Opinion VS Feedback — there is a difference

How to ask for feedback on logos (and other design items)

“Here’s a logo. What do you think?” — Who else has noticed that asking for “opinions” in business groups on Facebook goes south almost as quick as a thread on YouTube?

I see it happening every day, a business owner or a Designer asking for feedback and the thread just taking on a life of its own, where everyone from professionals to untrained monkeys go into a frenzy match of opinion based shouting, making it very hard to extract any real help from the original request.

Yes, in Designer groups as well - to a smaller degree and in lighter shades. But I am mostly referring to small business owners groups, where it’s just entertaining to see what happens in a matter of minutes, egos usually get trampled and “contributors” get personal very easily. How to avoid this?

Based on what I see daily, I would strongly recommend that we Designers (the professionals) create the conditions for useful feedback to occur so that we bring the respect for the industry up and raise the bar. Ego stroking won’t happen as often, but results for the end user (client, most of the times) will be much better. AKA solutions.

This is something that always lacks from most posts of this “what’s your opinion” type and we can correct immediately.

  • Refrain from using the word “opinion”. That is like stirring a bee’s nest! Try to qualify the people you want commenting, most have no idea of how design works and that’s OK. You don’t want the whole group talking, you need selected quality critique;
  • Always provide a clear background for what you are asking feedback for. For logos, don’t just ask if it’s pretty or if people like it — this is the beginning of the end. Insure you relay part of the brief in a sufficient manner that feedback can be platformed outside personal opinions;
  • Make the goal succinct and clear so that measurable action and critique has a place, instead of getting “I don’t like that color”. — What is the goal? How will it be used? In what context / environment? What will it compete with?
  • There’s always confinements that are taken in consideration but not known by the people providing feedback, so make you equip them with that knowledge (examples: the brand will live exclusively online so gradients are less of a problem / this logo needs to scale well to be engraved in wood at small sizes / the elements need to be produced in 1 color applications)
  • Mention what the client is flexible or adamant about, if possible for a reason. It avoids white noise discussions where eventually you mentioned “the client wants it like that” 17 comments down the thread;
  • Do your homework. Actually review your own solution before asking the group to do it for you. Test your assumptions, sell the design to yourself and make sure it delivers on what you promised the client. Just because you like it on your screen, doesn’t mean it will perform in the end environment. Pretty logos with 8 colors and 3 fonts may look pretty on white backgrounds. But they don’t laser cut very well on an outdoor 3D signage. And they are not logos.
  • “Which one of the versions is better?” (same design, different fonts) NOT GREAT, guys. When you ask “which one”, the least you can do is have a substantial difference in approach to the problem. Don’t just slap 3 typefaces on the exact same scheme.
  • Have valid arguments, know your why (sorry Simon Sinek) what made you decide it to be like that. Be firm about it and ready to uphold it to scrutiny. If change is necessary, so be it.
  • Do not take it personally. When feedback comes in, frame it and consider why it is given. Listen, the delivery of the feedback may not be great at times. There are some fine examples of ignorance in business groups, some people cannot keep their mouth shut and believe speaking more is better. Even if about something they can’t grasp. Idiots lurk in the dark! Just know that and try to context the feedback request so well that these specimens refrain from entering a domain that is not their own.

Yeah, being Designer is uncomfortable at times. But because some of us don’t want to ask better questions and make an effort to be thorough, is the very reason some people still believe it’s all about making pretty pictures that shouldn’t take long and cost no more than $5…

The better the question, the better the feedback. Asking a low quality question will reward you with low quality critique. Convince the irrelevant opinions to pass on this one, make it easy for them to not create noise for the rest.

Stop asking for opinions, start requesting for feedback. Hopefully this helps.