DESIGN : Feedback

It is not unusual for the project team to consider the design for a few days before feedback is collated and communicated to the designer. Feedback should be verbal, followed by a written report to avoid confusion.

It is usual for the design to be tweaked to include the feedback. Depending on the amendments, another presentation may be needed to view and discuss the revised designs.

Design signoff

It is imperative that the project does not move past the design point without complete agreement. Not everyone has to love the design, but they need to agree that it meets the brief.

Experience shows that possible issues include:
the designer appointed is not the preferred choice of one of the stakeholders. This can be handled by ensuring that all the key decision makers are asked if they have a key supplier they would like included in the quotation process followed by a transparent selection process where everyone understands the criteria.
there is not a unanimous decision on the approved design. Reaching collective decisions based on individual preferences is hard. Use the brief as a checklist to ensure that the design meets the brief. Some feedback can be taken onboard as design modifications, or perhaps some people will need to agree to disagree. There must be approval of the design before proceeding.
someone ‘higher-up’ vetoes the design. This sadly is a common occurrence.
Recommendations to avoid this include:
  • ask the decision-maker early if they have a supplier of choice
  • try to get this person to the initial briefing meeting
  • document the briefing session and circulate it for discussion before releasing it to the designers. Include a deadline for feedback, and the date when it will be circulated
  • once the winning submission has been identified, circulate the results internally for discussion before proceeding
  • try absolutely everything to get the decision-maker to the designer’s presentation
  • lastly, use the brief to show that the design is appropriate.

Author’s corrections

This is a grey area and one that should be resolved as part of the original request for quote.

Ensure that the estimate states whether changes/tweaks to the design are expected as part of the review process, and if so, how many changes would be expected.
Some designers will include a review process within their estimate, if so, the number of ‘tweaks’ should be clearly itemised.

Design Business Council (dbc) workshops

Preparing a design brief

Evaluating a design presentation

The dbc is a professional development body that helps organisations work with designers. dbc workshops will assist you prepare a brief and then evaluate a presentation.

More information...