6 things you NEED to know before you self-publish

How to get feedback you can USE

In a Facebook group exclusively made up of designers, I recently saw someone post variations on her own logo & ask, “Which one do you like?”

I see this kind of feedback request ALL THE TIME, and it drives me nuts.

After several comments came in about various designers’ personal preferences, the original poster finally commented and clarified her target market. People mostly continued to weigh in with their personal preferences, which were clearly not based on her target market. The whimsical script font was winning because it looked prettier. Meanwhile, her target market was largely male and working in industry. And even the name of her business was not well served by being written in a whimsical font. The mood of the font actually contradicted the words in her business name.

Asking a room full of your peers, “Which one do you like?” is REALLY unlikely to give you any useful information. “Which one do you like, and why?” might be a little bit better. But unless your peers are also your target market, they aren’t the best people to ask. Neither are your family and friends.

What to ask instead

A more useful question whould be “What concepts does this logo suggest to you?”, or “How does this make you feel?”. Then, as you narrow down which options are giving people the impression you want to give, you can get more detailed: “What kind of person do you think shops here?” “What level of service would you expect this place to offer? Nordstrom? Walmart? Something else (fill in the blank)?”

Of course, in order to use the answers you get, you’ll need to have decided what you’re going for in the first place. Those decisions need to be clear before you ever consider hiring a designer, or even going the DIY route - because if you don’t know what you’re trying to convey, you’re decorating an empty box. There’s nothing BUT personal preference to measure against.

Summing up: how do you get useful feedback?

  1. Know what you're going for. Know what moods and ideas you want your design to support. Make these decisions at the beginning of your process.
  2. Ask the right people. Know who you're trying to reach, and ask people who are in that group. If you don't know any, you're going to have to start working on that, too, or how will you sell anything to them? Find some. Start to develop relationships. And ask.
  3. Ask questions that get you what you really want to know. "Which one do you like?" is going to get you just that, people's personal preferences with little or no analysis of what they're actually feeling. Ask why. Ask what impressions they get. Dig deeper, so you know whether the effect is the one you want. That's a much more empowering thing to know.

 

 

​Get ​​what you need to know to get your next book cover (and all the other stuff that goes into self-publishing) right!

What works, what DOESN’T work, and WHY, so you’ll know what to look for on your next project whether you’re hiring a pro or doing it on your own. PLUS, you'll be the first to get your hands on my new guide to the 6 things you've GOT to know before you publish your non-fiction book - coming out soon!
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