What do you do if you’ve labored for hours (or days or weeks) over a design and your coworkers just don’t like it?

When I create something new, I always show the prototype to a few key people as I’m in process.  I can get their early opinions and shift my design if it’s necessary before spending too much time and energy on it.  In my dream world, I would use 5 or 10 minutes of our monthly staff meeting to project my designs on the big screen, and everyone would care as much as I do about colors, images, and spacing, and readily and openly share their thoughts on each element of the publication.

But this doesn’t actually happen in real life…you’re lucky if you get someone to say “yeah, I like it,” right?  And if they say something negative, like your design is too simple, or that it misses the point, or that –gasp– it’s unprofessional, it almost becomes a personal affront. This is because design often feels very personal after you’ve poured your time and energy into it.  However, it’s important to remember that when someone contests your handout, infographic, or web slides, they really aren’t attacking you.  It’s likely that the person is just coming from a different perspective, and it’s worth hearing them out and considering revising because design, in essence, is not personal at all.  Design is for the public, so it is of the utmost importance to consider the public’s reaction to a design.

A situation like this recently happened in my library, and the solution was to have our staff vote in an anonymous survey (we used SurveyMonkey) on their top choice between two designs.  Be prepared, though, in a democracy, your choice doesn’t always win!