How do you give good feedback on someone else’s work? What do you say? How should you say it?
Maybe their design doesn’t quite solve your problem. Maybe it’s the way the message is presented or the lack of a specific message. Maybe you’re not sure what it is, but something feels off.
We’ve all been there. Giving feedback can feel daunting, scary, or even unnecessary. You may think “I am not a professional or a creative, so I don’t know what looks good.”
Good news: Helpful feedback doesn’t require deep knowledge in a creative’s practices, or knowing all the artistic terms. We don’t expect either of those from you. [Sigh of relief].
What we need is a sense of direction toward a solution. What message are you trying to tell your audience? What’s the response you hope to see from them? You might not know how to get your project there, but you probably know where you want to be.
Your feedback is critical to moving your project in the right direction. Why? Because no one knows your message or call to action better than you. In the end, we want you to be pleased with what we’ve made and feel that it’s the best solution, given the constraints and goals you have. Your input is crucial to getting us both there together.
Giving good feedback is collaboration. It is where both parties put in the work to solve a problem together with the assistance of creative tools. No one is above or below the other, but there is mutuality.
Steps Towards Partnering for a Creative Solution:
An example would be helpful here.
If you say “I don’t like your choice of text size, it is too small for me.” it’s not feedback on the text alone, it’s also a criticism of their choice. A better way to say the same thing would be “Having the text all the same size doesn’t allow the title to stand out.” or even “This section of text feels a little small to me.”
It might feel like a small change to you, but tuning your language to critique the work while honoring your partnership makes for a better relationship.
In the end, remember that we all want the same thing; to produce something that addresses the need with excellence. Like all relationships, grace and truth are needed for a healthy, productive partnership. As trust and good communications patterns are built, feedback will improve and help us get where we want to be.