Building a beautiful design for a website, brand, or marketing materials involves collaboration, but businesses and designers are bound to have different perspectives at some point. The key to creating strong design is to keep the lines of communication open, and look at how you can make it work together.
In an Ideal World…
How would it look if your experience with a designer were perfect, from your first meeting to the final results? Chances are it would be:
- Communicative: Both parties would have the opportunity to bounce ideas back and forth, decide on a cohesive vision, and the perfect design would be created in the end.
- Transparent/Clear: The goal of any design is to create something usable, functional, and appealing. Setting the proper expectations, determining the brand voice, and understanding your audience are important keys to this process.
When Something Goes Wrong: Giving Honest, Constructive Feedback
If you hire a designer and the results are less than inspiring, what do you do? Honest feedback and constructive criticism are essential tools in business and often lead to a better outcome. Here are a few tactics you can use to give constructive feedback to your designer:
- Point out the positive while interjecting the negative. Sometimes it’s helpful for someone to see what they’re doing right, or the parts of a design that you like, so they can focus on creating the vision based on those aspects. If you only focus on the negative, it can feel overwhelming and confusing to your designer. Leading with the positive will help them understand the direction you want to take.
- Give feedback in person, or by phone. E-mail is quick, easy, and convenient. However, it also loses things in translation. Nuances in our voice and body language help to share the perspective, but e-mails can come across as harsh, impersonal, or simply be misinterpreted.
- Ask questions. Learning about a person’s mindset or decision-making process can give you more insight. Use that to build better relationships, which lead to a better design. Note that it’s crucial to really listen to what someone is saying. They might even have some helpful feedback for you.
- Get to the root of the problem. Instead of venting and saying you don’t like something, try explaining what doesn’t work for you or why you don’t like it. Be specific. That will help the designer know what to avoid in the future.
If you go into your first session with a designer armed with the right tools, it will go a long way to making the process smoother. Designers are looking for a few things from clients. Probably the most important thing is for you to know what you want. Have ideas, examples, and a goal of what you like and what you don’t like in mind. Be nice, respectful, and constructive with your feedback—and be willing to try something new before throwing it out the window.
Businesses and designers have the same end goal—and building a good relationship will help you achieve it.