What to do when you don’t like a design

Giving feedback on creative work


How to give feedback on design work

There’s a reason words like ‘journey’ and ‘process’ are often used in conjunction with the word ‘creative’. Getting from the first version of a piece of design work to the final, signed off piece of creative generally takes a number of steps. Sometimes these steps just involve a series of tweaks, but sometimes more drastic change is required.

So what’s the best way of getting from A to B? Particularly if you’re not all that happy with where you are at A?

This is where you find out what people really mean when it comes to ‘communication’ and ‘collaboration’.

If you find yourself disliking something and knowing why you dislike it – great! There’s now two routes you can go down:

  1. You can share your thoughts and give your designer something concrete to work with to get to a solid end result.
  2. You can share your concerns but also ask why, why your designer has gone down the road that they have.

Option 1 will generally yield a good, useable result, sometimes in a shorter timeframe. Option 2 meanwhile has the potential to lead to a better result than expected, sometimes it might take more steps, but not always. By being open and being prepared to be challenged, to understanding the reasoning behind a design a whole new creative route might be uncovered, one that has the power to surprise in ways you couldn’t have foreseen.

Regardless of the route you choose, clarity is crucial.

Design is incredibly personal, both for the person producing it but also for the person receiving it. You, as the client and the one receiving it, are likely to have strong opinions on the work, particularly if it’s in the development of something new. And that’s ok, it’s good in fact.

When you see your idea brought to life it can feel like graphic designers have telepathic skills, sadly (but perhaps for the best) they don’t. So while it might feel awkward to share your thoughts on a piece of creative, if you don’t think it’s working for you it’s vital that you do. Without something to work with moving onto the next stage can feel like playing a game without all the pieces, or building furniture without the instructions.

What do you do though if you don’t like something, but don’t know why?

First off, this isn’t a problem, so long as you say. It’s your designer’s job after all to translate your instinct into something that can be worked with. So don’t worry if your feedback feels nebulous, it’s a starting point, not the end of the conversation.

Again, this is where a good team will respond by asking questions to try and establish why the work is making you feel what it does. This can also be an excellent time to go back to the start, to look at pieces of work you do like and start discussing the specifics.

To prevent blocks at this stage we try and lay the groundwork for a collaborative working partnership early on. We invest time at the beginning of every project in getting to know you, if we don’t already, and in getting to know the project – what you want to achieve, why, who’s the audience and what are they like etc.

The principal reason for this is to make the giving of feedback easy as it’s feedback which makes sure we both win. Our intention at the start of a project is to build a solid relationship, one founded on trust so communication and collaboration between our teams feels natural and comfortable, not awkward and uncomfortable. Achieving this makes the process of achieving great things together one that’s altogether more fun and more certain.

Get in touch today to test us out!