Congratulations, you’re almost to the finish line on your project! Maybe your logo design is almost there and you have a final round of feedback left before you and your designer call it a wrap. Or perhaps your web designer just provided the first draft of your website design and now you have to deliver your first round of edits. Whatever the case, feedback and revision rounds are a vital part of the design process, leading to the final product that meets or (hopefully!) exceeds your expectations.
But just how do you provide great feedback to your designer? Feedback that doesn’t leave you both going round and round in circles, potentially creating frustration and most likely stretching the project out longer than you’d both like? Here are a few tips for providing your designer with the most helpful feedback possible, helping to keep your project on track and ensuring the final product is the design you’ve been envisioning.
Consolidate your feedback as much as possible
I’d venture to say that most designers are used to getting sporadic bursts of feedback from every which way: a few bullet points via email, a text with a new idea, and/or a handful of notes coming out of a meeting. This sporadic feedback is still helpful, but it’s hard to consider it all when going through a revision phase.
Instead, once you’ve received the designs you’re about to provide feedback on, I encourage you to sit on them for a few days and collect your thoughts before sending. You’ll probably change your mind a few times, show some colleagues or friends to get their ideas, and new ideas will pop into your mind days after you’ve initially reviewed the work. Once you’ve waited a few days and jotted down all of your thoughts internally, send that over to your designer as a single list of feedback (or, better yet, schedule a call to review). This will ensure you’re being as concise as possible, allowing the designer to really take to heart and incorporate the points that mean the most to you.
If the colors your designer chose aren’t quite there, send some examples of specific colors that do fit the bill. Same thing goes for fonts and images: it’s much easier for your designer to work off of specific examples than trying to guess their way to what you had in mind.
Give the why
If you have a very specific problem that you’re trying to solve within a design, let your designer know. For instance, you might think a particular section heading needs to be much larger than how the designer presented it. Rather than instructing them to simply “make this heading two times its current size,” let the designer know what the real problem is: “this section can often get lost and it’s part of a larger business objective this year.”
The designer’s expertise is in visual problem solving, so they’ll likely come up with a few great solutions for what you’re trying to emphasize. These may end up working a little better than just upping the font size.
Keep it about the designs
When you feel your designer missed the mark, it can be easy to resort to feedback that gets a little too personal, for example: “I’m not sure why you chose that color—it’s not at all what I wanted.” However, this is not productive for the outcome of the final design and accusatory language can make it tough for your relationship to remain positive.
Instead, focus only on the designs themselves and the changes that can be made to improve them—now isn’t the best time to provide feedback on your designer or question their abilities. For instance, “This bright blue seems a little too playful for the logo design. My audience tends to be more serious so I was thinking a dark navy might work better.”
In the end, every design project will likely go through a few rounds of feedback and revisions, so it’s imperative to give the best direction possible. Not only does this lead to a better finished product, it also ensures you have a positive working relationship with your designer.