This week Australia revealed their new $5 note. For a country known to be an agreeable bunch of folks, the reaction has been divisive and ruthless.
You can see for yourself the, well, colorful reactions to the new design. Sharing a design, and consequently opening the floodgates for public reaction, can be a sensitive process. With that in mind, here are tips to keep in mind when working through the design process:
Think about all user groups when reacting
Just because you may not see yourself using a product a certain way, doesn’t mean that people of different cultures, ways of thinking or abilities wouldn’t use it that way.
Case in point, one Twitter user reacted with the following to the new bank note: “I think they’ll be great for the Visually Impaired community in particular – I think people forget that!” A valid point, as the note has new features that the Reserve Bank of Australia made a point to include.
Considering the functional benefits of a product and the many ways different groups of people may experience the product can help lead to a more inclusive attitude and product.
Especially in business relationships, when critiquing someone’s work — no matter how much you may not like it — showing a little appreciation for the time and effort involved goes a long way.
Our graphic and digital design director, Jason Cowdrey, weighs in:
As a creative director, I have to evaluate work with a critical eye, and I need to be able to be honest about what needs to be done to improve it. Let’s face it, sometimes people miss the mark and need to be course-corrected. It still happens to me. With this case, somewhere along the line, someone should have taken the stand against that $5 note. You’re always going to get some negative feedback, but better that it’s at an internal review than a national reveal.
This practice is one that can only be perfected with experience and working with different designers, teams and their approaches. Not only showing appreciation, but making an effort to understand why certain design elements are present or their functional benefit can help neutralize subjectivity or preferences and advance the project forward. The same goes for the recipient of feedback — understanding why a concept may have strayed from the focus and keeping up a spirit of collaboration can ensure a successful result.
Keep in mind the end goal
Before sharing feedback, ask yourself if your suggested edits are in a spirit of collaboration and fulfilling the project goal, but don’t be afraid to just speak up if it’s warranted. Working with your team to get over a misstep is better than producing sub-par work. As Jason smartly put it, “Stopping bad design internally will save more hurt feelings in the long run than watching your work get pulverized by Advertising Age or on social media.”