Eleazar Ruiz
Eleazar Ruiz. Graphic Designer Based in Seattle, WA.
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4 Tips to Receiving Feedback From Clients

 

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about how clients should give feedback to designers. This week, I thought it would helpful for designers to know how to receive that feedback.

1. Listen.

A good way to show them that you're paying careful attention to their feedback is to take notes while they're talking. Engage, nod your head, don't interrupt, don't look away, and look them in the eyes.

When providing them with design solutions make sure you mention the words they used while you were taking notes. It shows them that you paid careful attention and were intentional to address things accordingly.

2. Educate.

When we explain our design decisions, we can sound like we are defending ourselves which communicates the wrong message to the client. It doesn't look professional and it creates an awkward relationship between you and the client.

Make sure you explain in detail how your design decisions solve the problem at hand. This might sound weird but feel free to let the client know both pros and cons of your design solutions. This way they see how you truly care about their needs and want the best for them.

Practically, don't be quick to respond. Think about what they're saying and respond accordingly.

Your people skills will always trump everything else. Believe me, I learned this the hard way.

3. Don't take it personally.

This one is often a deeper issue. I see how most designers including myself struggle with receiving feedback or criticism as a personal attack.

I believe that is because we often place a lot of our identity in what we do. In other words, we let our work define us. So it makes a lot of sense to be offended when a client doesn't like our work. We start believing that how the client defined our work also defines us.

This is such a big issue that I started writing a book about this. If you want me to finish it, please comment below (it'll give me great motivation). I believe this misplacement of identity is the most damaging issue in a designer's career. It stunts our growth and ability to be successful because we continue to attach who we are to what people think about our work.

Like any profession, in graphic design, there will always be someone out there who is better than you. That's reality. Does that mean that you are not good enough?! Of course not! See, I'm pretty passionate about this one. Moving on...

4. Consider all of it.

After all, clients usually know their audience better than you do. They have hopefully done the research or even better, they deal with their audience directly on a regular basis.

So, let the client be right. Acknowledge when they are. Consider all feedback and don't let your ego get in the way.

I often find that is helpful to wait a day or two after meeting with the client, then, address it. I usually find that most if not all of their feedback was on point. And any feedback with which I didn't necessarily agree, I still task myself with understanding the client's critiques.

So receive it, think about it, think objectively, and allow yourself to serve your client better.


Remember, your designer-client relationship will determine whether they hire you again or not—no matter how talented you are.