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Are your designers giving you drab design?

Companies that have internal design resources often complain about the quality or creativity of the design that those resources produce. It has been my experience that the root of this problem often lies with the management team and how they interact with the design personnel.

Designers are not like other employees. Their incentives do not come from the same places that other workers do. A designer is always looking to improve and grow from a professional point of view. But typically what they receive is blank stares and general comments about how good their work is. Of course after the designer leaves the room without any useful feedback, and feeling like they accomplished their goal, the real comments begin.

“I didn’t like it.”

“It wasn’t what I was thinking.”

“They didn’t listen to the brief.”

The problem is that the management team and the designers are not aware that they aren’t talking to each other, and each side believes they are communicating. The two groups continue down their path until one side either leaves, get fired or worse they stay in the position for way to long and the management team seeks outside assistance.

Of course these statements presuppose that the designer is well trained, is creative and has potential to grow. Which is not always true.