I once worked with a designer who held a great disdain for creative reviews. They believed that there should be no single person providing feedback, comments or approvals for overall creative design strategies. The designer felt that this approach was authoritarian and dictates a single design vision that gives too much power to one person.
I fully understand the fear of having your work and the work of an entire organization ruled by a single person’s vision. It could suck the life out of every project and it could ruin every designer underneath said dictator as miserable and painful on a daily basis. It could create animosity and trust-issues between the design team. It could do a lot of things.
In my years of experience, I’ve never witnessed this once. I believe most designers want to create the best work possible. They want to be a part of a team that builds amazing things together. This type of building does not happen over night and it takes years of strategy, failures and long nights mulling over decisions to figure out the best path to take. Seasoned designers are aware of this path and know that the value of experience is something that can’t be taught in a design course.
The truth is, a design team needs to be led.
A design team needs a strategy that creates a sense of unity and cohesiveness that is grounded in solid design and has the ability to move forward with flexibility and scalability. A single leader (or a few partners) can serve the vision of building a brand from a digital space from top to bottom. It is essential to success of any company to develop this kind of foresight within a design team and make sure this effort is sustained from every project.
The designer who was fearful and upset at the idea is also the same designer who held an associates degree and had never once designed under creative reviews. Yeah.
So, this brings me to creative reviews. Yes, they are absolutely necessary. Yes, you need someone to make holistic decisions and build a design strategy throughout an entire digital perspective. The only way to communicate this is by having a leader communicate across various efforts with the ability to see all parts of a digital experience.
I believe the best way to do this is to put the responsibility of brand and design back onto the shoulders of the team that will ultimately be doing the work. The team carries the weight of experience and executes in their work on a daily basis. It should absolutely be the responsibility of these team members to help create and define what a create review consists of.
What are the expectations?
What are the limitations?
Who has the final say?
How can this effort better serve the entire brand/organization?
Rules for reviews:
Reductiveness is not allowed
Questions may be asked
Opinions may not be asserted
Greenhouse ideas with high level