criticism anger

Designers are odd people, while their work turns them into maniacs that see every bad kerning in a newspaper, they usually have a harder time with people criticizing their work. Here is a few tips on how to handle it in a client/freelancer relationship.

  • Don’t take it personal
    Unless the person you are talking to is insulting you, the criticism isn’t directed at you but at your work. It is often hard to take a step back when working hard on a project and creative people tend to be very emotional about their work. While it’s understandable to react that way, it’s certainly wiser to accept critics for what they are: an fresh look on the work you’ve produce, not a judgement on your person.
  • Help your interlocutor to formulate his critics
    Many times my clients are trying to tell me that they are not satisfied with one thing, but they are just too broad in their critics. Force them (nicely) to be specific about it by asking them accurate questions. People are not all artistic directors, help them to formulate their thoughts.
  • Write it down
    This is a technique I often use when I think that a client is absolutly wrong. I write his critic down and tell him that I’ll think about how to solve it. Then by the next time you meet him, he will not have forget his critics but he surely will be more used to the design and more likely to accept it. Of course this technique should only be used when you are confident about what you’ve done, otherwise it may as well become counter-productive.
  • Don’t try to justify yourself
    Arguing about critics will only give one impression to your interlocutor, he will think that you are being defensive and can’t handle criticism. That will surely have an impact on the conversation and make it less productive. By not trying to justify yourself, you’ll just come out looking more professional.

Thanks to pea2wenty3 for the photo.