How to give feedback to a designer

Delilah aims to serve startups and small business owners, and sometimes our clients have had little experience of assessing design, or working with a designer. You might not be sure how to give feedback to a designer without risking the relationship, or be unsure to ask for the changes you need. Here are our top tips for giving feedback to a designer!

Read through your brand assignment homework before looking at the designs
This will help refresh your memory on all the information you provided to us, and set your business goals as top of mind. We’ve found if you go straight into looking at designs from another task, or while on your phone while out and about, you will bring some stress and distraction with you, and it’s best to look at design options with clarity and purpose.

Sit down and take the time to look through the designs without feeling the need to respond
Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and sit down and relax in front of the presentation deck. Let yourself look through the design options without feeling the pressure to provide feedback or make judgments. We know our clients are choosing us for our super-human speed, but some decisions shouldn’t be rushed. Ideally, we’ll talk you through the design options either in person or via Skype, providing explanations of why we’ve made the decisions we have.

Give yourself an hour (or sleep on it!) and look at the designs again with a fresh eye
On a second look-through, you might notice elements you’ve missed about the options, and you’ll move past your “gut feel” stage to start making critical judgments. It’s often the case that the one you loved initially will remain the winner, but sometimes things can change and you want to make sure you’re making a strategic not gut feel decision.

You’re not going to hurt our feelings – we’re professionals
Our designs are not our babies – they’re attempt to express in visual terms, the story of YOUR brand. If you feel like an option doesn’t connect for you, let’s trash it. You won’t like everything we do, and that’s why we always provide 5-8 very different directions as part of our initial exploration. The design process can and should be iterative. 

Be mindful about soliciting outside feedback
As the business owner, you own the decision about your branding. It’s the soul of your business, and while asking your wife/husband/next door neighbor can be helpful when trying to make a decision, also know that they will bring their personal perspective and preferences to the mix, and might not have all the information in hand which you provided to us as part of the Brand Strategy Assignment. If you decide to share the designs we create with others for their feedback, maintain some emotional separation from their responses, and make sure you place your opinion at the top of the pile.

Try to keep your personal likes and dislikes separate from your business strategy
Designers are always banging on about this one, maybe too much, but it’s always important to mention. The purpose of design is to solve problems, and when you brief us to create you’re branding, the “problem” we’re trying to solve is how best to visually express your brand’s essence. We will ask you a little bit about your personal preferences in our Branding Homework, but you should try as much as possible to separate out what you like, and ask yourself instead, “Is this right for my business?” or, “What does this say about my business?”

It’s best to make feedback goal-oriented, not prescriptive
When giving feedback about design, it’s helpful for us if you express the goal of the changes you’d like us to make. For example, “I love Option 02 but I’d like it to feel a little more joyful/playful/serious/formal”. As opposed to, “Please make the green colour on 02 darker”. With goal-oriented feedback, we can bring in our experience and expertise to introduce new ideas that might be exciting. With prescriptive feedback, we can only directly execute on your instructions, and this can limit how helpful we can be to you.

Be confident in your decisions
You came to us because you want to level up your business and are ready to take action. Once you know you’re leaning strongly in a certain direction, be confident to go ahead and make a decision. A logo or brand look isn’t like a tattoo, permanent and forever – it’s supposed to evolve and grow with your business. So don’t worry and agonize too much about making the call to pursue a direction.

We hope these tips are helpful! If you have any questions about our process or working with Delilah, you can always fill in our contact form or drop us an email at hello@delilahcreative.com.