How To Get Feedback And Improve Your Design Work
I recently got asked by Romica about what I would suggest are good ways to go about getting feedback from those with an eye for design, and how to develop your skills as a designer. There are a lot of ways I like to try and improve independently, but feedback is always helpful if you can get it.
For me, I had my apprenticeship to fall back on, during which I was working alongside more experienced designers. This was great for asking for feedback on work for the company, but also sometimes personal work too. More importantly though, and something which might be more transferable, it showed me the importance of watching how somebody else does something. By seeing how other people carry out a certain task allows you to spot where you’re going wrong. Look out for people who achieve the effect you want to achieve, and try and spot what they’re doing that you aren’t. Or – better – ask them.
However if you aren’t working alongside other more experienced people, there are other things I find helpful for development and experimentation.
I use Twitter a lot, as there’s a thriving design community, where many people share their work, so some good feedback has come from there. I know other people use Behance and Dribbble for showcasing work and receiving feedback.
I’ve also seen experienced designers offering ‘mentoring’ opportunities, where they’re happy to meet up, discuss work and generally help you out. While I haven’t had this myself, I have had a Skype call along these lines before and it was really helpful to hear somebody else’s thoughts.
Friends and Family
Speaking to people who are clueless in design can also be helpful sometimes. It’s wrong to expect detailed feedback, but everyone knows if they think something looks good or bad. Sometimes the trick here is to give people a choice between two options, and ask which they prefer.
Tutorials are also a lifesaver, even if you think you know how to do something, a good tutorial can still teach you something you didn’t realise. Tutorials are everywhere on the internet, and also in graphic design magazines (which I also love), and following tutorials can make you feel more confident trying something completely new, or outside of your comfort zone.
Other budding designers
One last thing I personally like to do is look at the work of amateur designers, who are still learning themselves, taking a look at their work and ask yourself what you think you could improve on. I know this seems judgemental, but sometimes seeing other people’s mistakes can make you realise your own. Also, it can be quite nice giving feedback to these people too (provided it’s constructive and not patronising), and helping them improve at the same time.
I hope some of these suggestions come in handy for you. Leave me a comment if you have any other suggestions of how to get feedback or identifying ways to improve.