6 tips to help you get design feedback as a beginner
Receiving design feedback is essential for designers because it helps them improve their skills. As a result, they are able to create designs that will appeal to the target audience and satisfy clients. This blog post provides information on where beginner designers can look for feedback.
Tip 1: Show your work to your designer friend
If you are unsure about the composition or color scheme you have chosen, or if you want a second opinion, you can and should get the advice of an experienced designer. An expert can quickly notice a problem and help you fix it.
Beginners frequently make the same mistake: they attempt to complicate the design with unnecessary elements. For instance, they draw a button with an unusual shape or gradient on the website, even though it could be created as a simple rectangle. But to a beginner, it seems too simple, so they add as many design elements as possible. Any experienced designer will tell you that most modern websites have buttons in the form of a simple rectangle with text.
At the same time, soliciting feedback can have a negative impact. Even the best designers can struggle to provide constructive feedback. So be mentally prepared for abstract criticism like “This is terrible” or “This is not how you draw it.” Sometimes a friend may lie to you to not hurt your feelings. He may say that your design is good or something superficial like, “It’s fine for a beginner.” For this reason, it’s critical to filter feedback properly. Instead of an abstract “good” or “bad” rating, ask them to describe what needs to be fixed and what needs improvement.
Keep in mind: design is not only about the layout but also about functionality. Thus, it is essential to get technical feedback as well.
Tip 2: Ask for design feedback from a developer
It is crucial for designers whose work is embodied in layout and development. It is critical to obtain technical feedback. After all, you can draw whatever you want, but not everything can be implemented. It can be difficult for a beginner to tell the difference between the two. A beginner may find it difficult to distinguish between the two.
This is where the developer’s advice will come in handy. At the same time, you should consider their experience as well. Some can haphazardly implement any design, but it is not guaranteed that the end user will find it understandable and convenient. It’s unlikely that such a developer would provide an accurate assessment of your work.
Reach out to specialists who have worked on successful commercial projects. They have already seen various designs and know what will work in practice and what should be avoided.
Even if you want to create a neat design, sometimes the developer or client can disagree with you. The developer can often say that your idea is technically unrealistic or can only be implemented partially. The client can say that the realization of the design exceeds the current budget. It is important to take these limitations into account. Even if the idea is unique, it is unlikely to be approved if it does not meet the technical requirements or fit within the budget. Therefore, listen to the advice of your colleagues and try to bring your design closer to the desired result.
Tip 3: Get design feedback as a freelancer
Working with different clients will allow you to broaden your experience and receive regular feedback after the project is completed. However, be aware that there are different types of customers.
- Entrepreneurs. They could be experienced businessmen who know how to give coherent feedback. But it may happens that a director can barely formulate requirements, let alone provide designer feedback on the work. If the customer has a hazy idea, you should ask questions when working on the project. Communication with such clients should be built gradually, each time delivering interim results. In this case, you should know how to ask for design feedback correctly.
- IT specialists. It could be a developer who writes code for his startup and requires a design. You will have a correct technical assignment as well as useful feedback on how your design can be applied.
- Designers who are looking for assistants. If a specialist doesn’t have enough time to complete an entire project, they can assign small tasks to a novice designer. In this case, you may be asked to “clean up” the layout or draw a page of the site based on a sample.
Contests are yet another intriguing and practical feature of freelancing exchanges. Let’s say a client needs a logo for a coffee shop. Instead of wasting time looking for a designer, he organizes a contest on the exchange. Those who wish to participate must submit logo examples that meet his specifications, and the client selects the winner. How can aspiring designers benefit from this? First and foremost, regular participation in contests aids in the acquisition of experience. Second, it will help you to get a rough idea of which design is most frequently chosen by clients and what people generally like. If you lose, you probably won’t get detailed feedback. Nothing, however, prevents you from contacting the customer and learning why they chose another design over yours.
Also, keep in mind that freelancing requires effective communication. Here you should follow the technical requirements for design and make concessions to appease the client while also attempting to maintain your unique style.
Tip 4: Volunteer as a designer
Not confident in your skills? Then don’t rush to take orders. Instead, you can volunteer for a charity project. Volunteer work can make up for lack of experience. Even if you don’t make a perfect logo or a simple website, it’s unlikely to affect your self-esteem. Another thing is when you charge for your services and the client is dissatisfied with the outcome.
Tip 5: Showcase your work to the design community
Be sure to indicate that you are a beginner looking for feedback from other designers. Many people upload their work on Behance and Dribbble, but we do not think it is effective. These sites primarily serve as a portfolio for customers to view examples of your work. Often, feedback from designers will be short. Most likely, they will write something like “Great job” and request that you like their work too.
Writing detailed feedback takes time. For example, checking a student’s homework in a course takes an average of 10 minutes, which means at least 2 hours for a group of 12 students. Not everyone is willing to spend that much time evaluating other people’s work and giving a designer feedback unless they are teachers. However, there are people on the forums eager to share their knowledge and assist newcomers in improving their work.
Remember that design has many themes and concepts that everyone interprets differently. This subjectivity can have an impact on the feedback you receive. For example, if you have fractional values in your design, someone will undoubtedly write that they are unnecessary. Or, if you use a decorative font for the headline, someone might find it inappropriate. There may also be toxic people who will leave comments that the design is not yours.
Tip 6: Take courses and talk with your mentor
It is one of the best ways to get consistent, quality design feedback. Teachers are essentially your customers during the training stage. They are “good clients” who tell you how the design should look and provide specific practical advice as well.
Learn to pay attention to your mentors’ advice. They understand what is valued in a modern design better than anyone else and are ready to help you practice and reach a higher level. You can get a better understanding of what kind of design is currently in demand by communicating with your teacher. You may not need to use their methods and recommendations in your own practice, but you should consider them. Who knows where and when they will be useful.
The disadvantage of this method is that all courses end at some point, but the need for feedback design remains. Unfortunately, the average number of classes does not give you all the necessary knowledge, and for some time a beginner designer is still in search of “his own” style and continues to develop as a specialist. During this period, it is also important to receive regular feedback from an experienced colleague.
How to deal with design feedback?
At the start of your career, be prepared for negative feedback. It does not mean that your work will always be criticized, but you will initially receive negative feedback. After all, everyone has their own definition of good design. In interface design, for example, there is a trend known as brutalism, which involves a lot of somewhat ridiculous and inconvenient elements from the user’s perspective. One client could complain that a logo in this style is unappealing, claiming that “even a child could draw it better.” The other could say it’s innovative and out of the ordinary. Both will be right.
You will have a clear understanding of what should be fixed if you receive constructive design feedback. For example, suppose a client requests that the buttons be small and the logo be large. Everything in this case seems obvious. However, if the customer expresses dissatisfaction with the entire design, this feedback is insufficient. Talk to them and figure out what’s wrong. Of course, you may encounter someone who is annoyed by constant questions and will simply say, “I have to work, and do your thing.” In this case, use design examples to approach the client. Display a few designs that are similar to what they are looking for. At least, it will allow you to get a rough idea of what the client considers to be “beautiful” and what does not. This could serve as the starting point for design changes.
All the above methods of receiving feedback are much better than not showing your work to anyone at all, as the designer learns the most from feedback. You can learn all the theory and use all the tools, but no course will instill a sense of taste or an “eye for detail” in you. Only constant practice and feedback will show you how well you are doing and where there is room for improvement.