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Effective feedback is only essential for achieving the desired result on a project, but it also helps designers develop new skills and capabilities. Below, senior creative professionals share advice on giving effective feedback.

"We do not like sandwiches. Often when giving creatives feedback, we are either too vague or we smush something negative between two pieces of positive yet superficial praise. This not only dilutes your message, but it also loses meaning, has a chance to be missed and you end up coming off as disingenuous. To give feedback that builds relationships and delivers results treat it as a dialogue between trusted colleagues — a two-way street. Creatives are like scientists looking to solve problems. Try a growth-mindset approach, focus on genuine strengths and offer concrete, specific and perceptible actionable points." — Diana Campbell RGD, Senior Manager, Digital Strategy and Governance, Alberta Blue Cross 
 

"As a rule, I try to take emotion out of design. Whether designing a brochure that takes a few days or weeks, or an exhibit that takes years, I believe the team should start with a concept. In terms of this core idea, we always use one word (at most two), one sentence (for internal use only) and a thumbnail sketch (the parti pris) that expresses the essence of the project. Designers can design endlessly and strong egos can outweigh reason. For this purpose, it is vital to have an agreed-upon concept. This becomes a critical tool when delivering criticism. The process of always returning criticism back to the question of "how does it relate to the concept" helps to suppress a lot of emotions and loud voices." — John DeWolf RGD, Principal, Narrative Environments Studio 

"First and foremost, it is vital to establish an inclusive work environment that encourages designers to express themselves freely without the fear of judgment. Designers need a safe space for sharing their unique perspectives and ideas, being creative and seeking feedback. This openness paves the way for more direct and targeted feedback. When designers feel supported and valued, they are more likely to take risks, learn from their mistakes and be inspired to continuously improve their craft. By fostering an environment where everyone embraces imperfection and can learn from errors, we enable growth and innovation." — Magued Hanna RGD, Independent UX & Design Consultant 

"Feedback is an essential part of the design process. When working with designers, knowing how each individual handles feedback is important. Some people love it while others are more sensitive to it. If you know a designer is more sensitive, start by highlighting their design's strengths. Your feedback should be specific, actionable and focused on improving the design. If the feedback is significant, point back to the brief. Remember, a strong brief is the key to a smooth design process." — Diego Lopez RGD, VP of Marketing, Creative Compass 

"When giving feedback, I typically frame it as a question — Can we try...? or What if we...? I find that this approach encourages designers to adopt a habit of asking these types of questions themselves on future projects. Additionally, I make a conscious effort to use "we" or "us" instead of "you" when providing feedback. Designers are often emotionally invested in their work and can get defensive, so using inclusive language helps. I also always explain the reasoning behind my comment. By providing a rationale, I emphasize that these suggestions are based on objective considerations rather than personal preferences." — Karl Chen RGD, Freelance Senior Designer & Creative Director


John deWolf RGD

Narrative Environments Studio

Throughout his 30-year career, multi-disciplinary designer John deWolf has designed print, exhibitions, signage and wayfinding, brands, and interior environments. His many skills include designing accessible, inclusive communication systems, particularly for diverse audiences.  Design is not only physical and aesthetic, but also cognitive and experiential. Process, program, system, story, service, and experience are integral to Mr. deWolf's interdisciplinary approach. As a counterbalance to consumer culture, Mr. deWolf advocates sustainability, inclusivity, and social and community awareness.  John is driven by a desire to preserve culture and heritage, and develop public initiatives that benefit the community.
D

Diego Lopez RGD

With experience in research, brand strategy, copywriting and marketing, Diego Lopez RGD has spent the last decade helping brands of all sizes (from Porter Airlines, Manulife, Costco tobeloved local brands) find clarity and express authentically, so they can better connect with their audience.

Diana Campbell RGD

Alberta Blue Cross

Diana Campbell has been with Alberta Blue Cross® for the past 13 years, most recently as the Senior Manager of Digital Governance and Strategy. Prior to that, Diana in leadership roles within design, digital operations and web communications. Through her role, Diana has been recognized for her extraordinary commitment to innovation, purpose-driven strategy and customer experience. Focusing on long-term sustainable business practices and operational efficiencies, she has brought in new business growth and increasing retention rate on a multitude of digital platforms. Diana has an educational background in design, strategy, usability, change management, project management, digital marketing and behavioural economics. Outside of work she regularly volunteers within the accessibility/DEI space and spends most of her time with her two children.

Karl Chen RGD

Key Vision Design

Karl is an accomplished, award winning freelance designer, creative director and educator who strongly advocates for the idea that good design can help drive business success and address real-world challenges. During his tenure as Creative Director at Mosaic, Karl skilfully guided his team to deliver exceptional multidisciplinary design solutions for major global brands across various industries. With over 15 years of agency experience, Karl now applies his expertise to assist an exclusive roster of clients in achieving their design objectives through his creative studio: Keyvis.co Karl's current client list include: McDonalds, Amazon, Cadbury, Coca Cola, ABI/Labatt, Pinterest, Microsoft, Lowes, and M&Ms In addition, he is a professor at Seneca Polytechnic teaching interactive media, served as a guest speaker at the U of W Stratford School of Interaction Design & Business and as a judge and portfolio reviewer for the Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario. Karl is also a certified RGD (Registered Graphic Designer) in the province of Ontario.

Magued Hanna RGD

University of Toronto

As a creative leader with over 20 years of strategic management experience and hands-on expertise in various digital ecosystems and industries, I've built my career by designing insight-based, accessible products and experiences that engage, convert, and retain diverse audiences, ultimately driving organizational growth. Being one of the few UX Master-certified professionals in Canada, I specialize in creating and scaling consistent, cohesive, innovative, and highly usable omni-channel experiences. Notably, I've led the development of multiple company-wide design systems and the XE currency app, which boasts over 80 million installs. Along the way, I've successfully grown and led design teams, fostering collaboration, innovation, and a commitment to excellence.

In addition to my professional work, I'm an active Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) Board Director and Vice Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. I conduct portfolio reviews and RGD new member portfolio evaluations. Hosting monthly webinars, I champion accessibility for web and mobile spaces. Additionally, I share my expertise at industry events and teach UX/UI design at the University of Toronto, where I enjoy mentoring and identifying up-and-coming talent.


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