Client feedback is one of the most important parts of the design process. Most designers will make a point to ask for feedback early and often. This provides an opportunity for the designer to check in with you to be sure you’re both on the same page and headed in the right direction. Effective graphic design feedback can turn a good design into a magnificent one.
It’s easy for ideas and concepts to get lost in translation, leading to frustration for both you and your designer. But knowing how to provide EFFECTIVE feedback is crucial to getting your designer to understand your wants and needs.
Following a few ground rules will make all the difference in effectively communicating with your designer.
One of the worst things you can do is be vague with your graphic design feedback. Statements like “make it pop” or “it’s too boring” are almost impossible to interpret. What “pops” to you and what “pops” to your designer could be very different things. You might think “pop” means bolder fonts. Your designer might think it means brighter colors.
Be specific so the designer doesn’t have to guess. Tell him/her exactly what you like and don’t like about it. Is it the colors? The font? The images?
Helpful feedback might sound like this: “The colors may be too muted for our young audience. A brighter color scheme might appeal to them better.”
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Feedback should be a collaboration, not just a list of edits you send to your designer. Asking thoughtful questions creates a dialogue. When it comes to design feedback, there are no dumb questions. Asking questions shows the designer that you value their opinion and are invested in the project.
If you don’t understand something that your designer did, ask them about it. This will give them the chance to explain the rationale behind their choices. You will understand these choices better, and they’ll appreciate your interest.
Helpful feedback might sound like this: “I’m used to seeing newsletters with the issue number on the top right. Is there a reason you put it on the left?
Leave Your Personal Tastes Behind
I know this is a tough one but try not to get caught up in what you personally like and don’t like. This is about your business, its needs, and goals. It doesn’t matter what you like (no offense). What matters is that your audience likes it, and it accomplishes what it should.
Helpful feedback might sound like this: “Although I personally don’t like orange, I know it is the color of our brand and helps to compliment the other colors you used.”
Communicate the problem with the designer, not just the solution. Telling your designer to “make the heading bigger” doesn’t give them any context. The designer knows that you want the heading to be bigger, but they don’t know why you want it to be bigger. When they understand the problem as you see it, they can suggest solutions you may not have thought of. Making the heading bigger may not be the best fix. Trust in their expertise. That is why you hired them, right?
Be reasonable with your suggestions. There are combinations of colors, fonts and images that just don’t work together. The designer has been trained to be on the lookout for such issues.
Helpful feedback might sound like this: “I’m worried the heading doesn’t stand out enough from the other text on the page. How can we bring more attention to it?”
You’re not a designer and it’s frustrating to try to share your opinions about a design. Sometimes providing examples as reference points can help to get your point across. It can help steer the designer in the right direction when words alone are not working. It will help your designer see more clearly what your vision is and trumps a vague description (that could be misinterpreted) every time.
Sharing examples also helps you to get the most for your money. Time isn’t wasted going back and forth trying to bring your vision to life by throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. Don’t be afraid to use your resources and share images, links, and anything else that may help the designer more fully understand your ultimate goal.
Helpful feedback might sound like this: “This isn’t what I imagined it to look like. Here is an example of the style I had in mind. Would we be able to employ something like this instead?”
Give Balanced Feedback
When asked for feedback, people tend to focus only on the negatives. This is because most people view design feedback as a chance to make changes. If something doesn’t need to be changed, they don’t bother mentioning it. Negative feedback is obviously important, but positive feedback is important too. It gives your designer concrete examples of what is working so they can continue to move in the right direction. In turn, this makes it easier to address the negative feedback. Giving your designer positive feedback occasionally is a good way to keep your working relationship strong.
Helpful feedback might sound like this: “The overall layout is clean and appealing, and I love the colors, but I’m not sure the photos represent our brand properly. Can we use different photos that show more diversity?”
You probably won’t remember all of these tips, but adopting even a few next time you provide graphic design feedback will be appreciated. Better communication will increase the efficiency of the design process, making life easier for you and the designer, and ultimately saving you time and money.