If you’re a graphic designer, feedback can be a frustrating part of your project. It may feel like a battle against your designs — resulting in a compromised outcome. On one hand, you want feedback to finalize your project and make it the best and on the other hand, the feedback from clients can be obscure and frustrating. The challenge is to decode what the client really wants and to receive helpful feedback.
Feedback is helpful information from an individual, communicated to another individual who can use that information to adjust and improve their actions and behavior. Feedback is an opportunity to see our work from a different perspective.
Tips To Receive Meaningful Design Feedback Without Being Frustrated
You cannot control what feedback you’ll receive, but you can decide how to get a meaningful one and how to deal with it. Here are some tips for the designers when you receive feedback.
1. State the Goal of the Project
Feedback shouldn’t just be about the aesthetics of a design or how entertaining a blog post is. It needs to solve a problem or service an end-goal. Include a summary of the project that includes:
- The target audience
- The problem this project is meant to solve
- The desired action viewers should take after seeing the project
- The emotion the project should evoke
- What can’t be change
This will help people to buy into your approach and the creative solution to the problem, such as low conversions or high bounce rate. Once everyone is one the same page, it will be much easier to talk constructively about what works and what doesn’t.
2. Use a Project Management Tool
It is quite challenging to manage feedback particularly for design approvals and email is a terrible way. If you’re working remotely or in any kind of team where you are not able to present a project in front of the client, you can use a creative collaboration platform or proofing tool to set up a scalable design review and approval process.
You can map out a clear design review workflow: who will be reviewing it, what needs to be reviewed, what are the timelines and what might be creating a delay. Work together with your team or your clients can add notes or comment directly on the project design.
All your feedback will be organized for you to consider as you begin to make revisions. There are various tools out there that let multiple users (clients and team members) view and comment on the design at the same time, add notes, @mention, and even make changes directly on the visual. All in all, collaboratively receiving feedback is always important.
3. Ask for Feedback at Various Parts of the Project
Suppose your clients have crowdsourced a logo through a marketplace offering graphic design services like Suvenia, you put the efforts to get the best design, but will you be expecting bland feedback from your clients like, “Oh, it’s good”, “I like it”, “It looks nice, Good colors”… Definitely not! You would want precise, actionable feedback to improve your design work. If your clients want to give feedback, ask for it in the early stages. Asking for feedback early, when the design is in progress, is a great way to make sure you are on the track and can predict concerns from clients in the later stages.
At some particular milestones, set up a time for regular feedback. When you complete a small part of a design gig or a design of your professional logo, get reviews and approval before you present the final design. Or, in the beginning, give them a quick run-through on what changes can be better at what stage and at what costs.
4. Limit the Options
Too many options can create confusion among your reviewers, causing them to become overwhelmed and resort to emotional responses. If you need to, present two to three different options and highlight how they are different and why they will solve the main problem in a distinct way.
5. Give People the Time to Consider and Process the Idea
For many of us, we need time to consider the alternatives and really think through a project. Ask for feedback, but give people a few days to discuss the project and provide thoughtful feedback. Not everyone thrives on spur-of-the-moment brainstorming and problem solving.
6. Show It With Confidence
We have a responsibility to do everything in our power to convince the client that a design is perfect, after all, you’ve applied all your creativity, applied the right colors, positions, logos, fonts, and everything else. If in the end, the client is not happy, means you’ve failed?
In whatever way you submit your design, make sure, in every interaction you present yourself confidently. You need to be confident in your abilities and skills. Because the more confident you are, the less likely the client will push you around on a design decision.
Your logic, your ideas, your opinions—these are all considered as a part of your confidence meter. And when you make a connection with your clients with confidence, you’ll be better able to convince them that the design no longer needs any changes.
7. Ask Why? Keep Asking It Again And Again
Your clients are not design professionals. They don’t always have the language to describe why they don’t like something or why they want something to change. Before you simply start changing colors and making the logo bigger, dig deeper into the feedback. Continue asking “why?” until you can figure out the real reason they provided negative or conflicting feedback.
Ask questions that provides you with enough insights into why the design fails to fit the expectations. Here are a few more questions you’ll need to ask:
a. What type of audience will this design appeal to?
b. Which points did not interest you?
c. Which of the important features are missing?
d. What would you like me to add?
e. What is confusing?
The right questions will encourage them to give you valuable data, else all your efforts will go down the drain.
8. Be Prepared To Justify Your Solutions Well
Suppose your clients want the logo design in a way that you believe is inferior to your ideas, do it anyway. Then present your idea along with how they want it. Make a comparison with justifications and a strong mixture of brand experience, UX logic, audience, and more. Your client will respect your ideas rather than dismissing them. You must be able to clearly communicate why you think one potential solution for a logo design is better than another. Talk in a simple language your client will understand.
You’ll not be listened to if you say “I like this option better” without backing up with strong points. This approach will make your client agree with your preferred solution more often. Gradually, a trust will develop and you can handle your decision making by yourself.
9. Provide multiple opportunities for feedback
Feedback issues can occur when a client feels that a design is completely unlike what they had originally envisioned. Prevent this by implementing points for regular feedback and collaboration. Present and get approval on small sections of the design prior to presenting a final product. This way, the client can claim ownership in the final product, making her feel that her opinions are welcomed and useful. The client will be much more likely to present the work to her boss and secure buy-in when she feels a part of the process.
10. Don’t Take It Personally, Accept It Gracefully
Take feedback with grace and honor. Do not get defensive. If your client is giving you feedback, he is only trying to help you create the best outcome. It’s not personal, it’s just different perspectives, of which, both are valuable. Graciously, without feeling insulted or embarrassed, receive valuable feedback. It is one of the most important ways for you to improve as a graphic designer.
Try to learn and grow from it. Stay open-minded to ideas before you refuse to admit their suggestions. Prefer not to react negatively at every little nitpick, it’s pointing out what can be improved and what should be improved for the best results.