How to give constructive feedback

Volodymyr Hryshch | Unsplash

You have in front of you the best chance to get your vision out there, the only thing holding you back is being able to communicate that.

This power you possess, is critical for you as a business and the growth of the freelancer you’ve hired.

I’m speaking from a designer point of view here, but these tips transcend into all other creative industries.

So how do you do give good feedback?

Be explicit

Feedback like ‘I don’t like it’ or ‘make it pop’ aren’t good ways to get what you need out of the designer. Being vague is a sure fire way to end up with something you don’t want.

Ask yourself the questions before you send the feedback

‘I don’t like it’. Ask yourself why you don’t like it, that will help you get a better idea of a direction and will definitely explain more to your designer.

Being in a collaborative frame of mind, rather than a boss / worker mindset actually brings about better comms. You’ve brought someone in to create for your business, lets do that as a team.

Sometimes things aren’t possible

Your designer is there to make your vision come to life, but design has rules, and although bending them is done, breaking them can mean the difference between something unique and a turd on a plate.

A worthwhile designer will question things that don’t feel right, finding the right solution is something they’re trained to do — if you’re not sure on anything they will be only to happy to explain their rationale. 

RELATED: How to commission a graphic designer

Less is more

Keep in mind the designer may not have the knowledge about your business straight off, so keeping the communication simple when you start is important. Using industry jargon may be required in the project but getting to know those terms is something we have to do — keep it simple and allow the designer to learn, as they will be doing with you. 

Unreasonable expectations

Having a design challenge is one of the best things about being a designer, but occasionally over my 6 years I’ve been faced with unrealistic requests; timeframes that just won’t work, a logo that does more than it should, and a brochure that had more words than pages. 

Keep things in perspective — any designer (or any creative professional) worth their salt will let you know what is and isn’t possible. 

Amendments

I started out without a plan in terms of amendments I got after feedback, learning harsh lessons I now have 2 sets built into my terms. This helps you really think about what you need and gives direction to when the amendments will need to come to an end.

Keep things clear, and well thought out — small changes are a pain to do continually — having a set list to work on helps keep things on track. 

Summary

Be clear, ask yourself the questions about why you do or don’t like the way something’s been done and take your time. This part of the process is important to ensure your project gets the best outcome. 


Hello, I’m Nik , I specialise in Marketing & Brand Design for start-ups and small businesses. I also enjoy writing about authenticity, emotional + experience based thoughts and positive outcomes.

Follow me on Twitter and connect on Linkedin.

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