Read time: Five mins
Running your design past multiple people?
Read this first.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
If you Google this idiom, it’ll tell you that if too many people are involved in a project, it’ll definitely fail. But surely if we’re hopping on the idiom train, then it should be the more the merrier, right?
Yeah, nah, not when it comes to your design project.
Last festive season, my family hosted Christmas dinner for the extended family. I was charged with preparing the dessert. Imo, the perfect desert is pavlova. But if you ask my MIL, the perfect dessert is trifle. And if my hubby happened to hear you, he’d swear that the best dessert is plum pudding and custard.
Now, if we were all in the kitchen preparing it together, I guarantee we’d end up with something distinctly inedible. It’d be impossible to please us all.
The same goes for your design. Everyone has their own opinions … and rarely do those opinions perfectly align.
So, what should you do if a committee or group are deciding on your design project?
To avoid creating an inedible design (that NOBODY wants to dig into) follow my six tips for confidently and clearly proofing your design.
The conflict-free design process for committees
Tip one: Take me to your leader
I love collaborating with groups. The energy and enthusiasm is always next level. But I’m gonna be real with you: Designing by committee also has the potential to become a reaaaal nightmare.
Which is why I recommend choosing ONE person – and one person only – to make final decisions and communicate with your designer. This will protect the process from getting too messy and help keep your project on track.
Tip two: You’re (all) invited to the brief
Once you have a clear leader in place, it’s time to get everyone onto the same page. Designing by committee has a reputation for being tricky because there are typically a lot of opinions and input on any visuals that are created.
But you can prevent the proofing stage from getting too confusing and complex by getting everyone involved from the beginning during the briefing stage. This will mean your committee doesn’t just collaborate on the revisions (aka once the design has already been done) but is also there to guide the direction of the design in the first place. This approach means you’re more likely to get a design that meets your goals (and makes everyone happy!) Speaking of which …
Tip three: It’s not about you
During the proofing and revision process, it’s worthwhile reminding your team or committee members that you adore them, but you don’t really care if they like the design. This isn’t about their personal preferences.
Instead, this is about your goals and audience. Your design needs to answer the brief (which will be awesome now that everyone is on board with it!) So, when everyone is reviewing the design, they need to be looking at it from the end user and target audience’s point of view – not their own.
Tip four: Thanks (but no thanks)
Next, you want to make sure everyone knows their input is valued and encouraged … But that doesn’t mean their input and constructive feedback will be included or actioned.
You’re considerate, but not silly. And including ideas just to keep everyone happy is a baaad move. Not only is it likely to lead to confusing and crappy design, but it’ll also baffle the heck out of your audience and throw your goals off-track to boot.
Tip five: Aim for *almost* perfect
Once you’ve collected everyone’s feedback, you’ll want to narrow it down to the input that’ll best bring your design in alignment with your goals.
Your designer will take your feedback and work their butt off to make your design dreams come true. But you’ll need to be reasonable with your expectations. Your design may not perfectly fit every group or team member’s vision of perfect. But so long as your design fulfils your brief and fuels your goals, it’s been a success!
Tip six: Don’t invite your mates (or mum)
And last but not least … your loved ones will (hopefully) support everything you do. But that doesn’t mean they’re the best source of feedback on your design project. Sorry, guys.
When you’re deciding on your design, you’ll want to collect the most useful comments and suggestions so the feedback leads to a positive outcome. Having your bestie declare it “the best thing since UberEats” and your dad declaring that he’s, “So proud of you, honey” is wonderful but kinda (okay a lot) useless with your design proofs.
Keep it relevant and targeted and you’ll be well on your way to supplying your designer with the most constructive and productive feedback possible so they can nail your design for you.