Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Importance of Criticism

One thing that always seemed to bug me was getting positive feedback. Don't get me wrong, compliments are great! It's just hard to do anything with them. Probably one of the most important things in design is being able to take criticism. And I don't mean putting up with comments, then going home in a huff because they didn't like your work. I mean really listening, and being able to see those changes that need to be made.

Whether it be from a client or a colleague, constructive criticism is needed if you ever want to grow as an artist. In fact, client feedback is the most important. Sometimes when we get into our work it's hard to look back and see things with fresh eyes. The thing I always do is get a relative/friend who knows squat about design to come look at my work. I mean those are the people who will be looking at an ad or logo, and it's their opinion that matters. Sure I know why I placed a circle in a certain spot or something, but that doesn't mean other people will.

Nobody is perfect, but it is hard to hear. After working all night on something you love, to show someone and have them say awful things about your work. It hurts! It's your baby, and someone doesn't like it. But once you get over the personal hit (which most people will always feel a little sting), that harsh comment can make you a better designer. Our job is to turn other people's ideas into realities. How can that be done if we can't take criticism? I mean it's not designed for our taste, but the taste of the client.

Not only for that, criticism also improves our skills. I don't think I ever grew in college by laughing at my instructor's opinion. There are always people out there better than you, with more experience. And that's not discouraging (or it shouldn't be anyway)! Every comment, whether positive or negative, brings you one step closer to becoming a better designer. If someone with years more experience tells me something doesn't look good, it's probably because it doesn't look good!

In the end it's important to take personal feelings out of the equation. People don't criticise to be mean, they usually criticise because they know it can be better. Once a designer lets go of their ego, I believe it becomes easier to grow and improve. One good way to see if your improving is to look back on old work as comparison. Chances are if it looks the same, then not much has changed!

So take those insults, soak in all that sweet sweet advice people! Because lets face it, everyone is not so great at first. But with time and actually taking constructive criticism, there can always be improvement. As an artist, I'm never really satisfied with my work. Usually I pick it apart after to see what I can do better next time. And no matter what level your level, or how skilled you are, there are always critiques to be taken, and growth to be achieved!

Next time you receive feedback, just remember to always look at the bright side. Sure it may hurt a bit, but imagine how much better it will look. Chances are, you'll look back on your work and know exactly what all those critiques were talking about!

So right now I've been working on a couple websites, as well as FINALLY making one for my work. I was getting tired of carbon made and really needed a site designed by myself. So below is the before and after. A perfect example of taking criticism and growing. First time I made the one at the top, I thought it looked SO amazing, my best work! Then my sister comes driving in, takes one look and says "oh that doesn't look like you at all!" It killed, all that work, all that time. So I scrapped it and started over. Because looking at it the next day I saw exactly what she was talking about.

Now I'm halfway through finishing the second design, and I can tell you I am SO much happier with the outcome. So thanks criticism!

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