There is no point in arguing that subjectivity has no place in design. This simple fact makes giving constructive design feedback a lifelong challenge, especially when one of the parties involved is not a designer by profession.

It goes without saying that failure to give constructive feedback slows down the design process and might ultimately veer it to the wrong direction. To avoid that, it is the responsibility of both parties to make sure they are fulfilling their ends of the deal.

Those in a position to give design feedback should:

  • Avoid generic adjectives. Examples include “good”, “bad”, “awesome”, “meh”, etc. Better yet, avoid all adjectives.

  • Avoid appreciation verbs. Examples include “like”, “love”, “hate”, etc.

  • Ask questions. Understanding the thought process of the designer is key to assess the proposed solution.

  • Refrain from offering solutions. Let the designer do his work.

Designers receiving design feedback should:

  • Avoid taking things personally. All criticism should be funneled through the work.

  • Ask questions. Questions that help turn feedback into problem statements.

  • Listen. And then listen some more.