Who says giving feedback has to be hard?
In this blog, I am using the word “Artist” as an umbrella term. Because when we talk about design, the Artist can be a scriptwriter, illustrator, graphic designer, animator. But their experiences are all very similar 😛
You work in an animation studio, you do motion graphics video, you may be a street painter or you may work in a kitchen, doesn’t matter. All are creative, all are Artists!!!! This blog is applicable to all. 🙂 🙂
Feedback is an organic part of any creative process. So it obviously applies to design too!
Clients vs Artists communication is always seen as the Clash of Titans!
Both communicate in the same language but at the end of every session, there is never a 100% clarity on either end. Strange, isn’t it? But it is a universally accepted fact.
The main reason is the difference in understanding the process!
Before we start writing about the feedback, let’s take a moment to mention some parameters, that kill time during designing.
The TRUST between the Client and the Artist can provide a super boost to any project, and trust can be built if each party understands each other’s Roles & Processes well and executes it accordingly. Of course, it is the Artist’s duty to understand the Client’s objectives and requirements in this process. The quality and the quantity of the feedback will definitely change if the trust is built between the Client and the Artist, trust me 😛
TIME is another most important parameter. Every creative/design/video is a baby, so it takes a specific time to evolve and take its form. It would be great if the 11th-hour requirements are avoided. The last-minute requirements often affect the design and it makes the design lose its charm and quality. If a client has more than one requirement at the time, the client should give the priority for the creative requirements. Switching between the 2 tasks also affects the design and creative. This is intangible but true!
Now let’s Kickstart – F-E-E-D-B-A-C-K
How do you give constructive feedback effectively?
Feedback is received
- With reference to the Brief/Questionnaire
- With reference to the design Work In Progress
- With reference to the Final design *Point no:3 is A Force Majeure!!!!
During the pre-production phase
This phase is like the first step of a Mathematics problem. If this phase is correct, the project vehicle starts on the right track and vice-versa. A comprehensive brief will solve 90% of the friction between the Client and the Artist. The objective of the copy and design/video has to be very descriptive and specific. It is great if it is simple and straight!
The creative/video can be quirky, funny or something really innovative BUT it should fall within the brand guidelines and should send the message clearly.
In communication between the Client and the Artist, the word “BUT” is undoubtedly a shock!!! :O
Instead of using BUT statements in a brief, it would be great if the Client is very specific about the requirement and clarifies it.
Moral: The brief or questionnaire should reflect the characteristics of the target audience and the benefits of the respective product/service. Be descriptive and specific.
Feedback during the WIP (Work In Progress)
During this phase, the Artist expects on-time feedback and quality feedback.
Late feedback can affect the project deadlines and quality of the design/video. The Client can provide timely feedback at every phase to ensure better quality and help meet timelines.
Clients have a perception that, if the quantity of the feedback is large, then it is good feedback. No, it is not the quantity but the quality of the feedback. The feedback given has to bear something significant that is actually valuable for improving the design/video.
Moral: On-time feedback and quality feedback can help fend-off countless cycles of iteration.
Top advice for making feedback go smoothly?
Please try to avoid Hypothetical Feedback:-
During the Work in Progress phase of design, the most criticized parameters are size, font, and color.
- Banners/posters are designed in different sizes for different platforms. In some strange cases, the content and the creative on different size banners are expected to have the same clarity and readability. There is no way that the clarity and the readability of a 1200X628 and 728X90 can be the same.
- The creative/video is expected to have a new font to give it a fresh look. But the final line of the feedback says use fonts specified in the brand guidelines. So we end up using Helvetica, Papyrus, Comic Sans, Trebuchet, Akkurut Pro as usual!
- The creative/video has to be really colorful but use the colors mentioned in our corporate color palette. (The corporate color palette has just 6 colors – Dark Blue, Light Blue, Dark Green, Light Green, white and black). Remember, the creative has to be really Colorful!!!
(For Fun) Watch: https://youtu.be/BKorP55Aqvg
With reference to the Final design/creative:-
Now coming to the feedback after the design is ready.
During the design phase, we do 10 different designs, 20 different designs and even more. And we get feedback from the client for each design. After creating so many designs, there are instances that the first design which was made gets chosen, if the first design meets the purpose, then why do 20 other designs? Clients are requested to discuss, take opinions, deeply analyze and then share the feedback.
After the submission, of the design, we get a mail from the Client saying. “It doesn’t work, start from scratch”
So it becomes, a total wastage of resource, time, creativity and energy.
If the feedback during the pre-production and WIP stage are streamlined as mentioned (as requested :P), it would be a great experience and we can get a great design. Creating a quality design/video is a meticulous process; it is a series of tasks and involves numerous ideas, inspirations, resources, time and energy. Feedback is an effective communication tool that can help in bringing up a great and innovative design/video. Getting an on-time and comprehensive feedback is the dream for any creator, be it a scriptwriter, illustrator, graphic designer, animator. On the whole, it is mutually beneficial. It keeps up the quality of the design/video, the integrity of the Artist and the Client and most importantly the morale of the team.