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How to give feedback to designers?

11-17-2018 - By August van de Ven

Giving designers feedback can be very difficult. Designers often don’t like to be criticized or corrected by other non-designers but if you keep to these points, it can make providing feedback a lot easier.

Clarity

When you give your feedback to a designer, be sure to make it as simple as possible. Offer your feedback one at the time and don’t use vague wording. Statements like “Make it pop” or “Make it cooler” is something designers especially dislike. You can include these statements in your initial design brief of course but to give these statements later often means that you’re going to get in a feedback loop where you and the designer will have to agree over something like “making it pop” and what that means. These vague statements often mean something different to everyone and the designer knows that, so it’s hard to translate these words into the actual design.

When you have feedback, give clear directions on the elements you think need change. Some examples are:

Always give a reason why you would like something to be changed. Designers always have their own reasons why something is like it is and giving a statement without any reasoning can make the feedback feel ungenuine.

Pricing

When you commision a designer to work on something for you, always make clear arrangements on pricing and possible changes. Some designers include one or two revisions with their asking price, meaning that you can suggest one or two changes within the initial price. When they offer revisions, get a clear number on paper.

If the designer doesn’t offer revisions or if they work by the hour, always pay them for every revision. Even if you hate the logo, the designers took their time to work on it and deserves and expects to be paid.

Communication

Clear communication is key when providing feedback to designers. Discuss as much as you can on what your intentions are with the design and what your goal is. When you give feedback, be sure to discuss it with your designer instead of giving orders. Knowing the reasoning behind certain choices within a design can often clear a lot up before a redesign. Also, when you have problems with the current design, discussing it with your designer first, might offer different solutions that you might not have thought of from a designer’s perspective. This is why it’s important to state the problem and not immediately think of your own solution.

The way you communicate with your designer is also very important. Be sure to ask what their preferred way of communication is. Calling, for example, can often result in problems due to misunderstandings or unclear instructions. When you have a lot of feedback, the easiest way is often to just send a simple list via email. If you call, it can be very overwhelming and hard to keep track of every single point, and the designer will often have to write everything down anyway. Sending your feedback via email can also make things easier in the end because it can prevent a lot of miscommunications and misunderstandings because everything is written down.

Time

When you are paying a designer to redesign your logo, website or something else, it can be very hard to like something new. If you don’t like a design, it can help to wait for a while and see if it will grow on you. It is usual for your first impressions to be negative because you are so used to your current design and it’s often hard to let go of that, even if your current designs are horrible. Humans simply don’t like change and you have to keep that in mind.

Before giving a designer feedback, show the designs to others. And also, if the designs are a redesign of your current brand, be sure to show it to people that don’t know about your current design so that they won’t feel nostalgic over the old one.