“What do you think?”
This is the question that seems to keep popping up in the captions on Instagram and other social media platforms. The problem is that it’s an impersonal way of asking for feedback and just isn’t the appropriate place for it.
When you’re looking for honest feedback, you should be asking the people who have demonstrated expertise. Yes, you could ask your followers, but not everyone in your audience is an expert in lettering, calligraphy or design—most are probably friends or family. The type of feedback you get from them will be based on personal preferences/opinions rather than a true critique of your work. I’ll discuss this in more detail later.
Ideally, you want to reach out to the artists and designers who are around, or just above, the same skill level as you. They are the ones who are most familiar with your type of questions because they were just in your shoes not that long ago. Reaching out to someone who is a clear professional in your field may not have the time, or desire, to respond back to you.
I’m sharing this with you because I don’t want you to be that person. Look toward the people who are doing slightly better work than you, follow these steps and you will get the results you’re looking for.
Ask Specific Questions
Get specific with your questions. Don’t just ask, “What do you think?” This is the wrong type of question because it’s too broad. It also doesn’t provide any context for the type of work you’re doing. You want to briefly explain who it’s for (audience), the type of application (print, web, app) and the end goal. Asking someone what he or she thinks will likely leave your question unanswered and you won’t get anything constructive out of it.
Some examples of the type of questions you should be asking are:
- Is the lettering/logotype legible?
- Does this feel balanced?
- Do you get a mature, luxurious vibe from this?
- Do the letters feel cramped?
- Is this working as a scalable logotype?
When you’re asking for feedback, provide a detailed sketch or a screenshot of the vector file that’s close to being finished. You don’t want to send someone a rough sketch with light pencil marks.
If you want to know if a cake you baked tastes good, you wouldn’t send them a spoonful of batter.
If you send 3-5 concepts, you’re probably not going to get the feedback that will take your work to the next level. Decide which ones are worth developing further based on the goals of the project. It should be no more than 1 or 2.
By sending more than two concepts, you’re causing the person you’re seeking feedback from to do your job. Essentially, you’re making them choose which direction the project is going to go. It’s your job as the artist/designer to decide what the end product is meant to be.
Understand that the person on the other end might have other responsibilities and commitments such as clients, family or deadlines. Just because you asked politely doesn’t mean your email is going to get priority. You aren’t entitled to a response, especially if you’ve never interacted with him or her.
Your time is valuable and so is the artist or designer’s. You need to be patient and accept the feedback when, and if, you receive it graciously.
When you’re asking for feedback, provide a detailed sketch or a screenshot of the vector file that’s close to being finished.
Type of Feedback
Which type of feedback are you looking for?
Positive/negative feedback – Comments like, “Looks awesome!” or “I don’t like that” are good examples. While this type of feedback may make you feel good or bad about your project, it’s based on people’s personal preferences, and is not an accurate assessment of the quality of your work. In the case of negative feedback, there is rarely enough information for you to figure out how to revise your design.
Constructive feedback – This occurs when someone who is familiar with your field can unbiasedly critique your work and provide useful tips on improving your design. Depending on your skill level, the feedback can be minor, or it can be pretty heavy, which may leave you feeling discouraged and disappointed. It’s important to not take the criticism personally and use it to your advantage to grow as an artist/designer.
This may not seem like a big deal, but it actually makes a difference.
Obviously, if you didn’t get a reply, there’s no need to thank anyone. But if you did receive some detailed feedback, I encourage you to thank him or her for their time.
Another way you could thank them is by showing support through referrals, sharing or purchasing a product. If what you got was valuable to you, let them know. This simple act of appreciation will go a long way and give the next person to ask for feedback a good chance of getting it.
I hope this leaves you better equipped next time you’re asking for lettering feedback.