How to Handle Criticisms as a Graphic Designer/Artist

Being told your design is “not good enough” is a comment, every graphic designer receives more than once in his or her career. Sometimes they are said in the harshest of ways, sometimes in the most subtle. It will hurt, yes it will, but it’s part of your growth as a designer. Behind every success are repetitive failures, they say. But no matter how harsh or subtle the negative comment, my advice is to treat every one of them as equally educational.

Step 1 BRACE YOURSELF

They might shout at you, they might throw the harshest insults, or worse, threat to fire you. Oh boy. Your face is already sour, hands are sweaty, feet probably cold and shaking. You just got embarrassed in front of all of your colleagues. But remember, you are a strong employee and you will never show defeat. You are a fighter. You’re gonna stand there, look at him straight in the eye, and show no sign of intimidation. You are a professional. And professionals do not shout and look people down. Huh. That’ll teach him to shout at you for your terrible design that you probably made in less than 20 mins because that was the stupidest deadline they gave you. You calmly go back to your desk, walk as if nothing he said had affected you. You are focused now. Phew. The worst is finally over.

Step 2 MEDITATE FOR AT LEAST 3-5 MINS.

Give yourself a break, you just got shouted at and insulted. You deserve a nice warm coffee and snack of your choice. It does not do to dwell on negativity, so step back from it for a while. Relax with some food or meditation. Do whatever that will keep you calm and get yourself back to your zone. Just remember: you are strong, you are a professional, and you will not let negativity bring you down.

Step 3 CRY IF YOU NEED TO, YOU POOR LITTLE ANGEL

If being strong is not doable for you right now, let it all out. Rant if you want, but just don’t post it on Facebook. People lost their jobs doing that.

Step 4 STRAIGHTEN UP, SOLDIER

Face your problems like a mature adult. You’ve been told what you did wrong because they want to see better outputs from you. Look at the positive side to this–if they didn’t want you around anymore, they would have straight up fired you. But no, you’re still here, and you’ve been given a chance to fix that crappy design. Now is the perfect opportunity to grow as a designer. So pick yourself up and get ready to show ’em what you got.

Step 5 DESIGN EVALUATION

Is it really crappy? Well, sorry to tell you but it just might be. Your bosses are professionals and they know what their audience wants. They know their audience very well, and so you better get knowing them too. Ask yourself, what is it that makes it look bad? The layout itself? Is it too cluttered? Are there too much fonts? Too many unnecessary colors or elements? What did the boss say about it again?

Step 6 GO BACK TO YOUR BOOKS

It never hurts to go back to where it all started–studying. As you go about your Graphic Designing for Dummies, it hits you–“oh yeah! I forgot about that,” you might have thought. Good thing you have your trusty books…. Or the internet…

Step 7 GO AND CREATE, MY LITTLE STARLING.

You’ve done your reading, you’ve looked at design inspirations, and now you’re ready to re-conquer that task. You feel like you’ve opened up a new section of your creative brain and you’re excited to test it out. The moment of truth will come when you’re presented the second time around. Fingers crossed.

But oh, sh**. That boss of your is still not satisfied. Oh well. Back to Step 1.

Words of Advice

Guys, be open to criticisms. On your first presentation of your work, tell your team: “GIVE ME YOUR CRITIQUES. I want to hear them.” The more critiques you get, the better chances of making the perfect design. Plus, you don’t get shouted at or embarrassed, because it’s the critiques that you really want as a designer.

Praises are good, but they won’t let you grow. If you feel that you have been praised constantly, it’s time for you to move on to a more challenging work environment. The more challenges you face, the more reason to learn. The more lessons to learn, the better chances of growing.

When you get used to receiving critiques, the braver you get with your designs. You will become more open to ideas and to new trends that change almost every year. You will become more confident.

Be open to suggestions and comments. With an open mind, you will become more flexible and easy to work with. You will become the best player in the team because you’ve learned how to handle negativity. You’ve learned to take a negative comment, that was intended to bring you down, and use it to your advantage.

Pretty soon, people will start looking up to you, because you handle stress with finesse. From all that was thrown at you, you’ve managed to create wonderful designs. Boom, you’re one of the best now. Oh my God, you have become famous. Everybody wants to be you, be beside you, learn from you. Congratulations, and you’re welcome.

Author: riannecaballero

Former Writer. Full-Time Graphic Designer.

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