How to Give Feedback for Creative Projects

by | Oct 19, 2016 | Strategy

The first time I had to give feedback for a creative project I commissioned, I was worried about hurting the creative’s feelings.

Yup, that’s the truth. There was money on the table and deliverables that would not only represent but impact my brand, if done in the right way.

Throughout the rounds of drafts, I was more concerned about protecting her feelings than in my investment and vision for my business. So I wasn’t totally honest.

I didn’t speak up and I didn’t share my feedback about why I felt the deliverables weren’t right for the brand.

You can guess what happened. The professional relationship quickly became strained, the outcome was not something I wanted to actually use in my business, and I ended up with a serious case of brand confusion. That I paid for.

No one was happy and it was a waste of both my money and the creative’s talent and time.

Since then, I’ve learned my lesson—not to mention been on the receiving end of hundreds of clients providing their feedback for my branding services.

Giving feedback is not an intuitive act. It’s a skill just like any other, one that you can learn with practice.

Today I’m giving you my insider tips on how to give awesome feedback so that your next creative project for your business goes smoothly—and you get an amazing end result that aligns with your business goals!

Give it Breathing Room

The first time we view a manifestation of our business dreams in the form of a creative deliverable is incredibly exciting—and nerve wracking.

Suddenly pixels on a screen or sentences on a page are supposed to represent the hours of heart and head time you’ve been giving over to this business.

This is not to say that first impressions are not to be trusted. Your intuition is still an incredible source of wisdom.

View the deliverable and then take a walk. Or shower or bath. Do the dishes. Go to an exercise class.

Give it at least 24 hours (and hopefully more like 48 or 72) to percolate around in your brain. Jot down your thoughts during that time in your favorite note-taking app or notebook of choice.

And remember to speak up. You’re not going to hurt your creative’s feelings by giving feedback (as long as it’s not personal or mean spirited), because it’s their job to make changes based on your feedback. Just make sure you give it to them right away (as opposed to weeks or months later when it’s too late to turn back).

Don’t Worry About Figuring Out the “Solution”

Once you’ve given it breathing space, it’s time to put together your feedback for your contractor.

Specificity is what will take you from the first round to a second round that totally nails it.

For example, instead of saying, “This doesn’t feel right,” you can say, “I’d like to switch that green colour from pastel to something with more contrast in alignment with my brand.”

Instead of sharing, “I want this to pop,” you can share, “This specific color/font/illustration is too soft and I’d like something more bold.”

Get curious about why something is not working for you and be as specific as possible as to why.

Also, don’t worry about figuring out the “solution” to fix something that isn’t working for you. That’s the job of the professional you hired.

You simply need to identify the “problem” and let your pro creative partner figure out the “how.”

It’s also really helpful to note what you DO love or what is really working for your brand in a design. That way your creative knows what is working and can use that as a creative datum point for revisions

Remember Who It’s For

Your website and marketing materials are not for you. They’re for your audience.

It’s super easy to evaluate creative work based on YOUR personal preferences.

Don’t forget who your marketing assets are for. Evaluate the creative deliverable based on how your Most Valued Customer would react, not you.

Filter your feedback and suggestions—along with any other third party’s feedback and suggestions—through that lens before sharing them with your creative partner.

Bookmark this post now for the next time you work with a pro on a creative project—‘cause if you’re anything like my clients you have brilliant business ideas on the regular—so you can give feedback that supports the creative process and gets you the best possible outcome for your business!

If you’ve got one of those brilliant business ideas that you’d like help bringing to life or if your current digital home just isn’t representative of your brilliance, my Signature Design Service is perfect for you. Get all the details right here.

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