Giving feedback is an inevitable step in the design process and doing that efficiently is the key to producing a design outcome that is desirable for you, the client. Here are some methods (along with their pros and cons) that can help you achieve that and maintain a good working relationship with your designer.
Overall Best: Digital PDFs
- I can copy and paste. The designer can easily copy and paste any text revision that you’ve requested, thus reducing the possibility of creating new typos or additional mistakes in the process. We wouldn’t want to be trapped in the vicious cycle of having to revise a revision.
- It’s convenient. More often than not I find myself alt-tabbing between the artwork and my client’s comments searching for what they are describing. Some times I re-read the revision 2-3 times just to be sure. Now the great thing about annotation on the PDF document is that it points to the exact section that you’re referring to. Not only does it save time, it reduces miscommunications as well.
- A plethora of editing options at your fingertips. Whether you like highlighting a particular section of text, crossing out certain words or having a comment box right beside the image, PDF gives you the power to do so.
- Great for heavy revisions. PDFs are the best when working with long format designs like white paper or catalogs, revisions can be required all over.
- You’ve got to have Adobe Acrobat Reader. The good news is that there’s a Free version but you’d get a lot more features with the Pro version, of course.
70% of my communications with clients happen via emails. Without a doubt, it’s my clients’ favorite method of providing feedback.
- I can copy and paste. Again, this is SO important.
- It’s flexible. Allows you to attach documents and images, which isn’t doable with the PDF.
- I can refer back to our past discussions. Some times I get similar projects from different clients at the same time and it’s easy to get confused when I’m switching between projects. Having all of the communications inside one email thread allows me to easily refer back to past discussions so I can make sure that I am on the right track.
- It’s simple. It’s the fastest method for small revisions.
- Not the best option for heavy revisions. A wall of text is very hard to digest and you can easily get lost between the lines and miss out on certain important revisions.
- Hard to describe revisions. Sometimes it’s just easier to indicate exactly which section you’re talking about.
Not so good: Scanned documents / PDFs
Here’s another method that some of my clients like to use. Print out the artwork on a piece of A4 paper and scribble edits/notes all over it.
- It’s easy. Instead of having to figure out how to operate PDF tools, you can go back to the most basic method of sharing your thoughts: jotting it down on paper.
- It’s fast. Going through the artwork from top to bottom will allow you to quickly scan through it to identify any mistakes and indicate any revisions that you want.
- I may not be able to read your handwriting. Which will require me to write back to you to clarify on what was written, which adds on to the ‘back-and-forth’.
- I can’t copy and paste. Say you have perfectly legible handwriting. If the content is more than a couple of words, I will have to spend time re-typing everything, which in-turn increase the possibility of causing oversight.
Also not great: Phone Calls
Some times a 5-minute phone call works better than 30 email exchanges, I understand that. But when it comes to relaying revisions, having a digital record of it on email or text is always better.