What to Tell Designers Instead of "Make it POP!"

Brother and sisters, I confess I have sinned. I, too, have committed that terrible, soul crushing, demoralizing, and unproductive act of telling a designer to "Make it pop." I know, horrifying. However, I have decided that in order to make penance for my crimes, the least I can do is help future designers not have to experience such atrocities again.

Not only does "make it pop" not help anyone get what they want, it is a lazy, useless thing to say. With a few seconds more thought, you could choose from the following much more helpful selections of feedback when getting the design you are looking for:

It needs to do a better job of getting attention...

Maybe the problem is that the graphic designer did too good of a job.  The design before you is so pleasant to the eye that one might simply pass it up or be lulled into a calm Zen-like state that doesn't induce action. Encourage your designer to select a percent of the design to be more visually disruptive as to catch the attention of wandering pupils.

It needs to evoke an emotion...

Maybe your designer made a very happy design, but you want your audience to be a little disturbed, sad, excited, or nostalgic. Let your designer know the emotion you want to convey in the design.

I don't like this style...

Maybe you just don't like the style your graphic designer is using all together and think you can avoid a conflict by tip-toeing around the problem. Be direct and find some examples of designs you like and what you are looking for. Don't let them think a little change will work when you want a completely different look.

I want a damn starburst...

It's OK. If you want a starburst, just ask for it. We will judge you, but only a little.

Designers aren't telepathic…

If you are struggling to pin down what you are looking for, don't think that declaring obscure phrases like "Wow me!" or "Make it pop!" will help. Do a little work to pin down what you want, and your designer will reward you with great work.

Now, say ten "Hail Marys" and buy your designer a Starbucks gift card for penance.