by Dan Crask, Creative Director & Co-Owner, Brand Shepherd

If there’s one thing professional creative teams loathe, it’s being hired for a gig, then being directed, step-by-step, how something should look or function.

At best, it sends contradictory messages.

You’re paying product professionals who live and breathe the daily work of solving challenges by design. So, why direct them to tackle minutia like making the logo 20% bigger or the photo on the right side instead of where the creative put it?

It’s best to lean into the hired professional.

It’s best to assume these hired professionals know what they’re doing.

However, that is not to say you have to stay quiet and take whatever is given. There are plenty of creative teams who live up to that way-too-true stereotype.

There’s a way to balance the process.

Solution: Be informative by telling your creative team what isn’t working and what you are trying to achieve. This is called being “directional” with your feedback rather than “executional.” We use the word “executional” for when someone gives outright creative direction that they’re not qualified to give, or if they are just being a classic micro-manager. The best way is to be “directional” – communicate why the design isn’t quite right. Creatives love this type of feedback! It adds another layer to the challenge. Creatives get bored and mentally check-out when they’re given color-by-the-numbers, direct instructions.

And let’s be frank: You’re likely unqualified to be giving professional creative direction. And that’s a big deal. Would you instruct your architect how to design a “better” space? Would you instruct your hired kitchen and bath designer how to design a better space? Heck, would you tell your mechanic how best to change the oil in your vehicle? So stop telling professional creatives how to create. It’s foolish. We know it’s foolish, and it just makes us respect you less. Over time, this builds up and the relationship will end on a sour note.

Example: Here is how to be directional in your feedback. “The font choices in the logo options aren’t working for this because we want to attract a more sophisticated buyer, and these look too simplistic.”

By taking this approach, you have just equipped the creative to do what they do best: Create.

You’ve just sparked a fire in the imagination of your pro. You’ll get a lot more bang for your spend by approaching feedback this way.