Designer Tips: How to accept negative feedback on your creative work
by Heather Mitchell Provisional RGD, Freelance Graphic Designer
Whether you are just starting out as a designer or you have been doing it for quite some time, I believe it’s always important to be thoughtful in our approach to feedback among peers, team members and clients. As creatives, we pour our hearts and souls into our work. When we receive feedback, especially negative, it can feel like those words are directed towards the designer rather than the work. A personal response to negative feedback can affect a designer’s momentum and introduce feelings of doubt, making us question whether we’re cut out to work in the creative industry at all. Here are four key points I always try to remember when facing negative feedback:
Focus on kindness.
My number one advice for anyone in a creative field is to communicate through kindness. There is always a way to provide feedback (even negative) in a kind and thoughtful way. If you find yourself in a situation where feedback was delivered without kindness, take it as a learning experience and consider how you approach communication with peers and team members in future interactions.
Separate yourself from the work.
I have found it extremely helpful to distance myself from my work, especially at the critique stage. Do not perceive negative feedback as a direct reflection of your overall creative ability. Removing your personal connection to the work opens up room for improving your creative process and development and can help you see the other person’s point of view.
Grow, learn and do better.
Even if you disagree with the feedback being communicated, it is possible to find a positive spin. Feedback is a necessary part of the creative process that designers can use to develop stronger skills and improve the next time around. Take time to sit with the feedback and think about how you can apply it to the next thing you do, even if it’s for a totally different project.
Remember that nobody is perfect.
Once you recognize this, it becomes easier to accept feedback from individuals who might not be experts in constructive communication. Not everyone who is giving feedback will do so in the best way. Learn from your experience as the person on the receiving end, think about what would be most helpful to you and use that insight to help others feel more confident and excited on your next collaborative project.
I have always felt passionate about sharing my experiences and helping others, so I hope this is useful as you continue your creative journey.
Heather Mitchell Prov. RGD is a freelance graphic designer, artist and brand curator whose designs give business owners the confidence to market themselves without sacrificing their core values. With a BFA and eight years experience in the advertising and design industry, Heather has a talent for articulating the beauty within a brand and elevating it through visual storytelling for deeper meaning. Her grandfather, an artist, inspired her to live a life surrounded by creativity. Now, she models that same creative spirit for her daughter.