Passive designer phrases we should eliminate from our vocabulary
by Tobias van Schneider
Despite their uselessness, these colloquialisms are pervasive among the creative community.
They're not quite buzzwords, but they have the same effect: They cause confusion and waste time. How many do you hear on a daily basis?
“I don’t hate it”
This is a cop-out phrase many designers and art directors use to avoid giving direct feedback. We’ve all been guilty of using it. The reality is that we don’t like whatever we’re responding to but don’t know how to give constructive feedback.
A better approach: Say what's on your mind, directly yet kindly. Or if you don't know yet how you feel, say you'll think it over and share your feedback by a specific time later that day.
“I’m happy with whatever you decide.”
Unless you’re a manager or director saying this to instill trust in the team you manage, then this phrase isn’t a good look. As a designer speaking to their team, creative director or client, this phrase essentially translates to “I don’t really care or have confidence in my own point of view.”
Instead, state your opinion. The more you do it, the better and more confident you become at it. Whether we're another designer on your team, a project manager or a client, we'll appreciate it. We asked for your opinion because we see you as the person most qualified to give it.
“Let me know what you think.”
This may be the most tired phrase in the creative industry, or possibly any industry. It’s a passive way to end an email and immediately reveals an amateur.
Here are some alternative phrases to try:
“I look forward to your thoughts” or “I’m happy with the result and hope you are too.”
(This ends on a positive note and prompts the recipient to respond positively in turn.)
“Is this approved? We’ll hand it off to the development team tomorrow if so.”
(This allows your recipient to respond with a yes or no answer, informs them of next steps and motivates them to approve so the project moves forward.)