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How To Provide Your Designer With Helpful Feedback

How often do you give your designers feedback? Does it usually get you the designs you’re looking for? Feedback can be a wonderful tool for a designer and their client to make sure they’re on the same page about the goals of a design. Or it can lead to a really painful game of broken telephone.

Most people want a solid, long-term working relationship with their designer and it’s easier to have that when there is helpful feedback given. It’s often appreciated too, as designers understand what they’re doing well and what they need to work on. Providing helpful feedback for your designer is important, but not everyone is sure of how to do this.

Below are a few tips you might want to consider.

Ask Yourself This: Did They Follow Your Instructions?

Ideally, feedback should specifically reference the design brief and what has or has not met expectations as they were outlined. It needs to be detailed and it’s a bonus if it includes visual references so that a designer can fully understand what their client is trying to explain. This will help a designer ensure that they adhere to their client’s preferences and prevent any issues from being repeated the next time around.

Was The Final Goal Achieved?

Think about whether or not the project was completed on time and if you were happy with the final results. Did the design convey the key messages clearly enough? Also, was there enough commitment on the part of the designer to deliver the best possible output? Did they ask questions, make suggestions, and do anything else to show that they were engaged with the project? Be sure to let your designer know how effectively they’ve delivered your project, and where you feel there could be room for improvement.

Take Detailed Notes Throughout

If you want to give helpful feedback for your designer, you’ve got to make sure you’re taking and providing detailed notes as issues arise, whenever possible. Otherwise the likelihood of missing important details will be very high and that’ll be frustrating to both you and the designer. Especially if a tight deadline is involved. If possible, take and share notes before, during and after each project so that the workflow can be optimized.

Be Constructive

Highlight crucial points and don’t be afraid to talk about the negatives as well as the positives. When it comes to both, being constructive is crucial. For instance, saying “This is great!” or “This sucks!” doesn’t really get anything across other than how you’re feeling about the design.

If you agree or disagree with the approach to your project, explain why so that your designer has the opportunity to create something more in line with what you’re looking for. And try your best to be patient during this process. There’s often learning curves involved when a client and designer begin working together, but once you get the initial kinks out of the way, the work you’ve put in to build a relationship with your designer will go a really long way.

Review Your Requirements

Everyone needs to have a list of requirements to ensure their projects run smoothly. You might even have one high level list which needs to be adhered to for all your projects, and more specific ones for each of your projects. Be sure to share each with your designer and to also review them regularly to help you determine whether your needs are being met. And if not, how they can be.

Take Your Time to Compile Feedback

Rushing to provide feedback can sometimes leave you wishing you hadn’t said what you did. If it’s late at night or you’re in a really bad mood, you may not be able to communicate in a way that’s clear. Whenever possible try to provide feedback with a clear mind – and on a full stomach. Nothing clouds someone’s judgement like being hangry!

Another thing to consider here is that if you’re on the fence about a design, you may want to run it by a couple of important stakeholders to see if it has the desired impact you’re going for. If not, then you’ll be clearer about the way forward. Trying to make changes without consulting your target audience may be tempting, for the sake of time, but it’s not often effective.

The most helpful feedback for your designer, and for you, can be delivered only when you’re feeling clear on what you need to have completed.

Share The Bigger Picture

If you want to give helpful feedback for your designer, sharing the bigger picture with them is a great idea. For instance, if it’s social media posts that you’re needing completed, share your social media profiles, and the posts which have been most successful for you. By showing your designer how the design they are working on will fit into the bigger picture of your marketing, it can help them understand your feedback, and the importance of different elements more clearly.

Remember Why You’re Giving Feedback

Now, while we have encouraged you to provide detailed feedback there is a caveat there. It should be relevant and clear detailed feedback. If your notes include jumping around a lot, and information which is not necessary/relevant to the design, there’s definitely going to be a lot more back and forth before the project is completed. Try to stay on task, and provide your feedback in concise points so that your designer can get your revisions back to you promptly.

Learn About Your Designer

Beyond just the task at hand, providing feedback can be a great opportunity for you and your designer to prepare for future projects. Your designer’s strengths and weaknesses are often times things that are learned only as you work together. But asking your designer to complete a few test projects or to share a few of their designs can go a really long way.

Especially if you do this before starting on your next deadline-driven project. This way, you can provide them with feedback, on work they’ve already done, or that is completed without impacting your timelines, so that they know your general preferences and can think about catering to them.

You’ll Get Out What You Put In

As with anything, you’ll get out of this process a reflection of what you’re able to put in. And if you’re not quite sure what to put into your feedback, we hope this list has given you some ideas. But let’s not forget your most important resource – your designer! Reach out to them to ask them if they have any suggestions for how you can provide feedback or how you can work together to improve the workflow. Your relationship with your designer is a very important one, and the more time and energy you put into maintaining, the bigger your payoffs will be.