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Learning From Criticism
We, as creative types, have the shortest end of almost every ego stick. Our day-to-day lives depend on our ability to produce original, though provoking, and truly stunning work. This does not lend itself to an humble lifestyle. However, if you’ve had a lucrative career as a graphic designer without experiencing any sort of criticism, we’d like to know your secret, Sensei.
Most of us will deal with criticism from the day’s beginning to its end. This doesn’t mean your work sucks: In fact, it’s quite a good thing! Dealing with the opinions and thoughts of others is normal. Still, it doesn’t often make it easy to handle, especially if you’re an Ego-Tripper like us! To help you out, user our tips to aide your ability to learn from criticism and grow as a designer.
Firstly, when someone has given you a series of critiques (whether positive or negative) the first thing you’ll want to do is take a step back. Once you’ve done so (and have cooled off, if necessary) think about what the comments were designed to improve. What ultimate goal is being reached for here? This means, if your client has told you about an area they’d like to see improvement in, why is it that area that needs improving? The quickest way to integrate criticism into your workflow is to determine where your objectives differ from the client’s, and then strive quickly to unify them.
Next, if something is still unclear about what the client wants, never be afraid to ask straight forward questions. This does not mean it’s acceptable to question every inch of your client’s motivations or comments. However, if you act in an egotistical manner and avoid asking direct questions about grey areas, you’re only shooting yourself in the foot. Eventually, you’ll find yourself wanting for more information, and without a little clarification, you’re only likely to do even more harm to the design.
And finally, be gracious to the host: Say thanks every now and again. If a client has stopped to give you their concerns, it means they genuinely care about the design, and feel like you’re capable of improving it in several areas. Criticism is a tremendously helpful process, and it will do you some good to learn to be grateful for it. Through critiques we grow, and there’s no better thing than that, in this business!
Posted on November 9, 2011
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