Having worked with a whole host of clients from small businesses, charities through to large corporates, I'm constantly amazed at how similar responses to creative work often fall within the same camp of neutrality.
The positive ones
We like it, it's really nice
You smashed it
Thanks very much we'll get back to you
The negative ones
We don't like it
We supplied you the visuals and copy - is there a reason why they've not been used?
We've changed our mind on what we want - can you start again?
As a creative director there are countless times when even the most senior client surprises me with an unexpected response. I'm sure more often than not creative work is judged on 'Do I like it' rather than 'Does it answer the brief'. If it is the former, then this response is often what I have termed to be a 'Knee-jerk reaction', and a category of critique that shouldn't be taken seriously. In fact, the wider the stakeholder group, the more problematic this response becomes. I've likened it to a group of seagulls fighting over scraps of food floating on top of the shallows. By the time a piece of creative work has been picked over and the bare scraps are laid out for all to see - the brief at this stage has become a distant memory. The brief is there to inform and direct creative thinking.
Good design is not purely a knee-jerk reaction of 'Do I like it', rather it is a considered response that answers a problem in an intelligent, measurable way. Good design is problem solving that ultimately delivers results against business objectives.
Paraphrased quote 'Nothing dates quicker than aesthetic, but good idea will stand the test of time'.