We need to talk about the elephant in the room that surfaces when designers and clients meet. It is the result of “feedback” and it can cause a spike in tension in a matter of seconds. You have the designer who has put their heart and soul into crafting something good. And then you have the client who is just not seeing eye to eye with the designer. And so the conflict begins.
Between the designer’s goal to produce an artistic piece and the client’s eye for business, a lot of miscommunication can arise, leading to undesired results. But that doesn’t have to the case. If the feedback loop is clear, concise, and objective, that elephant in the room shall disappear.
Want to save that client-designer relationship of yours? Here is how you should approach the feedback process:
1. Be specific
Avoid saying things like “I don’t like the logo in general” because feedback should never be generic and vague. Instead, you should pinpoint the elements – from big to small – of the design that you believe should be amended. Be as specific as you can because only then will the designer know that your feedback is not targeting their skills. You want to give the designer guidance into where to start with their edits to reach the outcome you had initially envisioned.
2. Be respectful
If you have concerns about the design, think before you speak to the designer. Acknowledge the effort they put into crafting their work. List all the pros and cons of the design to show them where they got things right and where they did not. Maybe consider posing some of the cons as questions to make the designer think about the various ways they could go about the amendments. Turn the feedback into a two-way conversation rather than a speech.
3. Be supportive
No matter what you think of the design, always express your thoughts in a way that won’t put the designer down. That is unless the design is sloppy, then that’s another story. Oftentimes, the designer does a good job but doesn’t necessarily execute in the way you had envisioned. Talk about what you don’t like and explain why you don’t like it. Try to give the designer a reason for your dislikes.
4. Trust the designer
Designers are the experts — after all, they design for a living. Always remember that when presenting your feedback. Don’t address matters in a condescending tone, rather engage in an active discussion with the designer to better understand their perspective on the matter. You will eventually reach a solution.
5. Be realistic
When it comes to design, and everything else in life, there’s always reality versus fantasy. While it is great to dream of the best, not all goals are attainable given certain resources. If you request something and the designer delivers a missing version of that request, ask them about it before making a judgment.
6. Find a middle ground
When you approach a designer with a project, you may have already envisioned what the executed version would look like. Still, you should always take a designer’s opinion into account – because they know best. They have experience in graphic design as much as they do in branding, which means that they know how to make your designs look good while adhering to business goals. Try to keep an open mind and you will most definitely reach a middle ground.
No two humans on the face of this planet can see eye to eye on everything. This is particularly a struggle when it comes to the world of design, specifically between clients and designers. They each have their own set of thinking and their own ideas. But with proper communication, constructive feedback, and respectful discussions, beautiful designs can come to life.