Studio Giraffe

How to provide your designer with helpful feedback

Graphic Design, CommunicationTulika Sud
How to provide your designer with helpful feedback

The critique has long been an essential part of the design process, from design school to agencies to in-house design teams. As intimidating as it may seem, a fresh set of eyes is crucial to achieve a successful outcome.

Designers are often too close to their own work to notice when things are going too far from the brief. Getting feedback is a necessary part of the design process, not only for making key design decisions, but also for the client to ensure that the work is aligned with their vision and strategy.

Clients have a deeper understanding of and attachment to their brand, and a designer may not always provide a solution that fits what they had envisioned. Of course, this is a tricky field to navigate. So what do you do when you are not happy with what your designer has proposed?

Here are some tips on how to provide helpful feedback.

1. Listen

Give the designer a chance to explain where they are coming from. This will also help you to identify and correct any misunderstandings that the designer may have picked up during the brief stage.

2. Ask questions

First ask as many questions as you can, and then explain your viewpoint based on the answers you are given. Together, you and your designer will be able to identify what works, what doesn't, and what to do next.

3. Be specific

There is nothing more frustrating for a designer than being given a set of vague words or instructions. Avoid terms like "authentic", "edgy" and "dynamic", which leave a designer wondering what it is that they are expected to do next. Share examples of work or brands that you admire. Try to avoid statements like "I don't like this" and try to explain what it is that you are unsure about in the proposed design. Clear communication is essential!

4. But not too specific

Micromanaging with comments like "can you move this 10 pixels to the left" is not the answer. Trust your designer to make these design decisions and focus on the bigger picture - what is it that the design is lacking, and how can you and your designer address it together? Explaining to the designer what business impact your desired changes will have is the best way to get you both on the same page.

5. Keep an open mind

Be open to moving outside your comfort zone – perhaps the designer is the fresh set of eyes that your brand needed. They could be bringing in new perspectives and ideas that will take your brand in an exciting new direction. It is certainly possible to find a middle ground between your ideas and theirs through the process of feedback, which will result in a successful outcome for everyone.