03 July 2015 - Jamie Geoghegan

How to give good feedback to your creative agency

Advice on how to give solid constructive feedback in order to get results and build a strong relationship with your agency.

Giving feedback is clearly an important part of any client/agency relationship. And with any project, the process and steps involved from planning to creative to delivery.

But very often people can assume that the feedback process begins towards the end of the project cycle, when in fact, it is an important part of each step of the process.

We always involve and collaborate with our clients at every step if the process, in order to have a clear, smooth delivery and to get the best possible outcome.

Here are some essential tips to help with giving good feedback.

Clarity

Start with a clear brief! A no-brainer it may seem but it’s important to be clear about a project’s objectives; business goals, visuals, and functionality. If you don’t know what you want, we probably won’t be able to figure it out for you.

If your brief has clear outcomes for delivery: for example – understanding your target audience or a good offer – that’s a good starting point and builds a solid reference point for creative feedback. Read Dave’s post on the subject here.

Be interested

We want to build relationships that have trust, a mutual love for the project, respect for timings and possibly have a few laughs along the way.

The best feedback we get is from people who care. If you lack interest, it will send a ‘not bothered’ message to the designer which can understandably rub off on him/her also. There are lots of things you can learn from the designer so embrace this part of the process.

Be constructive

Saying ‘I don’t like it’ is unhelpful. Instead, give reasons why you don’t like something and how you would like it to be different. A good designer will welcome constructive feedback.

Don’t give feedback for feedback’s sake. It’s tempting to feel like you have to say something to your designer, but unless it’s constructive then it can cause harm to the design.

Don’t be vague. Be specific about what you would like to see changed on draft artwork. Avoid ambiguous phrases like ‘make it pop’, ‘why isn’t the logo bigger?’ etc. You can check out other real-life and hilarious examples here Oatmeal – Design Hell.

Process / Tools

Just as important as giving feedback, is taking your designer’s feedback. They want to create something special for you so you should consult with them on the best approach and understand that while you know your business, they know web design and UX. If you find a designer who stands up and justifies their ideas, you have found a great designer.

Having a discussions face to face or over the phone is far more constructive than sending comments back and forth through email. However tools like InVision makes it really easy to create a process that encourages problem solving and collaborative feedback. We use it all the time: it’s a pure pleasure to use and our clients love it!

Too many cooks

Avoid ‘design by committee’ at all costs. It’s a recipe for disaster. The end result shouldn’t please everyone so don’t mass mail everyone in the company, their family members and friends in order to make a more informed decision.

Carefully hand pick 2 or 3 people to share design iterations with but appoint one gatekeeper, who has ownership of the project and can make the final call. Approvals on design should be made throughout the journey. There is nothing more frustrating than getting multiple conflicting comments from different members of a team on a project.

In the event of conflicting views on your side, call on your designer’s expertise. Their opinion as an outsider can make them extremely valuable.

It’s not difficult to give good feedback.

Remember to be involved at every step of the process, give constructive communication and, of course, always respect your designer’s expertise!

Doing so will result in a successful outcome and happy faces. 🙂