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Design feedback, from a designer

“Add a little more design”
“Make this a bit more fun”
“Make it sizzle”
“Make it pop”

When it comes to design feedback, I’ve heard these words and phrases more times in my career than I can count. Clients say them, account people say them, and whether they admit it or not, sometimes even designers say them. But they are stand-in phrases for the times we can’t quite verbalize what it is we really want, especially when it comes to providing design feedback.

What is the right way to provide design feedback?

As designers, everything we do is aimed at creating the right creative for our client’s audience. In order to get there, we need to collaborate with our clients. Which means we need to understand one another. Unfortunately a lot of the design feedback we hear leaves a little too much room for misinterpretation. Let’s take a closer look at some of this feedback from a designer’s perspective and see how we can tweak it to get a better creative output.

“Add a little more design”

Perhaps you just want to see more of what’s already happening. Great! Let’s talk about what’s currently working and how we can bring even more of it into the next round. It’s this kind of meaningful feedback that pushes good creative even further.

Rather than saying “Add a little more design,” try this instead:
“It’s heading in the right the direction, let’s keep pushing on this style.”

“Make this a bit more fun”

This is a great starting point, but ‘fun” on it’s own could lead down a variety of paths. It could be lighthearted, whimsical, amusing, irreverent, or even adventurous. Try pairing “fun” with one of these words. In this case, two really is better than one.

Rather than saying “Make this a bit more fun,” try this instead:
“It needs to convey a sense of fun and [adventure]”

“Make it sizzle”

The biggest problem with this phrase is its ambiguity. Sounds like something is missing. But what is it? Rather than focusing on the solution, let’s go back to the goal. How do you want you’re audience to feel when they first lay eyes on this piece?

Rather than saying “ Make it sizzle,” try this instead:
“I want to grab their attention and fill them with hope and excitement.”

“Make it pop”

It’s entirely reasonable that a certain design element may need a little more attention, a color tweak, or a size adjustment. But there’s a problem when an entire layout needs to “pop.” It can’t. The concept of design hierarchy dictates that something must lead. Help us figure out what that element is. Create a prioritized list of content, if you haven’t already, and use that to frame up the conversation.

Rather than saying “ Make it pop,” try this instead:
“It’s crucial our audience understands this [key element]. I want [this key element] to be the next thing people see after the headline.”

The ultimate design feedback

By now, I’m sure you’re sensing a trend. When it comes to design feedback, put it out there. Get specific. Frame the conversation from the point of view of your audience. Refer to your goals. If you have a specific request, say it. Seen something you like? Share it. Have a mood in mind? Use as many words as it takes to get there. And if you have trouble communicating with your current creative partner – Give us a call.