how to provide design feedback

Design Feedback: How To Provide Design Critique, An Ultimate Guide

A major part of the designer-client relationship depends on the feedback: the ability to take it, but also the ability to provide it. Unfortunately, not many clients nowadays are willing to dedicate a few minutes to learn how to provide design feedback properly. In such a way, the full responsibility of the project is laid upon the designer’s shoulders.

If you are interested in cooperating with graphic designers, use this article to learn the best way to provide design feedback: so that your designer wouldn’t want to kill you, and you both get the best out of the project you work on together.

If you’re on the receiving end of the design feedback, you may wanna try to post this article somewhere your client has a chance to see. Let’s roll it!

Why providing adequate design feedback is important?

For maintaining awesome relationships.

Designers are often rather sensitive to feedback, and it’s understandably so: they pour their creativity into their projects, it’s hard to hear that clients don’t like the end result. However, providing design critique that is constructive is important for designer’s growth, and they know and appreciate that. So, if you’d like to maintain good relationships with your designers, you need to know the line between constructive criticism and badly worded feedback.

For effective results.

If a designer feels that they are not appreciated and treated like unprofessional, they will lose all will to go out of their way. In your feedback, you definitely don’t want to undervalue your graphic designer. Phrases like ‘I thought you were a pro’, won’t help the deal, rather make things worse.

What you should know in order to provide good design feedback

Double-check the scope of work.

If you receive a prototype and it just doesn’t seem like the thing you imagined, don’t rush into making edits and sorting out the relationships with your designers. Go double-check the task you gave them. Is it clear enough? Have you described the vision well enough? Are your references clear enough?

Upon sending the brief to your designer, a good idea would be to have a call and go over it together, just to make sure both you and the designer understand things correctly.

I don’t like it is not a point

If you don’t like the result it doesn’t mean everybody in the target audience will think that way. I don’t like it won’t tell anything to the designer too. You have to start being more specific with your feedback if you want better results.

It’s understandable that you may not know what exactly seems wrong if you have no experience in graphic design. Here are some of the hooks you can look for:

Shapes: do the shapes work together well? Do they portray the image well?

Colors: are the colors saturated enough? Do they blend well together? Is there needed contrast?

Composition: is the eye drawn to the needed message?

Fonts & text: font colors, font spacing, sizing.

Context: will the audience understand what we’re rooting for, or our message from the design?

Be patient and polite

If the results don’t meet your expectations, it’s not the reason for disrespect. Communicate your edits in a polite way, don’t call names, or question the designer’s professionalism. 

Don’t shy away from talking tete-a-tete

If you spot a clear misunderstanding, or you’d like to communicate a large edit, try calling. Yes, in the 21st-century people are used to texting. But sometimes a wall of text can be very confusing, and a personal conversation can quickly sort things out.

Make sure everyone who’s offering edits are on the same page

Sometimes there are multiple people a visual has to be confirmed by. They offer their edits, one by one, often contradicting each other. Whom to believe? Which edits to make? Confusing, right? This can not only sabotage the visual but also stretch the time a designer works on it. Make sure every edit is agreed upon, before sending it to the designer.

Ask questions about certain decisions

Something people don’t view questions as an important part of the design critique. Our advice would be to ask questions before you jump into offering edits. Here are some of the things you can ask about:

What is the reason you placed this here?

Why have you used this color here?

Is there a reason you placed this button here?

Believe us, in design, nothing is done out of the blue. There is always a reason. Listen to the designer first, then decide if anything should be changed.

Don’t just point out things that are bad

If you only talk about bad things, a designer’s confidence as a professional can shake. In order to not sound picky or arrogant, here’s a little design critique template you can use:

I really like ______, and ____, and _____. I feed like you captured _________very well. I just have one questions, why have you used _________? Is there a chance we could do things differently, or is it strategic?

Provide your brand book

Brand books are made with an aim to keep consistency in every branding element. IF you want the designer to understand your brand, and channel exactly what you want them to channel, make sure you send them your brand guidelines first, before even starting the work.

If you still don’t have a brand book, why don’t you use Gingersauce to create one? It’s not a brand book generator, that will spew a generic brand book with no personality to it. Created by designers, Gingersauce is a professional tool for creating brand books. Every template is meticulously designed, every text is strategically placed. To use the platform you only have to have your logo at hand. 

Try Gingersauce now.

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