Ryan Blackwell

Digital Marketing Specialist Joined over 5 years ago

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  • Posted to Fostering good criticism, Sep 10, 2018

    This echoes a lot of what Blake said, but maybe putting it another way can help someone as well.

    I think most feedback is a form of evaluation, and, in order to evaluate something, a person needs a standard of value as a frame of reference. Without establishing proper standards, you're leaving it up to whatever standards they might assume they should use. Often, this means the other person will default to using their personal preference as the standard (not helpful). Instead, position the request in relation to the standards that matter to you in your professional decision-making process. In design, these might include:

    • Design problem (why should this design project exist?)
    • Design goal (what will "success" look like?)
    • Target audience (to whom is this design meant to communicate?)
    • Available content (photos, graphics, copy, videos, etc.)
    • Context (the "where, when, and how" of the project)

    When formulating your feedback request, specify what standard you want the other person to use in their evaluation. You'll still get feedback that isn't exactly what you need, but it should be much easier to open up a dialogue once you agree on standards.

    To that point, framing your feedback request in reference to proper standards can be helpful, but it can be difficult to establish common ground mid-project. Initiating preliminary conversations and documenting what was agreed upon makes it much easier to bring up later.

    This can also help when you're receiving unprompted feedback. In the event that it happens, you are better able to steer the discussion back to the essential purpose of the project that has already been agreed upon.

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