How to Ask for Design Feedback From Your Target Audience

How to Ask for Design Feedback From Your Target Audience

Ya know that feeling of when you get a new haircut, you go see some friends and no one says anything about your new locks?

(Cue the nerves…)

You start to toss your hair about, maybe even twirl some strands around your finger, then start to grow impatient. You start to think, “Is it that bad?! Why aren’t they saying anything?! Are they trying not to laugh, point, and chase me with burning sticks?!”

It’s then that you maybe/kinda/sorta casually mention something about your hair appointment to steer the conversation toward the hair cut.

“Oh, yeah!” your friends say. “LOVE your new cut! Frames your face beautifully!”

And there you have it.

Your inner insecure, acne-clad, 14-year old is no longer stress-eating ho hos.

The almighty validation has occurred.

This same scenario is true for re-branding your business, but this time, maybe you stress-eat brie and/or charcuterie. Because allegedly, you’re an “adult” now, and adults don’t eat Hostess products.

Or so you’re told…

Look, launching a new logo, a new website, (and really, a whole new personality) for your business is daunting at best and you wanna get it right so your ideals are reflected properly and you get the customers you dream about. So what’s a business owner to do? Send every single draft of everything designed to everyone you know for validation you’re on the right path, amiright?!

Current customers get to weigh-in on your materials, past customers get a vote, hell, let’s get the Janitor and the Secretary involved, too! Anyone with eyes gets a say on what the branding should and shouldn’t be, and perhaps you even start a color-coded Excel spreadsheet to track everyone’s opinions! (<— Yes. This has happened to me before.)

Before you go any further here, just a word of caution from a seasoned professional: Anytime you show anyone something visual there’s inevitably someone who just isn’t going to like yellow. Or green. Or turquoise.

(These people are wrong, but I digress…)

But here’s the thing.

Obvious statement alert: It’s impossible to appeal to everyone.

Why? Because everyone has an opinion of how a color or an illustration should be according to them.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for target audience’s feedback though. Quite the contrary! But when you hand off a design piece for feedback, change the conversation to shift from opinions to feelings. After all, the phrase “I don’t like yellow” doesn’t tell us anything because it’s not a valid critique–it’s someone’s opinion that we can’t do anything about.

In contrast, “The colors don’t feel warm or happy enough, which relates to our core values because…” tells us quite a lot, like perhaps we should bump up the saturation in the colors and introduce more orange/yellow/red tones so that the colors feel warmer. And some extra points? This statement relates back to the core values of your business! Make sense?

So, before you fire up an Excel document, ask your target audience these three things:

  1. How do these logos make you feel?
  2. Which one of these logos is the most memorable?
  3. Do these logos *feel* like me/my business?

Having worked with so many companies in my time, these questions have guided conversations with everyone from small business owners, to start-up entrepreneurs, to top VPs. Hey, we’re human, and we all need some reassurance from time-to-time. And to be honest, when we feel insecure it’s hard to make decisions. But just remember, at the end of the day, sometimes a simple, unassuming ho ho* can help.

*(No, I’m not an affiliate of Hostess products. BUT. If they find this post and would like to send me some treats, that would be lovely.)

Natalie McGuire

Hi, I'm Natalie McGuire!

I'm a website designer + digital strategist who believes in design with strategic ease. Meaning, gorgeous design is informed by customer insights that make your business a whole lot easier. If you want to stop losing customers by having "just another pretty website," work with me.

Stop losing customers by having
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Natalie McGuire Designs stands against inequality, injustice, hate, discrimination, and systemic racism, and is deeply committed to investing in diversity and inclusion, and standing up for what is just, inclusive, loving & equitable.