What’s the best way for clients to provide feedback to design projects?

February 8, 2024

Effective communication and feedback play a pivotal role in the success of graphic design projects. For clients looking to provide constructive and valuable feedback to their designers, adopting a clear and collaborative approach is essential. Firstly, it’s beneficial for clients to establish a detailed and well-defined brief at the project’s onset. Clear project objectives, target audience information and any specific preferences or restrictions should be communicated upfront to ensure alignment from the start as well as any resource material the designer will need to commence.

Keep it short and sweet

During the initial stages of the design process clients should focus on providing feedback that is specific, actionable and tied to the project’s objectives. Rather than using vague language, pinpointing particular elements such as colour choices, typography or layout preferences helps designers understand the client’s vision more precisely. This specificity streamlines the revision process and fosters a more efficient collaboration.

Visual aids

Utilising visual aids can significantly enhance communication. Clients can employ markup tools or annotations directly on the design proofs (most commonly in pdf format) to highlight specific areas of concern or elements they want to be adjusted. This visual feedback minimises misinterpretations and offers a visual reference for designers to understand and implement changes accurately and efficiently.

Get in a feedback loop

Establishing a structured feedback loop is essential for maintaining clarity throughout the design process. Clients should designate a primary point of contact for providing feedback, consolidating input from various stakeholders within the organisation to prevent conflicting messages. Regular check-ins and status updates between the client and designer ensure that the project is progressing in the right direction and allows for adjustments before completion.

Strike a balance

Encouraging a balance between constructive criticism and positive feedback is crucial for fostering a collaborative, motivating and healthy working relationship. Acknowledging what works well in the design provides encouragement to the designer and helps maintain a positive and creative atmosphere. This goes hand in hand with providing succinct feedback to areas of the project that need adjusting.

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Initiating open lines of communication is vital for successful collaboration. Clients and graphic designers should feel comfortable discussing ideas, concerns and potential revisions openly. Maintaining a transparent and communicative relationship helps build trust and ensures that the final design aligns closely with the client’s vision and expectations. Effective feedback is a collaborative effort that involves clear communication, specificity, visual aids, structured feedback loops, constructive comments and open communication channels. Adopting these practices leads to a more efficient and satisfying graphic design collaboration for both clients and designers, which in turn results in a final product that everyone is proud of!

If you’re planning your next graphic design project – whether it be brand identity, styleguide creation, report design, school yearbooks, packaging, website design or your next social media campaign – we’d love to hear from you!