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.

Creative Minimalist Posters

Have you ever been asked to make a poster but was given a copy text that had no more than three details? Or the opposite, where you were given an overload of details and thought to yourself, “how tf am I supposed to put all this without it looking like a mess?”

The answer, my friends, is minimalism. Now, some people find minimalism to be a bit too simple. So how do you make a minimalist layout “creative”? Here are some inspirations that I found from the trusty, Pinterest.

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Now, I don’t know what this poster says, but I love the use of color here. A red-orange with a simple image of a man, the use of typography–the cropped letters, and that vector “pants” (LOL). So many elements in here but it’s not messy.

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Geometric designs and monochromatic images are two trends that you can find in this poster. The smart use of triangles, and placement of the text are in synch. Very hipster, if you ask me…

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I sometimes like to describe layouts like these as basic. The use of basic colors in chunky blocks, and a basic font type in black. The layout is very symmetric that you could imagine the amount of Guides in AI (Adobe Illustrator) the artist used to make this layout. It’s simple, but eye-catching.

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Red is bold, and sometimes not preferred because it is visually too strong for the eyes to handle. But I’m guessing the artist here thought “there’s only a few text and I need it to stand out. What the heck. Red it is.” Smart.

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This poster here has a lot of information, but the artist managed to put a huge amount of space in the middle. The use of the image to capture its audience is a smart move. They were trying to attract artists to hire, which means the creator of this poster knows how to grab his target audience’s attention.

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The use of patterns are as old school as the existence of patterns. When all other design studies fail, patterns and abstract designs are here to save the day!

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A bold text to grab attention, a script font to add a bit of fanciness and/or to subtle down the bold font, and a thin font for details to differ itself from the bold font. A very smart use of typography going on here.

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What I love about this poster is the use of letters to give its audience an understanding of what it’s all about upon first sight. If you’re interested in typography, then you know what I mean. Again, the artist here knows how to grab the attention of his target audience.

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Now I don’t know what attracted me so much to this poster. I do not know what it says but I love it ‘cuz it just screams creative minimalism to me. Again, a bold font to grab attention, then thin fonts to give you the details. Amazing.

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What I like about this poster are the graphic elements. But the layout itself is what makes this stunning. It’s so simple, but you would stop and stare at it. It’s a layout that you don’t see everyday. It’s different!