Wherever you work, criticism comes as a part of the work flow. At times the criticism even warrants a reaction from you. Most of the time, ignoring it is what we are used to doing. Criticism when given and taken in a positive manner, can actually b a boon to the work flow. One does experience above average criticism in the design departments. Read on to learn more about criticism, and how you can handle it effectively.
Criticism is the positive and/or negative aspects of a project from different points of view. It is a passing of judgment of a person or a project from a personal point of view. Usually, criticism highlights on the negative aspects alone, unfortunate as this may sound. It is usually NOT taken well. No one wants to be judged negatively on a personal or professional level! Having said that, criticism is a critical part of any work flow. People ARE wrong sometimes, and if their managers do not point out the faults in the work flow, how else would an employee ever improve?
Is it Any Good?
In one word, YES! Criticism can be helpful when taken in the right spirit, although it can be destructive as well. It usually depends on where it is coming from. We have all experienced people who simply criticize everything they ever see! No one takes criticism from such a person in a positive way, and that is quite understandable. On the other hand, we have all criticized a person at some time or the other, some of us do it in a subtle manner while others are quite outspoken about it.
Negative criticism is one where the person being criticized is treated disrespectfully. The root of this can lie in professional jealousy or plain ignorance. Negative criticism highlights a problem but leaves no room for solutions!
Criticism CAN be Positive
Constructive criticism can even be a pleasant experience! This involves giving accurate feedback, and including positive feedback with the negative. A manager giving constructive criticism would not only point out a flaw in the work process, but also suggest on improvements and solutions. As a manager, constructive criticism earns the respect of the team when the manager displays expertise and maturity.
Criticism in the Digital Age
The digital media has long overrun traditional media. Criticism was at one time limited to news papers and magazines. The Internet on the other hand provides a huge audience to just about anyone who can get on a blog or a social interaction site.
Criticism in the Design Department
Criticism is a part of any job you will ever have. While some of us take pride in the fact that we can brush aside criticism and simply move on, we need to realize that that criticism could actually help us get better at what we do. Doing what we are trained to do is not a very challenging task, but it is harder to break bad design habits one may have gotten stuck with along the way! Self criticism is fine, but it could also mean we get stuck with possibly low standards that we set for our own selves. Criticism from another person can take your work to a whole new level. Further, talking to a critic can force you to enhance your communication skills, regardless of whether the criticism is fair on unfair! Communication is of course a crucial ingredient in a designer’s skill set. If your ego is bruised by criticism, coming across as a humble and eager to improve designer can make the difference between a happy client and an unhappy one!
Negative criticism can often lead to arguments in the work place, and people lashing back at each other with unkind words.Do keep in mind that design is a subjective department, and very often you will get varied feedback from different people. It is a matter of personal choice whether an individual finds your work appealing or not. In other words, keep in mind that you are never going to be able to come up with a design that impresses everyone! Do try and understand that criticism is not always a personal attack, although very often it IS!
Minimizing Chances of Negative Criticism
Negative criticism is not pleasant is it? Why not try and avoid it as much as you can, by doing as good a job as you can in the first place? Get a very clear idea of what the client wants before you go out and start designing the web pages. Is the clients looking to address certain problems through the design? Conversely, the critic, if it isn’t the client himself, needs to be well informed of the project details before giving negative OR positive criticism. As a designer, when you have your objectives, and the objectives of the project crystal clear in your mind, you are able to respond to criticism accurately, and even correct the critics where required!
Check Your Own First Reaction
Do you usually lash back at people the minute your hear them criticizing you? This is never right, even if the criticism is out of line. If it is a critical comment or email, why not let it remain unanswered until you are able to evaluate the comments and react to them in a clear and controlled manner? It is far better to simply walk away from an unpleasant situation than to say something which you may regret having said later? As hard as it may sound, try and believe that the critic is trying to make you a better designer, and this is the effect he will have even if he is purposely trying to intimidate you. I know – that is easier said than done. However, if you are able to effectively do this over a period of time, you are the only person who is going to benefit from it. You can even turn negative and hurtful comments to your own advantage, and become a better designer than you already are! So try and look at the positive side to even a negative comment about your work. Try and filter out the useless or emotional comments from those that are informative and objective – and only address those. On the other hand, it is never a good idea to make emotional and hurtful comments from your end as a designer.
Make A Genuine Effort to Understand Criticism
We have all gotten irrational feedback at some point or the other in our work lives. Try and ask the other person questions like ‘Can you help me understand your point of view, because I simply don’t see it right now?’, ‘Could you provide me with more detail?’, and – ‘How can I improve on this for you?’. Asking for specific details shows the critic that you are a mature designer and you are not going to walk away from criticism, but do whatever you need to to get things done. This will also force the critic to think twice before he makes another pointless comment about your work! The end result can only be a healthier flow of communication. Why not even end with thanking the critic, regardless of the fact that the criticism could have even been aimed at hurting you? This ensures that you do not close out doors to constructive criticism in the future. The thankfulness is rarely ever anticipated from a critic who expects you to come out guns blazing, and this can lead to friendships at best, and future positive criticism at the very least!
Getting Positive Criticism on the Internet
If you are new to criticism on the Internet, you are probably not used to getting up front raw comments made about your work. Try and not be over sensitive to comments made on forums. Pioneer designers on the Internet still feel the sense of freedom that comes with open criticism on forums, and they themselves continue to drive some of the rawest discussions on the Internet. Online conversations are often as honest as they can get, they are real and they are critical and you will need a thick skin to take everything that people say about you, with a pinch of salt. Do NOT take it personally, because it was never meant to be personal on the Internet.
At times, the best reaction is no reaction at all. At times you may purposely want to drive a raw conversation simply to get people talking about your work!
Popularity and Criticism
Along with popularity comes criticism, whatever field you work in. The more successful you are, the more are the number of people who are jealous of your accomplishments,a nd tend to make negative comments about your work just for kicks! A successful designer needs to understand this, as well as the fact that once you are a popular name in the industry, your work is judged with a different and more stringent yardstick used to judge the work of a beginner.