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Struggle With Creative Feedback?

Have you hired an agency or freelancer to produce creative work for you? Do you struggle with giving productive feedback?

Providing feedback on creative can make some people feel uneasy. You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, yet you don't really like what they sent back. So how do you give constructive, yet respectful feedback?

1) Before you give feedback ask yourself this question, "Did I do a good job of setting this project up for success? Or did I just dump a bunch of random information over the fence and expect AGENCY/PERSON to figure it out?" If this sounds familiar and you don't like what was sent back, then the fault largely lies with you and not your creative partner.

Or, maybe you have the mindset of, "I'll know it when I see it." Please stop right there. Think a little deeper and respect the time of your creative partner. Work with your creative partner to dig into your likes, dislikes and project expectations before they get started. If you don't like the color green but don't communicate this, then you can't be upset when concepts come back with green as the main color.

2) Relax. No creative professional is expecting to hit a home run on the first go-around. It would be nice, but it doesn't happen that often. So, with this in mind, your creative partner is expecting you to like and dislike some of the options. This means you can relax and feel comfortable striking out three of the five design ideas put in front of you. But, that said...

3) Don't skip over what you don't like. Of the options you chopped, be sure to share what didn't resonate with you. Did you not like the font selection? Was it too crowded? When you share what you didn't like with your creative partner this helps avoid that direction in the next round and also helps narrow in on what you do like.

4) On the flip slide, make sure to point what you do like. Even if the concepts aren't quite "the one," articulating what you do like is also very helpful in narrowing in on a direction to get to your happy results.

5) Is articulating creative likes/dislikes not your strong suit? That's okay. Not all of us are of the creative mindset. Don't worry about using "fancy" or "industry speak" words. Just say what comes to mind and your creative partner will take it from there.

6) Your job is not to be the creative director. Don't get overwhelmed in feeling you need to be the one figuring out next steps for creative direction. As you are providing feedback, positive and negative, your creative partner is already formulating next steps in their mind. It's their job to soak in your feedback and apply it to the next round. If by chance your creative partner doesn't communicate what they envision for next steps, just ask. I do recommend before the conversation is over you review your likes and dislikes and have a discussion about next steps.

I've spent the last 20 years of my career as the liaison between clients and creatives. Do you want to know the #1 reason creative projects fail? Time.

Invest time in setting your project up for success. Invest time communicating with your creative partners. Invest time in being present and available during creative development. If a project is worth the financial investment, then it most certainly should be worth the investment of YOUR time.

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