I am delighted to introduce to you a new series of posts called #overheard. Here you will find captivating and insightful content based on the most interesting excerpts from design podcasts (and not only).
This post is an excerpt of the most interesting thoughts and information from the podcast “Design is like this: How to talk about design” (authors Nikita Lakeev, Roman Nurgaliev + guest Alexander Zazvonov).
How to Present Design
- The first design presentation should never be the first encounter with the client. If you are presenting something to an extended group, let’s say 25 people, including 6 product designers, reach out to them beforehand and have a conversation. After the presentation, they will be the ones working with your design, not you.
- Having a large number of mockups in your presentation is not good. Especially if a client has requested a logo for an auto repair shop, and you show them a mockup with a mug featuring the logo. It’s better to create mockups with cars, working forms, or elements closer logically to the product.
- Approach the presentation from a discussion standpoint. If you are in a defensive mindset, you’ll spend the entire presentation defending your design, and there won’t be room for constructive feedback. So come to the presentation ready to discuss.
- You may create 400 layouts only to find out that they need 500 others, completely different. Designers should present the logic embedded in the design.
- To receive valuable feedback, ask specific questions. A vague question like “Hey, what do you think?” will elicit vague answers.
- When meeting someone who has only 15 minutes for the meeting, you should prepare five times longer (15 minutes * 5 = 75 minutes).
- Ask yourself, “Why do you need this presentation?”. You have 15 minutes with the CEO, product owner, or decision-maker, and you need to understand what they can contribute to your design. This is the main question you need to answer. As a CEO, they have a broader view and can provide input on how to strengthen certain aspects of your design (do it at the end of the presentation). At the beginning of the presentation, focus on explaining the logic behind your decisions.
- When evaluating design, avoid labels like “beautiful/ugly” or “do you like it?” and so on.
- If during the discussion, feedback reaches the level of “I don’t like the green color,” respond with “either green or none” or move on and use a different color.
- Imagine the person heading the company personally doesn’t like the color green, and you hear, “You know, I don’t like this design.” It means you structured your briefing and conducted the presentation incorrectly. The mistake is not in their feedback; the mistake lies in how you briefed and conducted the presentation.
- Roman’s advice → From this “fog of war,” you can start with something general: let’s determine what works well and what they definitely like. Then proceed more structurally (typography, okay or not okay, photography, keep or replace? Replace, okay).
- Communicating with people in the context of design (designers and others knowledgeable in the field) and outside the context of design (people removed from design) requires different approaches.
How to Comment on Design
- Alexander Zazvonov → When a designer presents something, I ask them to explain the logic behind it.
- When someone asks for help in understanding something, asking questions instead of telling is crucial. It’s possible that the person seeking answers will find the solution to their own question during the discussion or when explaining the task. Paradox.
- Questions work best because they can guide people.
- An art director (or any immediate supervisor) molds their team according to their own style. Since you will continue working with them, there is a certain “screening” process in the company. Either you work in a certain way or not at all. The designer then decides whether to stay and work within those rules or find another studio with a different art director and different approaches (although there are no guarantees that it will be better).
P.S. from Alexander Zazvonov
Exercise: “How to present and be ready for anything in the process”
We gathered a presentation with 30 random images, and the person had to present it as a coherent presentation without knowing which images would come next. Initially, it may seem absurd and amusing, but it actually trains the brain and sharpens thinking skills.