/needs is the highest priority. Making our customers happy is the key for continuing to be successful in the design business just like any other business.
Moreover, feedback is a vital part of giving better service to your clients. You've likely heard the saying: two brains are better than one. This saying could not be any more true in the world of graphic design.
Unfortunately, things often get messy when the client doesn't have the right understanding of what the designer's job is.
Here are eight tips on giving feedback to graphic designers:
1. Be honest.
We are not snowflakes, so don't sugarcoat it. As much as I would like my work to go through the process untouched, that just never happens. And I'm prepared for edits. So just bring it, be honest. We are professionals--we can't take it and know is not personal. You pay, we deliver, it's that simple.
2. Ask clarifying questions.
Good designers have reasons for most (if not every) decision they make. If something doesn't look right to you, ask questions, we'll have an answer and if we don't, push back on us. We are solving a problem, remember? There must be reason for instance, why the logo is blue.
3. Your likes aren't necessarily the standard.
I'll give you an example. If the audience of your business is young women and I'm making a logo for that business, my job is to design something that is appealing to that audience. At that point, your taste and preferences are hardly relevant if you are not in your target audience. The goal is to make you successful, and often times that means your likes stay out the door.
4. Share problems, but not solutions.
You've hired a graphic designer for a reason. Let us do our job. As the client, your job is to point out your issues/problems with the design. Our job is to solve those problems.
Inappropriate feedback: "Can you make the font bigger? And move it to the top?"
Appropriate feedback: "I'm afraid people won't see that headline. What do you recommend?"
5. Do not DIY.
Similar to the previous tip but even worse, DO NOT try to fix it yourself. That's like going to the doctor to give you medicine and when you get home, you self-medicate. You are paying us to do a job. To help us, you can reference what you like. But please, don't give us what could've been drawn by a two-year old and tell us to "make it pretty."
6. Don't be vague.
Point out the problem clearly. Don't make vague comments like, "I'm just not feeling it."
7. Don't get your grandma involved.
This happens very often. It is certainly an acceptable thing to do user-testing on a relevant audience. But it is a completely unhelpful thing to ask your grandma what she thinks about our work. This also applies to involving a committee or group of people who will likely give a wide range of opposing feedback. Wisely choose a few key players to provide relevant feedback.
8. Ask for our professional advice.
This is not a necessity but at least get the best bang for your buck and ask for our advice.
What about you?
Designers: what sort of feedback do you most appreciate? Which of these eight missteps do you encounter the most often?
Clients: what words or phrases have most helped you in communicating feedback to your designer? Which of these eight tips do you struggle with the most?