If you’ve ever tried to work with a committee of stakeholders on a design project, you may have experienced some frustration getting the group to come to an agreement.
For most people – especially those who don’t have experience in the creative field – the process of creating a logo or developing a website is not familiar. But successful design projects require valuable insight and feedback from key stakeholders. So how do you find the balance that enables you to give great direction to your creative team without derailing the project with indecision or conflicting opinions?
When thoughtfully approached, committees can lead to successful design solutions. There are some essential ingredients that help make the design recipe run smoothly with all the cooks in the kitchen. Here’s our recipe for success when it comes to design by committee:
- Assign one single point of contact. This is essential! This go-to person is able to consolidate stakeholder input into a summary that provides clear and decisive instruction to the creative team.
- Only include key stakeholders. Not everyone who wants to be involved needs to be included. Keep in mind the goals of the project and try to select members who will contribute to the process. If you want to include your whole team or a larger group of people in the process, consider having them vote on a few concepts that all stakeholders have approved as viable options.
- Engage stakeholders early. Don’t wait until you have concepts to share. Solicit their help in completing the creative brief and establishing the project goals.
- Understand the scope. Communicate the scope of the project to each committee member and make sure they understand the process and what to expect at each phase.
- Share your experiences. Poll your committee to see if they’ve ever been a part of a branding or design project before. What worked well for them? What didn’t? Share your findings with the creative team.
- Agree on the goals. Ensure that the whole committee is aware of and agrees to the goals of the project before design begins. Get them to sign off on goals and the creative brief.
- Leave personal preferences out of the decision. Each person on the committee should understand the difference between personal preferences and what’s right for the organization’s brand and audience. They may need to be reminded of this in each round of revisions.
- Leverage the expertise of your creative team. Consider having your creative team present the initial concepts to the committee rather than doing it on your own. As creatives, we are used to providing rationale that helps connect the concepts back to the goals of the project. And we know how to steer the conversation and feedback in a constructive, effective direction.
- Provide clear and comprehensive feedback. When providing comments to your creative agency, combine all stakeholder feedback into one communication with clear action steps. Avoid feedback that is ambiguous.
- Let us know how we can help. We know the design process – but you know your stakeholders. Keep us in the loop and let us know how your team is responding. If we can help clarify anything, we’re happy to do so!
The creative process is meant to be fun – and it’s intended to solve problems rather than create new problems. As your brand partners, we’re always willing to adapt to the various ways our clients work, even if it includes working with multiple decision-makers with various backgrounds and perspectives. So let’s consider this recipe a starting point that we can modify based on your organization’s goals, processes and players. Together, we can create a design success!