• Alison Price

5 tips for giving graphic design feedback (without squirming)

When you receive the first drafts of your design work back from your Graphic Designer it’s an exciting yet nerve-wracking time. Your Graphic Designer probably feels the same! They have put their hard work and creativity into your project, ensuring everything they present to you meets the brief and keeps your business on-brand. Design is a journey that both client and designer take together, so they need feedback to make sure your project is heading in the right direction.

So how do you give effective, constructive feedback? And how do you explain if something is not quite hitting the mark?

Read on for 5 tips for giving useful feedback to your Graphic Designer, so you’re completely in love with your design work.

1. Trust in the process, and your Graphic Designer

This is probably the most important tip for giving feedback which is why I have put it at the top of this list. Ultimately you have chosen to use a Graphic Designer because they have skills and expertise that you don’t, so it’s a good idea to ask questions and listen to their suggestions. You’ll have researched their business and portfolio so you already like what you see (here’s a great blog to help find your perfect Graphic Designer), so trust that they are working in the best interests of your brand.

It’s important not be tempted to ask for other's opinions on your proofs, and definitely don't post them on social media for comments or decisions. The relationship between you and your designer should be held in confidence and not be open to the opinions of those who haven't been through the briefing process. They are not armed with all the facts, are likely not part of your target audience, and the feedback will simply cloud your judgement. Aside from that it could cause the relationship with your designer to break down if they see you have been showing their unfinished work to the world.

You are their client, they want your authentic viewpoint only. Nothing is set in stone – design is a journey so work together with your designer to achieve your desired result.

2. Give examples to help explain your feedback

It can be tricky to explain what changes you’d like to your artwork especially as there are so many design terms to get to grips with (more about that in this blog). So if you’re really struggling it can be a good idea to show your Graphic Designer some examples of other work you’ve seen to help demonstrate your point. Whilst your designer won’t be copying these (nor should you ask them to), it can be helpful to see a visual of what you had in mind.

Instead of: “This doesn’t look bright and airy to me”

Try: “I’m not sure this design looks bright and airy, here are some examples of what that means to me – could we lean more towards this?”

3. Provide detail

When giving your designer feedback consider whether the words you are saying can be interpreted in different ways. For example, asking your designer to “make it pop” (spoiler alert, we hate this phrase!) can mean 101 different things. Do you mean brighter colours, bolder text, more white space? You can see here how being specific will help.

Instead of: “Make it pop”

Try: “I think a brighter range of colours might appeal to our target market, can we try to incorporate some of those into the next proof?

4. Give context

It’s important to tell your Graphic Designer what the problem is so that they can come up with solutions, rather than just giving them instructions. For example… “Make the logo bigger” doesn’t give your designer any context to the issue. Explain to them why you feel the balance on the artwork might be slightly off and let them work out the solution to this. Yes, making the logo bigger may be one of them, but it certainly won’t be the only change that might solve the problem.

Instead of: “Make the logo bigger”

Try: “I’m not sure that the logo is as prominent as it could be on the artwork, is there anything we can do to make it stand out more?”

5. Focus on the positives

Giving feedback is most effective when it’s constructive. Think about how you like to receive feedback for your own business… would you prefer to be told all the things you’ve done wrong, or be given some encouraging words and be reassured that, with some small changes, you’ll be on the right track?

It’s human nature when asked for an opinion, that we automatically try to find fault with something or feel it needs to be changed. But oftentimes it doesn’t so try not to look for a problem when there may not be one.

And of course, if you like what you've been presented with... please tell your Graphic Designer! We live for those moments so don't be afraid to go overboard... honestly, we creatives love to hear we've got it right. Putting our creativity out there to be judged is both exciting and scary in equal measure. Feedback is what motivates us to evolve, improve and grow.

It's also important to mention that your feedback should be representative of your audience and your brand, not necessarily your personal tastes.

Instead of: “Sorry, I just don’t like it”

Try: “I like the way you have presented the cover, I wonder if that could carry through more to the rest of the artwork?”

In conclusion

In essence if you have followed a robust briefing process with your Graphic Designer (more about that here) then you’re likely not to need too many changes to your design work. But of course if you do, the tips given above are worth bearing in mind.

For further tips regarding all things Branding, Design and Marketing for Pet Businesses, join my email list to be the first in the know:

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