When it Comes to Design Feedback – More is Usually Better

Over the years, one of the most common issues I’ve run into during design projects is lack of feedback. As far as I know, professional graphic designers aren’t known to be overly sensitive creatures, so I’m often puzzled by clients who want to go out of their way to spare my feelings. It may seem harsh, but any designer who can’t handle constructive criticism is probably in the wrong field. I think I speak for the majority of us when I say, “we just want to help you!” and the easiest way for us to do that is for you, as our client to tell us what you like and don’t like.

If you were building a house, odds are you wouldn’t wait until the walls were painted and the shutters hung to let the builder know you were unsatisfied. While each step in the process of design may not be as permanent as laying bricks for a house or hanging drywall, it can be detrimental to the design to withhold feedback. The only way for a project to be truly successful is for the client and designer to both be on the same page about the style and end result of the design.

Regardless of whether a client’s input is positive or negative, we need it in order to ensure the project is heading down the right path. I try to let my clients know right off the bat that I’m open to all feedback, and the more specific they are, the more refined the design will be. Especially in the beginning of the project, if I send a client six logo concepts and they really dislike two of them, great! That lets me know what not to do for the next round. If they can give specific reasons why they don’t feel those options were right for their company, even better!

These things truly don’t hurt my feelings. I give my clients choices I’m happy with, and sure I usually have a couple favorites, but if you tell me those aren’t right for your business then I will always trust you on that. I don’t get too attached to design concepts I do for clients, because at the end of the day, you know your business and your customers better than I do.

Sometimes, especially for clients who haven’t worked with a designer before, it can be uncomfortable to criticize a designer’s work. You should never hold back though. As long as your feedback is constructive criticism, and not “ew I hate this,” (a true story, for another day), your designer will welcome the input.

If it makes you feel better, think of it like this: Graphic designers who are good at their job didn’t get that way by always designing exactly what they wanted, in their own style. They were given parameters and guidelines, and become better at their jobs by working within limitations and incorporating feedback.