Badly organised feedback loops between marketing teams and designers always increases the amount of time a project takes, inflates costs, demotivates everyone involved and generally results in a piece of work no one is really happy with.

A lot of this is totally avoidable by using a predetermined and structured feedback loop.

The initial brief

Include as much information here as possible. Assume nothing, and specify exactly what you want.

The worst thing you can do is simply hope the designer creates what you have envisioned. Chances are you’ll be disappointed by their inability to read minds.

If you have a clear idea of what you want, let them know before they start.

“We need an arrow!”

OK…

arrows-in-circles

If you only have a general idea or simply just a need for some collateral, and you need their creative input at a more granular level, there are still plenty of ways you can speed up the process. Key information to provide includes:

  • Brand guidelines/ colour schemes and logos (if you are outsourcing)
  • Deadlines – So, so important but often overlooked
  • The target audience
  • The context in which it will be used – magazine, Facebook, website, hand out, exhibition…
  • The purpose of the collateral – what do you want it to achieve?
  • Dimensions
  • File size limit
  • Are there any text ratio limits (like Facebook enforces)?
  • Can it be animated, and if so are there any time/frame restrictions?

If you struggle to articulate exactly what you want, a great way to help get your designer off on the right foot is to provide examples of other work that you like the look of.

Obviously you don’t want a carbon copy, but this acts as a mood board to illustrate your thinking.

How to give good design feedback

Plan ahead

I would recommend creating a feedback schedule in advance that everyone agrees to, and signs off.

Use your launch date/deadline and then work your backwards, pinpointing when each iteration should be ready for feedback.

Gantt

A Gantt chart with each stage broken down by time and responsibility is a great way to do this.

Remember to allocate enough time between each stage for your designer to work on any amends.

Too many cooks…

If there are multiple stakeholders who are giving feedback, make sure one person is given responsibility to gather it all and disseminate.

Additionally, you should all discuss any conflicting opinions and come to a compromise before submitting feedback to the designer.

intercomm

(Taken from intercom.io)

There is nothing worse than having multiple, contradictory opinions to deal with.

Be specific

Again, be specific with what you want changing. Just giving a general sense of “we think it needs to be more striking” is impossible to action.

Awesome-screentshot

Tools such as ‘Awesome screenshot app’ allow you to annotate and draw on images. This cuts down on any misunderstanding of what you are describing you want changing.

Remove subjectivity as much as possible and test

A major problem with design is that everyone has an opinion. Unlike programming code or mechanical engineering, we all have our ideas about how something should look.

There are times when this leads to conflict, and with out someone backing down, it can lead to a compromise design or no design at all.

If there are two opposing opinions on a major component (e.g. the image to use in a website’s home page header), remove personal opinion and test them both with an A/B test. If the disagreement is over something relatively minor, trust your designer, that;s what you pay them for!

Don’t use email to manage design projects

Email is a terrible way to manage feedback on any project. Multiple conversations and versions make version control very difficult.

It can also very easily result in different groups knowing different things as conversations develop.

Slack logo

I would recommend using software such as Trello or Slack. Both of these offer free plans, and all feedback, files, comments and to do lists are all in once place for everyone to see.

 

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