how to give good design feedback (even if you’re not loving the design)

Written by Marin Hudson

May 29, 2023

Marin is a community-minded designer who finds joy in all things creative, and in connecting and supporting others. From designing an annual report to crafting the perfect pizza, she thrives in collaborating with a team to make ideas come to life.

Feedback is essential to reaching a fantastic design. The trick? It’s crucial that design feedback is shared in a collaborative, constructive manner to maintain respect and enthusiasm for the project from start to finish.

As the client, you want to ensure the designer has the information they need to create something fantastic, while also trusting their expertise. As the designer, you want to really listen to your client and then take that information, paired with your experience and talent, to create a design that builds a strong connection between the client and their audience.

4 tips to giving great design feedback:

  1. Put your audience first

Creative projects should be driven by research and always keeping your audience front of mind. When providing design feedback, it’s easy to share personal thoughts, feelings, and preferences rather than prioritizing who the design or messaging is for. 

To ensure you’re giving constructive design feedback, take a step back and reflect on who the audience for the design is and consider whether they would feel connected to the design. Does it speak to them? Will they feel compelled to take action? Once you’ve done that, you can consider any personal thoughts if they feel beneficial to include.

  1. Unsure about something? Ask!

If you’re not sure why your designer has made a creative decision or whether your feedback is required, just ask! Your designer will always be happy to clarify along the way or further elaborate on their creative direction. By asking questions, you strengthen the connection between yourself and the designer and ensure you’re all on the same page. This also reduces confusion and potential disconnect, so it’s always worth asking.

  1. Make your feedback actionable

It can be easy to think of feedback as an immediate reaction to something, but a reaction doesn’t always tell a designer what you’d like to see. When giving design feedback, always think about what you want the designer to do with that feedback.

Instead of “I don’t like this colour”, try “This colour feels a bit clinical to me; can we try something softer?”

Rather than “This is on the wrong page”, try “I think this would work better on page X”

Shifting your design feedback to be solutions-driven leaves your designer with actionable next steps so they can get started on making the design more in-line with your vision instead of coming back to you with clarifying questions. It’s a win-win!

  1. Be kind

This might be the most important rule of all!

If your designer took on your project, you know they want to work with you. Designers are human beings and creating design work can feel really personal — we pour our hearts into our work to help your vision come to life. Always remember that on the other side of the screen, a kind human is reading your words. 

We need your honest feedback to make the design as strong as possible, but please be kind when providing feedback to ensure the project remains respectful and your designer feels valued.

Respectful collaborations are our jam. If reading this blog felt like a big “yes!”, chances are we’d love working together. Scroll down to tell us how we might support your next project!

Kitestring is a Hamilton-based design and marketing agency specializing in branding, marketing and campaign strategy, and annual report design. Whether you’re a socially-conscious organization, non-profit, or community-led business, we’ll take on your marketing so you can focus on your top priorities.

Written by Marin Hudson

May 29, 2023

Marin is a community-minded designer who finds joy in all things creative, and in connecting and supporting others. From designing an annual report to crafting the perfect pizza, she thrives in collaborating with a team to make ideas come to life.

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