Ideally, you and your graphic designer will collaborate harmoniously on the perfect solution for your needs the first time around. In the real world, however, the design process is naturally iterative as you and your designer work to mesh your two perspectives together, which some may find difficult. And that’s...okay.
The goal of the design process is to unify your vision with the designer’s creative expertise to achieve the most effective result. This is where providing useful feedback can make the difference between a one-off flop and long-lasting marketing that enhances your brand while attracting new customers.
Aside from the quality of the finished solution, there are very real budget and timeline implications to the feedback and revision process. A simple $2,500 brochure can easily balloon into a $6,000 project if feedback is parsed out over several weeks. A two-month packaging project can turn into a five-month ordeal if feedback doesn’t have the market and goals in mind — leaving neither the designer nor the client satisfied with the results.
So how can you provide useful feedback to your designer and keep your project on track? Here are six helpful tips:
1: Focus On Your Audience
The main goal of any design project is to reach your target audience. Try to put yourself in the end user’s shoes when evaluating the design. For instance, if you don’t like the color yellow, but your designer gives you valid reasons why it might appeal to your customer, don’t rule it out based solely on a personal aversion.
2: Be Specific
Your designer is there to help you solve a challenge, and in order to do the best job, he or she needs to know exactly what you believe is not achieving the design goal. Frame your feedback by specifying what design element (i.e. font, color, image, etc.) is not working and why. Also keep in mind that asking you clarifying questions is the designer’s way to determine the most efficient path to improving the piece, not to challenge your feedback.
3: Be Constructive
Your designer just spent hours working on a solution he or she believed was perfect for your project objectives, so take a moment to appreciate the effort and look for the positives in the design before taking out the red pen.
4: Take Your Time
Have you ever said the wrong thing in the heat of the moment? Feedback is the same way. If you’re unsure about how to explain your critique, take it home and sleep on it. It’s amazing what 24 hours can do for your perspective.
5: Ask Questions
Assume your designer has the best of intentions and the approved design strategy in mind. Ask why they chose a specific solution if you don’t think it fits the strategy — their answer may surprise you and change your mind.
6: Compile Your Feedback
Make sure to compile feedback from all the stakeholders involved with the project into one document, reconciling overlapping or contradicting ideas before giving it to your designer. You don’t want the finished product to be seen by a director after the fact who has different feedback; this will save your designer countless hours and your budget undue stress.
The design process can be uncomfortable, but a little patience and thoughtful collaboration goes a long way when it comes to helping your designer deliver the best solution for your business. Of course, a foundation of trust and mutual respect is the key to a productive creative partnership, which is why it’s important to find the right designer or firm in the first place — but that’s a whole other article.