It’s easy to fall into this trap. You know the scenario… you’re knee-deep in a design and engaged in the back and forth of feedback and revisions. You are carefully revising your design, following the directions to the letter. Somewhere along the way, you’ve turned off your brain and stopped designing.

When you’re getting direction from a client, manager, art director, etc., it is easy to fall into the mode of just following instructions. You get so caught up in getting it right that you forget to keep thinking about the problem. In an effort to please, you take feedback as solutions instead of suggestions.

Of course it is totally understandable to take the ideas of those that pay our bills as gospel. But we should also be reminded that those same people hired us for our expertise. If they just wanted someone to follow orders, they’d probably have hired someone else.

Instead, feedback should be taken for what it is: suggestions, ideas, impressions, or reactions. In fact, feedback can be and should be a great springboard for new ideas. Let it be a new constraint that drives your design in new directions.

Sure, there are always situations where we need to compromise or ultimately let the decision-maker make the call. But I’d still rather respond to feedback with the revision that the client asked for plus a couple of ideas that take it a step or two further. I just need to remind myself to keep from falling into the trap.