On Design Feedback

The subjective side of design work makes giving and receiving feedback a challenge for everyone involved, especially if one of the parties is not a designer by profession. Poor or unconstructive feedback slows down the design process, erodes trust, and ultimately leads to poor results. Here are some rules of thumb to keep in mind when dealing with design feedback.

When you are giving feedback:

  • Try to understand the thought process behind design decisions.

  • Present your feedback as an invitation to rethink these decisions.

  • Avoid giving alternatives without explaining why they would work better.

If you are receiving feedback:

  • Do not take it personally. All criticism should be funneled through the work.

  • Try to ask questions that help turn feedback into problem statements.

  • Listen. And then listen some more.