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How to give creative feedback that gets the results you want

Miranda Grigor
Flipside Insights

Here’s the thing about giving creative feedback: it’s tricky. We know this because we do it internally everyday. But when you don’t speak that right-brained language, giving feedback can lead to all kinds of confusion on both sides. So when it comes to making the revisions portion of your next project a little easier, we’ve got five tips, straight from our creative team.

1. Leave the problem-solving to the creatives.

When you’re compiling creative feedback, the most valuable information you can share is not your solution to the problem, but the problem itself.  

Let’s say you find the title on your brochure is getting lost. Rather than asking your designer to make the title bold and orange, it’s much more effective if you simply explain the root problem and followup with a question: “I feel the title needs more prominence. How can we make that happen?" 

With this kind of open creative feedback your designer can try out a variety of solutions (e.g., increasing the font size, moving it elsewhere on the page, or changing the font completely) before landing on the most on-brand, visually appealing type treatment for your brochure title.

2. Refer to the brief.

If you read our post about brief briefs, you know why meaty creative briefs are so very dear to us (if you didn’t read it, go do that now). We rarely start a project without one and that’s for good reason: creative work is subjective and briefs keep us from making willy nilly design decisions. 

A well-written brief outlines project goals, target audience, timeline, and brand musts and must nots, among loads of other valuable information. So when the time comes for your feedback, use the brief—and not your personal affinity for pink—as context for identifying project gaps.

3. Choose one designated feedback giver.

This is especially relevant when it comes to organizations with boards. We get that it’s tough for multiple people to consolidate their feedback. But please, for the love of tacos, do not send your creative team individual bits of feedback from every stakeholder. 

Why? Because we can almost guarantee there will be conflicting opinions and direction. We’ll handle the creative, but it’s imperative that your team get organized with one cohesive changes document. And if you’re struggling with this process—you guessed it—refer to the brief.

4. Resist the urge to rush.

Next-day (or worse, same-day) revisions rarely lead to strong design decisions for two reasons: a) creatives are only human and when rushed, we make mistakes. And b) we all have other clients, other responsibilities, and other deadlines.

Put bluntly, if you want thoughtful, creative brains on your project, you’ve got to allow your team the time and space to do the job properly. 

5. Be nice.

If you’re a Flipside client, you’re probably already really nice. It’s in our mandate, “No jerks”. But we get it, when the project doesn’t come back looking as you’d pictured in your head, it can be frustrating to verbalize your thoughts. Especially when your deadline is looming.  

One easy way to be nice while giving constructive feedback is to talk about what’s working before diving into what’s not working. And when explaining what you don’t like, be sure to back it up with reasons why. Just as we discussed in tip #1, providing context (preferably with reference to the brief) will prevent hurt feelings and lead to a positive discussion for improvement. 

Want to work with us? Introduce yourself!

Miranda Grigor

Miranda has an affinity for thrifting and astrology, a full-blown addiction to felines, and an unquenchable thirst for new design innovations that is both super nerdy and utterly admirable.