Designer SpeakFuzzy Ink Creative Designer Speak | Four tips for providing specific feedback to designers

A friend recently asked “Do you like to receive specific feedback about your work?”

My first thought was “Is there any other kind?” Then I remembered all of the non-specific markups and feedback that made me feel like a war-time codebreaker working on a particularly tricky cipher.

Therefore, the answer is YES. As well as every other designer out there, I love specific feedback. We heart clear instructions that are a roadmap to your expectations while directing us to what your brand requires.

Even the best job briefs are open to interpretation, while the most checked copy can have errors. Therefore, feedback is an integral part of the process of working with a designer to achieve the outcome that you want. Designers know that your project won’t be ‘once and done’, so they are expecting to receive comments and revisions from you in the form of

  • text corrections or additions
  • font or colour changes
  • image alterations
  • layout restructuring
  • design tweaks

Specific feedback tips

Try these four tips on your next project to save both time and money while building a stronger realtionship with your designer.

Be clear

Tip 1: Avoid vague questions, instead be specific.

Example:
Vague: is this right?
Specific:  is this the correct font/colour/styles? It should be the same as example text on page #

The specific feedback lets the designer know what you want to see. That means you’ll save time as well as money by not going back and forth seeking clarification.

Ask obvious questions

Tip 2: The designer controls the formatting, the author controls the content. Make it clear whether your comment is for the designer or someone else.

Example:
Vague: what does this mean?
Specific: why is the formatting for this paragraph different to what is directly above and below?
Specific: checking these facts, please highlight for now.

The specific feedback doesn’t assume while letting your designer know whether or not the question is for them and what you want.

Be decisive

Tip 3: If offering multiple options for action,  be clear about preference or other deciding factors.

Example:
Vague: Change text to ‘example’ or ‘sample’ or ‘specimen’
Specific: Replace with ‘specimen’ but if that won’t fit, use either ‘example’ or ‘sample’

In this instance, specific feedback lets the designer know your preference, as well as the order and when to use the alternative options.

Explain the problems

Tip 4: Provide detail about what you don’t like as well as why to help the designer understand what steps to take to correct the problem.

Vague: it’s not working for me 
Specific:

  • The grey text on a black background is hard to read on some screens and when printed.
  • The photo in the top left is for the American product. Use any of the attached photos instead, and zoom in on the product.
  • Increase the headline font, maybe 50% bigger?

Communication builds great designs

Being more upfront and direct when providing feedback to your designer will create better products and relationships. Providing specific feedback isn’t telling a designer how to do their job, but communicating your expectations and requirements.

Share your results in the comments or send me DM on Facebook or Instagram.

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Fuzzy Ink Creative Designer Speak | Four tips for providing specific feedback to designers