The design process is just that. A process. When you’re working with a creative team–be they internal or external–one major aspect of that process is giving feedback. It ensures that the designed assets align with your organization's goals, and with every step forward, your designers will better understand you and require less oversight going forward.
However, feedback isn’t as simple as leaving a comment on a proof. To get the most out of your designers now and in the future, you need to make sure you’re giving them the right kind of feedback to ensure that you get the design results you were hoping for. So let's open up those clear lines of communication with some good practices, shall we?
Specificity Is Crucial
We know it can be hard to convey a design idea when you don’t necessarily know the right terminology. You know that something needs to
be different, but you’re not sure how to convey it, so your feedback might end up being vague. Saying things like, “Make it pop” or “I want it to be bold” doesn’t give your team much direction, and they probably have a different idea of what makes something bold.
When you find yourself about to give feedback like this, think about what you want the end result to be. By “make it pop” do you mean, “I’d like the heading to stand out more from the background”? By “bold”, do you mean “large, solid shapes with high contrast”? Think about where you want the design to end up, and tell your designers in your own words. You may not know all the jargon, but you can still get your point across in a succinct and actionable way. And when in doubt, you can always share examples of what you’re looking for as visual aids!
Your Designers Know What To Do
There will be times when you aren’t wild about a design, and you’re going to want to change it. That’s part of the process! However, when talking to designers about it and considering their input, keep in mind that they are the experts in this field. That’s why you hired them!
You can always suggest changes, but ideally the exchange should be a discussion and not a demand. There are design principles and best practices that might be at odds with what you think should be done, and if your suggestion goes against those, we recommend listening to your designers. They’re going to be able to tell you why the idea may not be the best solution, and they’ll also be able to suggest an alternate way forward that comes as close as possible to achieving the outcome you’re looking for. We’ve done a piece on this before, and believe us when we say this; trusting your team is always going to pay off.
“I Love What You Did Here”
Don’t forget to be positive. Talk about aspects of the designs that you think work really well! Chances are you’ve done work for other people before, and we don’t need to tell you that most of the feedback
you get tends to be about what you did wrong. While it may get you the results you’re looking for, this can tank team morale and actually slow your progress moving forward.
Talking about the aspects of a design that you enjoy gives your team a waypoint forward. It’s something they know resonates with you and the goals of your organization, and they’ll be mindful to include it in future projects. Good feedback can be the burst of positivity needed to get you the best possible design outcome.
To be clear, giving feedback isn’t inherently bad or negative by any means, but if all your designers hear about are the problems, it can weigh on them. They’re working hard for you! Let them know you appreciate it!
Take All The Feedback and Bring It Together
Consolidating your feedback will take you FAR when communicating with your designers.
If there are multiple people leaving multiple pieces of feedback, it can be overwhelming and often contradictory. One person wants it one way, and another wants something completely different. This slows the process and compromises your end result. Instead, we’d recommend gathering the feedback from all participants who want to weigh in, reviewing it together, and then coming to an agreement about what changes to request and communicating the agreed-upon edit requests all at once. This saves precious time going back and forth between multiple comments and multiple rounds of revisions to make sure all concerns are addressed and everyone is happy.
Right Place, Right Time
Another important aspect of feedback is when to leave it. Obviously delaying your feedback can cause your team to spin their wheels and push out your deadlines, but leaving it too early can also hinder the process. If you’re proposing changes to a design that your team hasn’t fully realized, it can trip them up and push your timeline out.
Here’s the sweet spot: Provide your feedback in a timely manner after receiving the draft of your design. At that point, the design is ready for review, the designers can get back to work on it without delay, and you have your best chance of maintaining your original timeline. We know your instinct might be to get involved early on, but–say it with us now–you need to trust your designers! Lots of projects have to go through an “ugly stage” before they are truly representative of the final vision and ready to be evaluated.
Sometimes the design process can get frustrating, and we understand that. You may feel like you’re not being heard or that your words are being misinterpreted. Maybe you’re unhappy with the timeline.
There are any number of reasons why you might become upset, but no matter what’s going on, it’s no excuse to be rude or mean to your colleagues.
At the end of the day, you’re all working towards the same goal. You’re a team. There will always be a way forward that doesn’t involve throwing negativity at them. This feels like it should be a given, but it’s still surprising how often this kind of interaction occurs.
If you feel unheard or frustrated, get everyone together and talk it out. Calmly voice your concerns, and remember that no one is trying to do a bad job. Take a breath, and find your way forward together.
Feedback is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, and like any tool, it can cause damage if used improperly. Following the above guidance can create a low-friction environment that allows your designers to thrive and produce the best possible assets for your organization.
On that note, did you know that we have an entire team of expert designers ready to go to work and execute your vision? It’s true! They know how to interpret the goals of your org, and then execute them in a way that will wrangle your prospects and boost your ROI. Schedule your free demo today, and let’s change the game!
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