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How to give constructive design feedback

How to give constructive design feedback


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Learn how to put your thoughts into words and make sure your feedback is getting the love it needs by communicating effectively and constructively.

Let’s go through the dos and don’ts of written communications in general.

When you’re trying to express yourself using just letters and symbols, it’s easy to miss oral or visual communication nuances. But there are a few ways you can fill that void. At Sketch, we use a frankly staggering array of custom Emojis. But you can also use animated GIFs, links to YouTube video...

While honesty and clarity are essential when giving feedback, as a rule, it’s better to flatter than offend. Being constructive and considerate with your criticism doesn’t just improve your product — it improves relationships within your team.

Sometimes, the kindest thing you can do is to b...

In addition to being direct, it’s always a good idea to be explicit. Even if you think a word will do, don’t assume your reader will have all the context you have. In this scenario, being a little verbose is sometimes a feature, not a bug.

Something we’ve learned when working with people from all over the world is that, sooner or later, you’ll find yourself in a situation where you’ll be completely misunderstood due to cultural differences.

You’ll say “oh, that’s an interesting idea!” because you think an idea is… we...

While shared cultural knowledge can help speed things up when everyone understands the context, internationally compliant communication can be more challenging. Pay attention to subtle (and not so subtle) differences between cultures when it comes to the meaning of words.

If you want to kee...

Save yourself a headache by making sure everyone knows exactly the kind of feedback you’re looking for.

When giving design feedback: make sure you’re addressing the right issues. If a designer made their needs clear when asking for feedback, stick to those. If they did not...

Asking good questions and actively listening to the answers to those questions are two key skills for giving great design feedback.

When giving design feedback: you’ll be tempted to comment on the current state of things, sometimes missing important information about an ele...

Designs often have a lot of stakeholders. You could be a design manager who needs to review some work in progress or even a developer who needs to communicate the technical implications of a design proposal.

When giving design feedback: every member of the team brings a un...

One of the advantages of working asynchronously is you don’t have to give feedback immediately. This won’t be the case always, but whenever possible take a bit of extra time with feedback.

When giving design feedback: Use the time as an opportunity to separate yourself from...

In case we didn’t drive the point home enough when we told you to be considerate, it’s essential that you also praise all the good you see. We’re not talking about the old and tired ‘shit sandwich’ technique here. We’re talking about a real, honest, lets-celebrate-good-design attitude.  

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Constructive criticism assumes that the person giving it has chosen to talk about it because it wants to help the other in reaching the good or help to progress.



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