In the previous two chapters of Design Essentials, we covered topics that dealt with the quality of your design: Originality, and Attention to Detail. While today’s essential design tip will help your designs look better in the long-run, this chapter deals primarily with the design process and how to openly accept criticism of your designs.
Good criticism vs. Bad criticism
Seeking out criticism
I know what you’re thinking: “You means I should actively seek out people who can tell me everything I’ve done wrong with my design and how to change it?” Frankly, yes. One of the biggest mistakes a designer can make is to believe that he or she is becoming so talented that they need no help from other people to create a good design.
But be careful. When you seek out criticism, make sure you go to the right sources. Be sure to ask for feedback from clients, other (preferably more skilled) designers, professionals in your field of work, your creative director if you have one, etc.
Offering good criticism
Also, focus on both the aesthetics of the piece and the overall purpose. Help them make it the most beautiful and most effective design piece.
When giving a critique, first try to understand the purpose, motivation, and ultimate goal of the design. Likewise, never make a suggestion without backing it with a reasonable purpose.
Tips on accepting criticism
Accepting criticism isn’t always an easy thing to do–especially for new designers. To finish up, here are a few suggestions on how to accept criticism gracefully.
- Remember, they are not criticizing you as a person, they are analyzing the success of the piece.
- A true friend will want to help your design be better. Remember that those who offer criticism only want to help.
- Just because someone suggests you change something, doesn’t mean you have to.
- Don’t be afraid to stand up for your design, but be humble enough to admit when you’re wrong.