Episode #99
Design is not a democracy

Only valid feedback will be accepted.

Music and links from this episode

  1. Stargazer by Monplaisir
  2. I will by Yshwa
  3. Everything is True by Monsplasir
  4. Pizza by U-Man

Line-by-line notes

  1. INTRO
  2. Even though the democratic process works for lots of things
  3. The idea of getting lots of people involved in the process
  4. Just doesn’t work for design
  5. Design by committee is the fastest way to produce something terrible
  6. This is AADA, and I’m Craig Burgess
  8. Forgive me for stating the obvious
  9. But designers are hired to do a job
  10. They’re hired to design something
  11. If you’ve hired the correct designer
  12. They’re pretty good at that job too
  13. They make money from it
  14. They’re a professional
  15. Every day, they sit down and design things
  16. Therefore, the best person for the job to design something
  17. And to put something together
  18. Is the designer
  19. Too often though
  20. During the design process
  21. Things start to become a little bit democratic
  22. Too many people start to get involved
  23. And the initial design that was put together
  24. The original designer’s vision
  25. Starts to get a little bit blurry
  26. Eventually, if this process is continued
  27. A frankenstein’s monster of a design is produced
  28. And we see this across all sorts of mediums
  29. From terrible cars that try to be all things to all people
  30. From terrible public sector projects that try to include everybody
  31. From branding projects that tried to get the opinion of their entire audience
  32. There’s a direct correlation between the amount of people involved in a design project
  33. And the quality of the end product
  34. The more people get involved, the worse the product gets
  35. This might sound like I’m saying don’t let anybody have a say
  36. In the design process
  37. But I don’t actually mean that
  38. It’s important that designers don’t become arrogant and think they know better than their clients
  39. Because often they don’t
  40. The opinions of a client and their understanding of an audience is important
  41. And taking on board that feedback and acting on it if it’s relevant is important
  42. But when clients start to tell us to make logos bigger
  43. and provide opinions on design that they aren’t qualified to provide
  44. Then their opinions become less valid
  45. And we as designers need to step in and fight our corners
  46. And make sure we explain our way of thinking
  47. And the reasons behind our work
  48. Not becoming yes people is important
  49. In a way, designers are to blame
  50. We ask for feedback on our work from our clients
  51. Without setting up the boundaries of this conversation
  52. Clients through no fault of their own can start providing lots of feedback that isn’t useful
  53. Often clients aren’t familiar with giving design feedback
  54. And don’t know what to say
  55. So they’ll revert to what they do know
  56. By saying things like: “i don’t like blue” and “can you change that font”
  57. As designers, we need to explain to them what kind of feedback we’re looking for
  58. Asking questions like…
  59. Does this project meet the brief we agreed on?
  60. Will this work for your audience?
  61. And then explaining our thinking whenever feedback goes off topic
  62. It’s a confidence thing I think
  63. Some designers lack it, or never improve it
  64. You have to have the confidence to fight your corner
  65. And understand that you’re the professional who knows what you’re doing
  66. That takes time, and years to develop
  67. But you need to remember the 2 rules of design
  68. Design is not a democracy
  69. And only valid feedback will be accepted
  70. OUTRO 
  71. This was AADA. I’m Craig Burgess.
  72. Music featured in this episode was Stargazer by Monplaisir, I will by Yshwa, Everything is True by Monsplasir and Pizza by U-Man
  73. For a line-by-line run down of this episode, go to askadesignernaything.com/ep99
  74. To celebrate my 100 episodes, I’m potentially crafting a special extended episode tomorrow. Tune in tomorrow.

Support Ask a Designer Anything