Giving Feedback On A Design You Are Paying For

Disclaimer: I’m not knowledgeable in this area, but am interested to know what’s up. Please feel free to correct my misconceptions.

“Make this blue”, “Too big”, “Bigger”, “Darker”, “Too narrow”, “Put the logo here”

I find it hard to comprehend why anyone paying good money for design, would review in this manner. Over and over, round after round. Sounds more like a person trying to work Photoshop with voice control. Shouldn’t we let the skilled worry about their craft? If your designer doesn’t know design better than you, why there is a business relationship?

On the back of such encounters (as an onlooker), I had concluded [mistakenly] that having multiple rounds of design reviews was just masturbatory and that a customer should only focus to communicate the whys clearly and leave designers to do their job.

Yesterday, 37signals posted another “Behind the scenes” article on their blog. As I was reading their recap of multiple iterations and feedback, it occurred to me that my conclusion was misdirected. There’s nothing wrong with the fact that there were multiple rounds of review. My issue was with the nature of the critiques.

The feedback for each round were about story, intent, clarity. Not pixel pushing. Seems to me, that is how a money paying customer should be reviewing to get his money’s worth.