One thing I’ve learned over the years of being a designer is that client feedback is one of the most important parts of the design process. I work closely with my clients and view our relationship as a collaboration to bring their vision to life.
Communicating thoughts and feedback to your designer isn’t always easy, especially if it’s not something you’ve done before. But don’t worry, that’s why I’m putting together this list of tips so that you’re primed for effective communication to get the BEST results possible.
1 Be Specific
If you feel that something isn’t working for you, pinpoint exactly what in the composition is making you feel this way.
Vague: This design isn’t working for me. (vague and doesn’t give the designer direction).
Specific: The headline isn’t working for me. It feels like it’s getting lost in the composition and I think it should stand out more.
2 Bullet Feedback
To make it easy for your designer to ensure they address every request, break each request into its own bullet. This allows the designer to go through your feedback like a checklist, rather than trying to pull out the change requests from a long paragraph. This makes it a lot more likely that your designer won’t miss anything.
If your designer has a chosen platform or format for feedback, be respectful of that request because it’s the process they find works and gets the best results.
3 Give examples
If you are having trouble conveying an idea, find a visual example. Visual examples are often better references than spoken words because there is less room for confusion.
Example: If you ask or a more “modern” approach, your idea of modern and the designer’s may not be the same. But if you ask for a more modern approach and show them a modern postcard design that captures the look you are going for, you’re a lot more likely to get the result you want.
4 Centralize Feedback
When multiple people give feedback, the process can get confusing and muddied. Your designer will often end up needing to create more revisions than necessary and may even get frustrated. The downside for you is that this may create a larger scope of work and more hours to be billed. Streamlining your communication will save frustration from both sides and keep your project on budget.
When working on a project that requires internal feedback or approval, appoint one person from your organization to communicate with the designer. Make sure to collect feedback and approvals from all your internal stakeholders before presenting the information to the designer. Communicate clearly with your team about when you need feedback to be ready.
5 Be Direct, but Kind
As designers, we’re used to getting feedback, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have feelings or get attached to certain pieces of work at times. Be direct and communicate what you need, but be mindful. A good rule of thumb is to give them feedback as you’d expect to hear feedback.
Your designer is eager to please you, and respectful feedback goes a long way.
6 Be Open
On the other side of the coin, we want you to be open. Don’t hold back appropriate feedback because you are afraid of hurting our feelings. Communicate early and often. There isn’t anything worse than getting to the end of a project and having a client bring up something that they have been unhappy with since the first round that might easily have been fixed then, but not now!
7 Be Timely
One of the most common reasons for delays is not getting timely feedback from a client. Now, I think in general most clients set out with the intention to provide timely feedback, but fires come up – you’re running a business after all. Work out a schedule before you start and know when you are expected to provide feedback so that you can allocate the time needed in your calendar ahead of time.
Your contract may require that you give timely feedback or your project may be rescheduled, delayed, or you even be charged a fee. Designers have these protocols so that they can deliver the best quality service to you in the time you have reserved in their calendar.
8 Focus on Results and Goals
Design is about more than just “looking pretty.” Designs should serve a purpose and drive towards a goal. When in doubt, think back to the result or goal your design is striving to reach and give feedback as to how the design is or is not doing that now.