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  • Writer's pictureBrandilyn Christine

Embracing Critique: The Path to Growth and Excellence in Graphic Design

Harnessing the Power of Critique: Essential Skill for Graphic Designers

Developing the capacity to embrace critique is a crucial skill for graphic designers. Since a significant portion of work involves creating client designs, it becomes essential to recognize that these individuals possess distinct visions for how they wish to portray their business. As a graphic designer, your responsibility lies in materializing the client's unique vision onto paper.

Embrace the criticism

I actively participate in various design communities online, where individuals frequently share their design creations. Among these submissions, there is a notable disparity in quality. While some designs are skillfully executed and demonstrate a profound understanding of the field, others indicate that the person has recently acquired basic tool proficiency and adopted the "graphic designer" title. I have encountered instances where my critical feedback has resulted in getting kicked out of certain groups, and in some cases, I have even faced personal attacks.

Criticism is not "bad" for your mental wellness.

Individuals seem extremely upset if they are not constantly showered with praise, believing everything they create is the epitome of greatness. However, the reality is that personal growth cannot thrive in such an environment. Reflecting on my time studying graphic design in college, what remains vivid in my memory are not the affirmations of "this is awesome" but rather the moments when I received candid critiques like "This is garbage; you need to do better." Undoubtedly, those comments stung, particularly when I had invested countless hours and felt proud of my work. Nevertheless, it was through such feedback that I learned to evolve and excel in my craft. I have vivid recollections of the projects that received extensive criticism, and upon reflection, I realize that being labeled as "garbage" was not intended to inflict harm. In truth, those particular projects were genuine "garbage."

Here is some of my "garbage" from college. Nowadays, these designs genuinely amuse me. When I was first starting, I genuinely believed they were exceptional. However, if I were to showcase them now, I would feel embarrassed. Nevertheless, they serve as a compelling testament to my point.

Asking for a critique isn't just about expecting praise. Helping someone grow doesn't mean telling them they are always amazing. I get irritated when all I get for feedback is, "Looks great; I like it." Everything I do isn't amazing, and I want genuine criticism and other points of view so I can improve my work. I may not agree with every critique, but I respect and consider them.

If you put something out there asking for opinions, you've got to take the bad with the good; otherwise, you're just looking for a self-esteem boost, and honestly, if you need that, you have some personal work to do. Not being able to handle criticism is a sign of emotional immaturity. One shouldn't seek validation from strangers online or with your clients. It's not only unprofessional, but it's mentally unhealthy.

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