Creativity thrives with collaboration. When people work together and share design feedback or use design feedback forms, incredible things can happen. With open communication that encourages feedback in design projects, even captured in your agreement template or contract template, it’s much easier to bring a creative vision to life.
Consider this: In the online world, first impressions are 94% design-related. So, if you want to make the best first impression, you need to embrace feedback in design and integrate it with your freelance design contract.
In this article, we’ll see how clients and designers can collaborate to make design feedback a more productive process that benefits the project, and the team.
Getting paid for your work is important when you send freelance invoices. However, if you want to progress in your career, you need more than money.
By welcoming design feedback from your clients and supervisors, you get valuable insights that help you improve your skill set.
The problem is that many people are hesitant to share their thoughts, as they may fear offending freelancers.
So, what can you do to take the reins and smooth the process?
Here are five tips to get better feedback in design projects.
Don’t take clients by surprise.
Instead, give them some notice so they have a little time to think about things. When you create your freelance contracts with Bonsai, you could include a clause that states feedback will be requested at certain points in the project.
Whenever you want their opinion on something, you should provide as much context as possible so your client is well-informed.
For example, let’s say you have a working prototype of a new asset. Explain the core aspects of the design to the client, such as:
Every design element has a purpose. The same is true when it comes to reviewing work, so your feedback system should be set up with clear goals in mind.
With the additional information and some time to process it, you set the stage for better design feedback.
When you ask closed yes/no questions, your client has little scope to give their real opinion. Instead, try to make your graphic design feedback questions more open-ended, so that you probe for more input.
Here are some examples:
Knowing the right types of questions to ask will help you get the feedback loop moving in the right direction. Be prepared to respond with follow-up questions too, just to clarify any points the client raises.
Once the discussion does begin to flow, it’s easy to veer off-topic.
Whenever this happens, remind everyone of the goals mentioned at the beginning, and ask specific questions to keep things on track.
Sometimes, the feedback may become too subjective, with clients simply pointing out elements they like or don’t like. Use guiding questions to hone in on problems and unearth possible solutions.
Occasionally, freelancers may take offense to some of the design feedback that comes their way. This can quickly put people off giving feedback again.
You should remain gracious when people are providing feedback, thanking them for their business, and their input.
Try to understand that they have a vision in mind for this project. It is only through open communication and collaboration that you, as the designer, will be able to bring their vision to life.
By adopting a growth mindset, you can view all design feedback as an opportunity for learning and improvement.
It may be tempting to simply sit and listen when people are providing design feedback, but you might not remember everything. If you’re truly going to learn from this experience, you should take plenty of notes.
You can do this with InVision comments, audio recording, or the good old-fashioned pen and pad. Whatever option you choose, make the most of these valuable feedback sessions to develop your career.
If you're also looking to get better at managing your freelance career, you should consider using tools that streamline the workflow and save you time. You can sign up for a free trial of Bonsai today and see how easy it becomes to create proposals, contracts, invoices, and more.
Whether you’re a client, project manager, or just another member on the design team, it’s inevitable that you will need to give some design feedback at some point.
Keep these things in mind when providing feedback in design projects.
Remember that your goals will already be established in the design brief, so the designer will understand the initial objectives before they commence work on a project.
However, during the process, the defined goals of each individual design element will become apparent. Designers will need clarification on certain pages, sections, or minor elements to be able to deliver the best possible product.
For designers, there’s nothing worse than spending days or even weeks working hard on a mock-up or prototype, only to be told that the whole project isn’t moving in the right direction. With clear goals defined from the outset, this shouldn’t happen – but sometimes, it still does.
This can be avoided if feedback is provided from the early stages. This way, the project gets off on the right foot. After that, perhaps you can have weekly meetings or get in the habit of sending a design feedback form to make regular critiques.
For designers, it’s not easy to have your best efforts picked apart by somebody. You may not take everything onboard as the criticism flows, which makes the whole exercise of giving feedback counterproductive.
Everyone should focus on one aspect at a time. Give feedback for that, then allow the designer a chance to reflect and offer some solutions.
Studies on the psychology of feedback show that almost 60% of people welcome corrective feedback about their work, rather than simply getting praise for doing something right.
The important thing to remember is that you should direct your feedback towards the design, not the designer. By maintaining focus on the work, there’s less chance that designers will take your comments personally.
When designers ask you questions, they want to know what you really think about things. Responding with short answers will not offer people the insight they need.
Get specific with your design feedback by explaining what you want to see in very precise detail. If possible, use visual examples from other brands, and describe what you’d like the designer to do.
“Feedback is as much art as it is science. Like any other form of communication, it is not as much about what is said, as what is heard, understood, and acted upon.”
For many people, it will be a little unnatural at first, but over time, designers, project managers, and clients can work closely to nurture a culture that encourages feedback.
To get the ball rolling, your team can have a ready-to-use creative feedback form, like this one.
Remember that feedback in design is not a one-way street – it’s a discussion, so keep things flowing back-and-forth to dig to the core of every issue.
As people ask more graphic design feedback questions and actively critique the project, people will get better at giving feedback, and also at receiving it.
It’s important to keep things in perspective by recognizing it is a collaborative growth process aimed at improving the quality of work. Better yet, when done right, a feedback culture will help designers develop their skill set, and also strengthen working relationships and productivity going forward.
Join Bonsai today to learn more about taking your creative freelance career to the next level.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?