By: Maggie Call

How to Give Feedback to Graphic Designers

October 31, 2018 3 minutes

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Talking about design, and giving feedback can be difficult. Sometimes it feels as though there’s a whole language you don’t know how to speak. And when you can’t find the words, it’s a challenge to get anything done the way you envisioned it in the first place. Here are a few pointers to help you communicate better with your designer so you can both end up in a place you’re proud of.

When to give feedback

There’s nothing more frustrating for graphic designers than finishing a project and being notified of an issue that could have been addressed (and fixed) in the early stages. If you have concerns or feedback about something, voice them early and as they arise. Waiting until the end of a project to address the issue only makes things worse. Most often, it creates a domino effect of other changes that now must be made.

How to give feedback

Don’t be afraid to give a free and honest critique. Graphic designers expect opinions, and yours are valid. Everything should be up for discussion. Remember, you know your brand/company/product the best. Your designer needs your voice on that front. While some feedback may seem obvious to you, it may not be obvious to your designer. Be sure to share your concerns. If you don’t tell your designer you think something needs to be revised, they won’t know there’s a issue. And when words are hard to find, gather examples. Show your designer what you like and/or what you don’t like. This will help carve a more guided path for the designer to take.  

What feedback to give

When it comes to graphic design, there are 5 main principles your feedback should live under.

5 Main Principles of Graphic Design Feedback

  1. Color
  2. Fonts
  3. Images
  4. Layout
  5. Overall Aesthetic

When you give feedback, be specific to one of those principles. Instead of saying, “Make it pop.” Say, “I’d like to see brighter colors.” The field of interpretation to “make it pop” opens up a sea of possible solutions. But by being specific, the graphic designer can then ask more clarifying questions. Do you like the current color combination? Do you want brighter hues of what we have, or new colors? This will help pinpoint the root of the issue.

Give the “why” of your feedback.

Poor: “Make it pop.”

Good: “I’d like to see brighter colors.”

Best: “I’d like to see brighter colors because it’ll show up more prominently. It also relates to our youthful audience.”

Telling your “why” helps the designer see from your perspective beyond your feelings or emotions (“I think” and “I feel” statements). Giving specific feedback is helpful, but explaining the “why” can really visualize your thought process. Opinions (“I think” and “I feel” statements) hold weight, but “why” statements can reveal more substantial underlying points worth talking about.

Listen to your graphic designer

Design is subjective. While you may feel strongly one way about a design, your designer may feel the opposite way. State your case. This means you’re giving specific feedback and following your feedback with the “why” behind it. After you state your case, be sure to ask and listen for your designer’s reasoning. Design is full of decisions that you may not be aware of. Find out what the designer insists is necessary to the project, then compromise on what can be changed.

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Written by Maggie Call on October 31, 2018

Maggie is a Senior Designer at 97th Floor, developing content for print and web by creating infographics, websites, and interactives.

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