Let’s talk about design feedback.
We’ve had clients share that they feel uncomfortable giving feedback, because they don’t want to misarticulate their point or hurt any feelings. And while we would love for all our clients to tell us we nailed a brand design brief and that no revisions are needed, we know that feedback and refinements are simply part of the design process! After all, both the designer and the client want to get the final product to a place they are wholeheartedly proud of.
That being said, there are a few characteristics we tell our clients their feedback should have for as streamlined and effective of a revisions process as possible. In essence, design feedback should be:
When providing feedback to a designer, keep your notes as clear and descriptive as possible. For example, instead of saying “I don’t like the font selected,” say something more specific, like “I like the font style selected, but find it to be too delicate – can we try something bolder?” If you are struggling to articulate what you do or don’t like about a design, try thinking it over for a little longer, searching for visual examples that are more in line with what you’re looking for, or seeing if your designer would be willing to talk through your feedback over a call.
Consolidating your feedback is critical to not only keep a project streamlined, but possibly also prevent the incurrence of additional fees. Many designers, ourselves included, provide a fixed number of revision rounds in each design engagement we take on. When feedback is piecemealed, it can create confusion between the client and designer, and often results in a disjointed work product, or even having to execute (and bill for) more revision rounds than accounted for within the project scope.
Though it can be a challenge for some, clients should keep their design feedback as honest and direct as possible. As designers, hearing subjective feedback (both positive and negative) is an inevitable and expected part of our jobs. Not only are designers used to hearing it, but they also understand that the feedback and revisions process is a constructive way to get the final design to a place the client is authentically happy about… which is the ultimate goal!
While candor is encouraged between client and designer from the onset to the conclusion of a design project, communication must remain professional and respectful. Remember that your designer wants you to be satisfied with their work, and that even if you find yourself frustrated, feedback and tone should remain neutral and specific to the project at hand and never aggressive or personal. Bear in mind that some designers have parameters in their contracts about this subject, and could terminate your contract (and retain your investment and rights to the work) if they feel you are being disrespectful.
Furthermore, a client should be respectful of the project timeline, and turn around revision requests within the agreed-upon feedback window to avoid impacting other client projects.
Lastly, design feedback should be thoughtful. Some clients might immediately recognize what they want to keep or change in a design draft, but it’s important to not react immediately. Design projects can be incredibly impactful for businesses, so be sure you’ve taken the time you need to review and collect your thoughts, have run the design by necessary stakeholders, and have clarity on the strategy and thought process behind different design decisions.
In summary, remember: while designers are the experts in creative strategy and design execution, clients are the experts of their own businesses and visions for their brand identities. Because of this, the design process (by nature) should be collaborative and honest feedback should be encouraged. If any modifications are needed on a brand identity design, don’t be afraid to make it known, so long as you are direct and thorough with your feedback and respectful of the designer and agreed-upon scope of work!