How To Give Great Design Feedback To Get The Designs You Need

Sometimes, you know what kind of designs work for your brand. You even have great ideas for the design but do not have the expertise to execute the design. In other cases, you may know your brand and also the ins and outs of graphic design but do not have the time to execute your idea. In either of these situations, there is one idea that works – a design collaboration.

In a design collaboration, the person who has the idea for a great design for the brand is different and the person executing the design is different. So, there tend to be subjective opinions. There tend to be differences in expectations. In such cases, the secret ingredient that helps channel these opinions and expectations is design feedback. 

Design feedback is also the key to rock-solid design collaborations. 

Done right, design feedback can prevent communication gaps. It helps design teams better understand the brand they are designing for. 

If you have ever had your doubts about giving design feedback, this blog will clarify them for you. We’ll tell you why every design collaboration needs effective design feedback. And how to give feedback that results in better designs every time. 

The Untold Benefits of Providing Productive Design Feedback 

1. Designers love them 

Believe it or not, designers love to hear clients talk about the designs they delivered. 

For most designers, constructive design feedback is something that helps them get better. It pushes them to expand their perspective. And it helps them get to know the brand better. It even helps them understand the industry better. 

Finally, they also get a fresh take on the different marketing objectives that different kinds of businesses set.  And all this means that they will be able to deliver better designs that are on-brand. 

2. Avoid assumptions 

When you do not provide feedback, your design team might think that they are on track. Unless you highlight aspects that you do not like, they will not know your expectations. 

And when it comes to long-term collaborations like graphic design subscriptions, a lot depends on your communication with your team. Because the same team will be handling a majority of your design requests. 

So, when you clearly highlight what you like or dislike about the design, the team will be able to replicate the ideas in your other design requests. Each such feedback turns out to be a way for them to fine-tune your designs and keep them consistent with your brand’s personality.  

3. Brands benefit from them 

Good design feedback leads to better designs. Better designs lead to even better performance of your campaigns. And that’s what every brand would like. 

When you point out the highs and lows of the design and explain why you like or do not like something about the design, your designers find it easier to optimize your design to meet your goals. And your brand benefits from goal-driven designs. 

4. Non-designers gain valuable design insights 

If you are a non-designer giving design feedback, then every conversation you have with your design team about specific aspects of the design will be a learning process. 

When you start giving timely feedback and communicating more with your team, slowly, what looks like an unwanted blank space in a design suddenly makes so much more sense to you. You realize that it is a negative space strategically placed to draw attention to or emphasize a particular section. This learning can be useful to you in the long run. 

5. In the end, everybody wins 

There is no competition in collaboration. It is about brands and design teams (internal or external) working together towards a common goal. So, anything that helps both the parties involved to reach their objectives will be good for collaboration. So, design feedback is good for collaboration. 

Designs that capture their brand’s personality and the campaign’s goals make clients happy. Designs that make clients happy make designers happy. And design feedback makes both of these happen. So, it lets everybody win. 

In short, design feedback benefits both the design teams and marketing teams or business owners providing inputs. 

Now, let’s see how non-designers can give actionable feedback to enhance the designs and strengthen the collaborations. 

Giving Effective Design Feedback as a Non-Designer 

Come up with a plan of action 

First things first. When the designer gives you the design or a draft, do not jump to listing down the changes you want in it. Or do not simply let the design pass on to the next stage without having a word with all the concerned stakeholders. 

When the final design is ready, what all aspects of the design should you look for? 

  • Adherence to the brand style guide. 
  • Fulfillment of the requirements presented in the design brief.

These are essentials that every design team strives to keep up with. Any deviation from these calls for revisions and no designer will hesitate to acknowledge and work on them. 

But what if there are some changes you need in the design because you missed a detail in the design brief or style guide? Or what if there are specific aspects of the design that do not feel right for some reason? 

In such cases, you should have a solid plan of action. You should know what sequence of steps comes after that. And the first one should be to consult with all the concerned team members. Every stakeholder who has a say in freezing the design should be involved in drafting the design feedback. Not doing this will lead to a lot of back and forth communication and multiple revisions. 

Kimp Tip: When your design team delivers the design, call for a brainstorming session. Check whether the branding aspects and the campaign goals are fulfilled. Also, look at the design from your customers’ perspectives. 

With Kimp’s unlimited subscriptions you get to invite team members to your design project. This way, all the stakeholders will be able to monitor and track any changes to the design. And thus provide timely feedback. 

Focus on the design

The way you frame your feedback, and the kind of aspects you highlight can all differentiate whether you are talking about the design or the designer. As long as you are talking about the designer, it remains constructive. 

You do not have to hold back wondering whether the designer will feel offended. Remember, unless you have an open conversation it is not possible to fill communication gaps in a design collaboration. 

Ask questions rather than proposing solutions

For example, imagine you do not like the background color in your design. Instead of telling the designer that you do not like it, start by asking the designer if there was any particular reason why that color was chosen. 

If the reason sounds valid for the objective, you can accept it. Or if you are not convinced, you can then let the designer know why you do not like that particular background color. Raising a question gives both the designer and the client a chance to revisit their perspectives. 

Subjective vs. objective feedback

You might want revisions on some aspects of the design because you do not like them. And sometimes it might be because your marketing strategy or your customer preferences call for them. 

If the revision you request is because of your personal opinions, your designer might be able to explain to you the pros and cons of changing the said aspect of design. You can then prioritize the changes required. 

Or if the changes you ask for are based on your previous campaigns or analytics provided by your marketing teams, your design team will make the revisions based on the inputs. 

Not all feedback is negative feedback 

When we talk about design feedback, it does not always have to point out the factors that need to be changed. It can also be about factors that you wish to retain in all your future designs. So, good design feedback will talk about the changes you want in the design as well as the things you love about the design. 

Highlighting what you liked about the design will help your design team understand whether they are in the right direction. This will add to the details you furnish in your design brief. And as an added advantage it motivates your design team. 

Covering both positive and negative feedback makes it easier for the design team to better understand the mood and visual style you wish to see in your designs. 

It also clearly lets them know whether the whole design needs to be thrown out of the window or whether only a few tweaks are required. 

Keep it simple and straightforward 

Even if you have been working with the same designer for months, your designer will not be able to read your mind. If your feedback is too brief it does not solve the purpose. “Change the font color” will not be enough. Start by asking why the designer chose the font color. Explain why you think changing it might make the design better. 

Just because you want the feedback to be descriptive, do not beat about the bush. Do not add details that might distract the discussion from the actual point. Add just enough information that lets the designer work on the revisions you suggest. If you want the color to be changed, mention the corresponding hex code or a reference palette for the designer to use. 

Use visuals and references 

If you have reference images that will help designers understand the provided feedback better, feel free to share them. If you have a mood board where you had captured the ideas from all your stakeholders, provide that as well. 

For example, when you simply say that you do not like the mood the font creates, it is hard to understand your expectations. On the other hand, when you ask the designer to “choose a font that has a similar personality as the one in the reference image” the designer will be able to provide a solid solution. 

Keep it open-ended 

Just like you as the marketer or the business owner know your brand better a designer might know the technical aspects of designs better. And the design realm is expanding rapidly. So, instead of jumping to conclusions or trying to fix something in a design, focus on having productive discussions. 

When you provide design feedback, let the designer clearly understand that you are open to suggestions. You never know! You might come up with several new ideas to enhance your brand’s visual style from these discussions you have with your designer. 

Consider the emotional aspects of the design 

A design that looks “balanced” and with the “perfect hierarchy” to the eyes of a designer might not essentially evoke all the emotions that a marketer expects. Designers love to hear about this perspective of their design. 

From the kind of response you have received from your customers in the past or from the mood you had always been setting for your designs, you might have your input. 

Provide a clear picture of the emotional impact the design has. If you think that the design does not look “festive” enough, discuss with your designer to understand how to make it so. 

Your designer might be able to provide options like: 

  • Adding a few visual elements
  • Or changing a few colors without deviating from your style guide 

These options will make your decision-making process simpler. 

Document all the feedback 

Try to have all the feedback you provide, and the discussions on them, on the same platform. It can be in email communication or a streamlined project management tool. This way, the whole team will be aware of why a revision request was initiated or why a particular decision with respect to the design was made. 

And this also ensures that the design team can go back to the old feedback and analyze new designs in the future. For major changes, be sure to update your brand style guide as required. 

Kimp Tip: For every design collaboration having a unified platform to track all communication between the design team and client is important. This makes it easier to understand why a particular revision was made and when. 

With Kimp subscriptions all your project-related communication happens on Trello. 

Design Collaborations Made Simple Through Hassle-free Design Subscriptions From Kimp 

Clearly worded succinct feedback that incorporates inputs from all the stakeholders will be the right kind of feedback that saves time for both the designers and the brands requesting the designs. A lot begins with transparent workflow and clear project tracking. That’s why with every Kimp subscription, you get a clear picture of when your design team will be working on your requests and in what order. Since all the details are clearly available for real-time tracking on the Trello board, you can evaluate your designs on time and provide essential design feedback. 

Wondering whether long-term design collaborations like design subscriptions will work for you? Check it out yourself by registering for a free trial