This design is the product of a good client-designer relationship

Pop goes the corn, cork, gum, weasel … and graphic design?

As professional designers, we’re used to having our creations critiqued. This doesn’t upset us. We look at feedback as part of the creative collaboration with our clients, and the sign of a good client-designer relationship.

Client questions and comments – good or bad – help us to define the path forward, avoid dead ends and take the shortest route to a successful final product.

Much more difficult for us than a critical client is a client whose feedback consists of “I don’t like it.” Thumbs down on the whole shebang. Period. End of discussion.

Equally difficult is blanket criticism in broad clichés, such as: “Make it more creative,” or “Take it to the next level” or the ever-popular “It needs to POP!”

Next time a designer asks: “What do you think?” follow these tips for a more productive conversation, which will help build a stronger client-designer relationship.

DON’T be shy. Feedback is not taken personally. The designer wants and needs your honest opinion to refine the design in a way that will please you. Don’t struggle for the right words, just spit it out.

DO be specific. Try to figure out which element of the design is missing the mark. Is it the colors? The font? Too much X, not enough Y? A comment like “It’s not what I was looking for” is too vague to be helpful. A comment like “The type is too big, the colors are too bright” gives the designer something to work with.

DO express feelings. If you are having trouble with specifics, tell the designer the feeling you get from the design, as well as the feeling you would rather get. For example: “It feels heavy; I want it to feel lighter” or “It feels too serious; I want it to feel more playful.”

DO focus on the goal. Before the designer began, he or she probably asked you about your company, the offer, the audience and the goal to be achieved. When giving feedback, explain how the design does or doesn’t suit the company, relate to the offer or the audience, or achieve the desired goal. It is better to over explain than not explain enough.

Need help with design for print or web? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].

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