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.

Coworking Spaces in Cebu City, Philippines

For the whole month of August, I have visited four different coworking spaces in Cebu City. I visited one coworking space every week for a whole week just to try them out. It was quite an adventure, I would say. There were differences in price, but the ambiance of most were just the same–industrial urban with a touch of creativity. Target market seemed to also differ judging by the location and price for every coworking space. Thinking of both at the same time led me to wonder, must the interior be dictated by the coworking space’s target market? Or is it dictated by the trend? Hmm, a topic I think i shall put on my list for things to blog about. But for this blog post, I will share with my experiences with all four coworking space here in Cebu City.

The Tide

 

Located on the seventh floor for Skyrise 1, IT Park, Lahug, The Tide is a big office space with office chairs and long tables arranged parallel to each other. Much like a college class or lab room, without the students and instructor. Parts of the white walls are decorated with black and blue graffiti, an artistic touch to inspire creativity. I mostly liked how quiet the place was, although at first I felt restless, but that was just my problem. I later got used to it and actually appreciated the quietness of the place. They have a pantry with a refrigerator, water boiler, and microwave. Tables and chairs for eating, though I never used it. Sitting and eating on my space was no problem and I preferred it that way. Their rate starts at P500/day, P1,500/week, P4,000/month flex seat and P5,500/month fixed seat.

A Space

 

Now this cool place is the office space of your dreams. It has a modern-industrial interior that’ll make you feel chill and yet excited to work in their space. In A Space, I spent all my time at their bean-bag lounge area. I preferred to sit there because being a girl with scoliosis, a chair without backrest is a nightmare. So it was the bean-bags for me, and I had no regrets. This cool coworking space is located at The Crossroads, Banilad, a place where all the other expensive places to eat, chill, and party are located. A pantry exists there as well, also with refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and tea. I made sure to get their free coffee and tea everyday. I had to, my weekly payment highly encouraged it. Their rate starts at P500/day, P2,000/week and P6,000/month all tax exclusive. So don’t be surprised when you see an extra charge of VAT 12%.

iiOffice Cebu

 

This time located in an area near mine, iiOffice Cebu would probably be my quick go-to. It is located on the second floor of Arinda V. paras Bldg. beside Shamrock which is just near Capitol Site. The interior, I would say, is more restaurant-like. Their big pantry with a bar and colorful chairs and square wooden tables gave me that idea or feel for the place. Coffee and tea was free, and they occasionally sold bread, sandwiches and Japanese snacks. Use of their refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker and water boiler was allowed as well. I would say their pantry was more fun than the rest. They had two sofas in the middle of their small space for either mingling, working, or napping.Their rates starts at P300/day and P4,000/month; meeting room for 6 persons is P500/hour and P600/hour for the 10-person meeting room.

Industri.Room

 

Conveniently located in an area where students of Southwestern University (SWU) come in and out of their school, this study lounge and coworking space is the cheapest. You would think it’s cheap so the interior would probably disappoint, but no. Industri Room is a small space, but the arrangement of furniture is strategically placed for easy traffic flow. The purple and violet walls are what makes the design of the space interesting. Normally, such colors for a work or study place would not be ideal, but somehow, it just worked. It must be the contrasting greys and greens of the chairs, sofas and pillows. The single booths are hilarious to me, but I often use this single booth near the pantry. Despite it being open on one side, it felt quite private. Now to my favorite part, the pantry. No, nothing here is for free. Everything was sold at an okay price. No complains here. Rate here is P25/hr BUT you have 2 hours of internet. So I guess if you only pay P25, you won’t get free internet. It is a study lounge after all.

*Just a side note: Don’t rely on Google Maps to tell you where to go. You’ll end up facing the second gate of SWU! Best ask for the location of SWU’s main gate. Industri.Room is located just beside it.

All in all, I had fun visiting these coworking spaces. I got to see how different they were from each other according to location, ambiance, and rate.

At The Tide I saw lots of foreigners, at A Space I saw lots of rich yuppies, at iiOffice there are lots of Japanese people, and at Industri Room a lot of students.

Industri Room requires a long walk by the invisible sidewalk from the main street to the main gate of SWU. While iiOffice is just along the road where traffic is mostly heavy.

If you are looking for a quiet place, an okay price budget for a day, and friendly people, I would recommend The Tide.

If you’re into a trendy-vibe, comfy bean bags, and prefer being surrounded by young yuppies. Then A Space is your place.

If you don’t mind a bit of a crowd, with a hint of road traffic noise on the background, but affordable and still a great place to settle with your laptop, iiOffice it is.

But if you want a more quiet place, somewhat private, and you don’t mind the long journey getting there, then I would suggest Industri.Room.

For my personal preferences, you’ll most likely see me at The Tide or at iiOffice. They are more convenient for me in terms of location, which is important to me. Have you decided which one you’d like to go to? If you have, maybe we’ll see each other there! ‘Til then, ciao!