Kelsey Finley, Copywriter

“Nailed it!”

“Love it!”

“No changes!”

Oh, what writers and designers would give to hear these words every time we submit creative work. Our client is happy, our work is done, high fives all around. Yeah… it doesn’t usually work that way right off the bat. Nor do we expect it to. As creatives, we want the best for our client’s brand, not the glory of getting it perfect the first time.

To help us deliver the best, we need creative feedback. The clear, honest and constructive kind. When given correctly, feedback can vastly improve the quality of the work and our relationship with our clients. And while we’re pretty fortunate here at J.Schmid to work with clients who know what to say and how to say it, we know others aren’t so lucky.

Finding the right words does require a little extra effort, but it’s worth it. Here are a few pointers:

1) Be specific. This is the one place where oversharing is encouraged. Provide any and all details about objectives and strategy sooner rather than later. That way, we can fully understand what needs to be achieved and then execute it in the most creative way possible.

Instead of:
“This doesn’t sound like us.”

Try this:
“The tone here is too casual for our audience. We’re trying to get them to spend hundreds of dollars, so let’s shoot for a more sophisticated tone that communicates high quality and luxury.”

2) Focus on the work, not the people. Keep things objective. It doesn’t matter who did something wrong initially; what matters is getting it right as a team. Everyone’s just trying to do their best, so it’s also important to remember that how something is said is just as important as what is being said.

Instead of:
“You used the wrong font here.”

Try this:
“This is a different font than we’ve been using. We should keep it consistent throughout.”

3) Don’t tie our shoes for us. Fixing a problem without providing an explanation doesn’t allow us to learn from it. Instead, teach us how to tie our shoes. That way, we can apply those client preferences to every project, every time.

Instead of:
“Looks good. We made a few additional changes.”

Try this:
“Just so you know, we changed the word ‘salon’ to ‘barbershop’ because it’s more masculine.”

We realize creative feedback is a two-way street. All of us writers and designers need to be willing to listen, ask questions and check egos at the door in order to deliver the very best to our clients. A little extra effort from both groups can build a solid working relationship that only improves over time. And better yet, produce work that actually works.

Interested in talking more about the creative process and creating work that actually works? Shoot me an email at

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