As a designer, you really cannot do away with criticisms from fellow designers, clients, friends and others. This is just natural for your work is seen by others and is aimed to give a good visual impact to other people. For sure, you will be thankful for the positive inputs they will give you. Some designers even want to hear criticisms from other people in order to help them improve their work. Clients also criticize works in order to help a designer achieve optimum efficiency. They want to have a good output for their project.
There are two types of criticism. Good criticism or constructive criticism to help designers strengthen their areas of weakness and bad criticism or pessimistic criticism just to create an argument. Well, whatever type of criticism it is, one should be able to deal with it positively. It is important that you could turn negative things into positive ones in order to make you a better designer. Here are some tips to help you deal with criticism positively:
1. Have self confidence.
First and foremost, you should have self-confidence so that whatever comes your way, you will be able to stand for it. It is important that you have this self trust so that you can work well and face criticism positively. But you need to keep in mind that you are not perfect. Be ready for criticisms to come but make sure that you have enough self-confidence that whatever others will say about your works, you will never lose that designer in you.
2. Be a good listener.
Whenever you face clients and they criticize your work, allow them to. Just let them talk and say whatever they want to say. Just listen to them and nod once in a while. Don’t worry for they will get tired of saying all those things and will suddenly stop. When they come into a halt, it is time for you to speak and explain your side. Do not argue with clients. Learn to listen more and speak less. Always remember that patience is a virtue and you do not need to quarrel with clients. If they are difficult on you, just be easy on them.
3. Distinguish the type of criticism.
Be able to differentiate and determine if it is a good or a bad criticism. Clarify the intentions so you will know what type of criticism it is. Good criticisms help you to improve your work while bad criticism is mere argument which sometimes includes personal insults. If someone gives you a good criticism, listen to it for it will surely be helpful. These are constructive ones which not only help to improve your work but will also help you to be a better person and a better designer. If someone gives you a bad criticism or a pessimistic criticism, do not just let them insult you. You can tell your client that it is already beyond your work and what he is saying is no longer appropriate for a professional transaction.
4. Control your anger.
Being a professional also means you need to control your anger. Those people who cannot control anger are usually not successful in their fields for they tend to do some things without weighing if it is proper or not. When someone utters lots of comments which seem to irritate you, do not allow your emotion to play over your professionalism, especially if you are dealing with a client.
5. Be humble.
It is okay to defend and explain your side well. After all, your design will be worthless if you cannot defend it well to those who give criticisms. But if you are wrong, admit your mistake. It is important to stay humble. It doesn’t mean that just because you are gifted with talent, you can never be wrong. Remember that humans make mistakes.
6. Use your intellect.
When faced with bad criticisms, instead of arguing and quarreling with him, answer it with confidence, intelligence and dexterity. Give a logical and rational explanation that will make the client realize that you are really professional and what he is saying is totally pointless. Use words and language that will not make you look like you are biting his hook for an argument. Let him know through your words that you’re an intellectual person.
7. Do not panic.
There are times when the client just spill out some suggestions and deadlines which may seem hard for you. Do not panic in a situation like this. If you hear these impractical things, accept it but clarify it to them what minimum time is required to finish the project. At least he knows what is really possible. By doing this, you are showing the client that you are a competent designer but do not make him expect much. It is always important that you discuss the design process with him and how much time is needed for every step. Educating the client is relevant.
8. Do not take it personally.
Bear in mind that they are not criticizing you as a person, so don’t take those criticism personally. You should be thankful that someone is giving you some feedback about your works. This can be greatly helpful if you know how to deal with it positively. If someone is giving you criticisms regarding a project, it means that he is analyzing the success of the project.
9. Clarify the intention.
Before you react or say something, try to determine the intention of the person. You will know this by listening to his words and looking into the points he is trying to give emphasis on. A person who wants to help you make your design better if offer you good criticism and you should be thankful for this.
10. Remember that you still have your freedom.
When you hear suggestions and comments from other designers, it doesn’t really mean that you have to do it. You still have that freedom to choose if you would like to apply it or not. Anyway, it is just a suggestion. But it would be different if it is your client you want to change something. If you think that the suggestion of the client is for the betterment of the design for it to be more appropriate for them, then do it. But if you think it is not good, explain that well to him and for sure he will understand.
Criticisms are part of being a designer. A criticism could break you or build you. Do not allow this to take away your enthusiasm to work. There is an adage that says "To Escape Criticism,Do Nothing, Say Nothing, Be Nothing." But designers don’t just sit and do nothing. A designer’s life is always colorful and full of challenges; hence, criticisms will always come along the way. It just really depends on how you face it. If you take it positively, it will bring in good results. It is important for us to learn how to look at the brighter side of things.