One of the challenges to working with the church is some of the very opinionated feedback you receive from the pastor, committee, etc. When you get criticism what do you do? Do you get defensive, put up walls? Or do you embrace it in a way that results in great design?
Sitepoint has a great post that every designer working with the church should read. Excellent post. In fact, go read it and come back. I’ll wait …
See? Good stuff.
What did you think of the question posed at the end of the post? Is there ever a time when you don’t readily take feedback from a client and try to incorporate it into the project?
Here’s my take.
I always need to hear and consider the feedback, but I don’t always have to implement it. We have to get out of blindly thinking “the pastor is always right,” moving forward without any creative input … take their input, but the end product should be communication that is effective in carrying out the desired end result. That is success even if not everyone on the committee thinks it’s pretty. I want the pastor to love the design, but I also have a responsibility to speak into the process and educate the client. Remember this is not You vs. Them. Use the critique as a conversation starter and find the right way to express the message God has given them.
If you find that the critique is just critical and not constructive, guide them in how to give criticism. Ask them to fill in the blanks such as “I was hoping it would be more ______,” “It’s not telling people that _____,” etc. If you walk away wounded, if you find that those wounds are starting to have lasting scars, please have that conversation. Don’t let an offense build because as important as effective communication is, it’s not more important than people.