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How to Strategically Deal with Disappointing Feedback as a Designer

After finishing a design job, most graphic designers typically look for client feedback. They wish to have expert opinions and suggestions from others for improvement. However, they also get many negative and disappointing feedbacks, which can even break their creative sprint. Therefore, designers must be prepared to tackle such averse comments professionally. 

Creating a design is a long process. It typically includes reviewing the design brief, researching a client's business, picking the right design elements, and testing the design. Then, after many days of dedicated work, a design piece such as a logo, business card, website design, brochure, etc., gives it the finishing touch. 

But designers also wish to receive feedback before finally winding up the design. A second opinion from fellow designers is always welcome to know what else can be done to make the design more relevant and likeable.

Why is feedback important in design?

Feedback is part of the designer's design process from start to finish. So often, we think of feedback as an opinion on the finished design. However, a designer can sometimes ask for suggestions while creating a logo or other design piece such as 3D Logo. Therefore, take feedback as part of the creative process. 

One of the most significant advantages of getting feedback is seeing a design with new and fresh eyes. A designer gets thoroughly immersed for many days in a stretch in creating a design. That results in a designer building some emotional attachment to the design piece. In turn, sometimes, keeping a neutral and unbiased view of the design or any offline product in the making becomes challenging to maintain.

This is where the opinion of a client or experienced designer matters. Clients and others can view a design with fresh eyes as they are not attached to the creative process. So they can give a viewer’s perspective and instantly point out what is lacking. In this way, a designer can also benefit from customer experience. 

If such feedback is of high quality and offers actionable tips for improvement, it helps immensely. Moreover, such an alternative point of view and perspective ultimately helps in improving the design.

How to prepare for design feedback

The feedback's primary purpose is to gain insight into what went wrong with the design and how to improve. Feedback helps in listening to the voice of customers or clients. But what should you ensure to extract helpful opinions from viewers? That should lead you to be well-prepared before asking for feedback. 

The first and foremost aspect of getting clients meaningful feedback is giving them a well-planned presentation. Your design presentation must tell the clients about the problem it solves. You should illustrate the problem and solution to understand the design involved clearly. Finally, it should take the client or an audience to the design journey you went through. 

Ensure that the presentation gives the audience access to collaboration tools to engage and interact with the content. For example, such tools help the audience to add their comments. 

But take feedback from as many people as possible to get a broader sense of the design from the viewers' perspective. For example, you can use a survey tool that will take your design to hundreds of viewers for their opinion. 

Here is how a designer can deal with disappointing feedback.

Do not get offended

As a designer, you will have feedback as part of the design process. Your client will surely want their say in deciding what a design would look like. Sometimes, clients may dislike the design and make disappointing remarks. You will then be making the changes as per the client’s guidelines. If you use some feedback tool, you will likely get suggestions, including rude ones. 

All such situations can lead to frustration. So, do not get offended by negative feedback from clients and others. Instead, take those comments in the right spirit. Rather than feeling bad about those comments, revisit your design piece and see if you need to improve. 

Have a positive attitude

As a designer, you should take any disappointing feedback gracefully. This may take work to come naturally to you but learn it with time and experience. Keeping a positive attitude is essential to deal with such comments that you find offending.

Remember that design is subjective with no fixed rules. Likewise, creativity has no set parameters to judge your work. So, everyone has an opinion based on their thinking, experience, and background. Considering that, develop a positive attitude toward feedback. That will also help in understanding the suggestions from their perspective.

Since you are creative and open to new ideas and perspectives, you should take criticism as part of your design process. So, respect others’ views and take the criticism as a new perspective of looking at a design. With a positive attitude, even harsh comments can motivate you.

Avoid getting overly emotional

Some inexperienced designers quickly get hurt when hearing or reading comments that they think are unpleasant. They may find even any adverse comment offending. But that will only harm their thinking and may hinder creative work.

So, refrain from emotionally reacting while reading or hearing disappointing feedback about your creative design works. Such an emotional outburst may cloud your vision, and you might not separate a helpful opinion from the others.

Beginners should especially learn the art of self-composure. If they do not avoid an emotional outburst, recovery from such feedback becomes difficult.

Identify creative opinion

One proven strategy to deal with disappointing feedback is to categorize them. All kinds of people respond when you ask for feedback on an online platform. Even when meeting them personally, you may come across some nasty comments. Some of them may use you to unleash their frustration through such comments.

But you can categorize the feedback to separate constructive comments from plain negative ones while getting opinions or during product surveys. You can then find out which suggestions are more valuable than others. This way, you can separate helpful feedback from the rest of the cheap comments from inexperienced people.

However, that should not give you an excuse to ignore the feedback you do not like. Instead, categorize the comments as their value in helping you improve a design piece.

Take it as a learning experience

You can gracefully deal with harsh criticism of your design work by taking it as part of your learning experience. If you are a beginner, know that you will continue to get feedback in the future on various of your works. Taking feedback is just an aspect of creating a design.

So, when some negative remark appears, instead of getting offended, take that as a learning opportunity. Write down some positive points from such criticism and see which one is applicable.

Get new ideas

Some negative and disappointing feedback may be hiding creative ideas. Look at those suggestions to determine if they have some substance. You can come across a few of those opinions. That gives you a chance to relook at your work with a purpose. Some of the suggestions can be inspirational with constructive criticism.

Remember that your ideas of designs are crucial to lead you to create a project. So, sometimes you need more feedback to revisit your design ideas. You may also come up with new design ideas based on such comments. These are also an opportunity to break free from your own perceived notions.

The negative opinion of your design work may help you look at a client's brief from a new perspective. Therefore, see if there are some design ideas in those comments.

Express gratitude

A way to keep that negative feedback away from your mind is to say, ‘Thank you’’ That helps in forgetting the comment. This gesture also is a remedy for feeling better and alleviating any psychological impact.

Moreover, you can build a lasting impression of your personality as a creator by thanking them. This expression also is a way to build a mentoring relationship with your critics. In turn, it will help develop your skills.

So, these are helpful tips when you must avoid disappointing feedback. Find out what works best for you. Any such opinion must never disrupt your creative work mentally and physically. 

All you need to do is to learn from helpful and constructive feedback and ignore others. Then, move forward to another project.

You can also join Designhill, a graphic design marketplace and logo maker, to get design works and learn. You will find thousands of like-minded design professionals who will mentor you by offering creative tips on improving your design work. This is also the marketplace to find design jobs. Look for a logo and other design contests and compete well to create and win design prizes and learn in the process.

Alternatively, small businesses can also use a logo maker that helps in designing a logo. You get several free logo maker ideas in response to your design brief. Then, pick one good idea and develop that further as your company’s core identity.

Wrapping Up

Graphic designers have to deal with all kinds of feedback, some disappointing and hard-hitting. But designers can tackle such frustrating comments by just ignoring them gracefully. Instead, pay attention to constructive criticism that improves your design works. Keep a positive attitude and take adverse feedback as a learning opportunity.

Michael Crawford

Written by Michael Crawford

Feb 19, 2023

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