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Article: How to Take Constructive Criticism As A Designer

How to Take Constructive Criticism As A Designer

Working as a designer is not always sunshine and rainbows. There're lots of times that you will take constructive criticism. So, how should you handle this?

Working as a designer is not always sunshine and rainbows. There are times that your creativity is hit by reality and people's perspectives. Thus, creating criticism from their feedback. Some designers might find that what people say about their product is a big punch in the face. But, a wise designer can take it like a champ and handle it healthily. 

But how to do that? Some people might have a grounding in being a very patient person. But how about the hot-headed ones? There is always a way to take constructive criticism in a good way. This kind of constructive feedback and criticism is a very common occurrence for designers. Don't worry, and you are not alone on this side of the job. 


1. Maintain Your First Reaction 

When it comes to feedback, unfortunately, many people have a hard time taking constructive criticism. In many cases, many of the designers react with defensiveness and anger due to the feeling of being unappreciated. In the worst case, this act can end up attacking the person that is giving the feedback. It can happen when the feedback is not constructive.

But that is not the reason to get unhappy with the criticism. The feedback is what you need as part of the job, especially for designers. Your idea and the client's perception might clash, thus creating heat of the moment. It happens very often, and what you need to do as a designer is to get over it and take constructive criticism. 

Underline that there is always value in every criticism. This is a way to identify your weakness, thus hold all your reactions and put your ear to learn more. The idea is that they give you constructive critics since they recognize the strength, the weakness, and what you are lacking. It can turn into a tool to overcome your problem as a designer. 

At the first sign of any criticism, you can just stop doing anything and your reaction. It can be hurtful when hearing the feedback and take constructive criticism. But you are the designer that is in charge and responsible for the job. So, you need to make sure that the client's constructive feedback reaches your work. Then, you can turn the disapproval into a positive or motivation.  

Take constructive criticism easily and don't take it personally. Think about the business behind it. If you lose control, you might lose the project. As a designer, it can be doom for your career. If you are a person with a tendency to react negatively to this kind of criticism, try to stay calm and listen. It will help avoid escalating tone and being over defensive.


2. Listen To Understand 

It is not easy to take constructive criticism and make a positive point from it. Many designers found that the feedback is rather heartbreaking and hassle. But this is the time you keep your mind open. The idea of being a professional censure taker is to control your reaction and keep your brain working. Recall all the benefits and process the feedback. 

This is the time for you to engage in a more productive dialogue. As a competent and thoughtful designer, you can't be a stubborn person. Remember that you are working with other people, so open your ear and mind. Listen closely and allow your client to give complete constructive feedback without any interruption. 

In other words, let the criticism flow. Don't keep quiet; jot down some of the points that you want to discuss or have objections to. This is where you find whether the criticism becomes a constructive one or not. Underline that you don't need to interrupt, but still, allow yourself to engage in the process. So, you can take constructive criticism and improve your designer work. 

As a designer, you have the competence and understanding of the project. If they are asking about some details, answer. But try to be as open-minded as possible. So, your line of thought will not disrupt their constructive feedback. It can be hard at some point since your work is getting criticism. However, the key is to be receptive. 

Is it enough to listen and write? At this point, yes, it is. You are okay by only giving minimal responses and take constructive criticism. It will eventually help people give unbiased feedback. Underline the fact that giving reproach is not easy, especially the constructive one. Many people misunderstand the idea and blatantly protest rather than give something helpful.  

So, try to listen carefully for whatever the feedback is. Try to avoid any acts that lead you to analyze or question another person's assessment. It will only make you lose count or focus in the process. So, try to understand the perspective and comment instead. The key to taking constructive criticism for designers is to be open, receptive, and get the benefit of the doubt in the feedback. 


3. Remember The Function Of The Feedback 

Until this point, you might find that some of the feedback or criticism feel like complaints. Believe it or not, it happens a lot. Understand that telling what they have in mind about your work might be a burdening task. They may feel nervous and unable to tell the real constructive details. Thus, it sounds like a complaint or protest for the designer. 

Again, your job as a designer is to accept whatever the criticisms are. Remind yourself what the benefit of the feedback is and how hard it is to say. It eventually will help you understand the sense of being a receptive person. Take constructive criticism and underline that it is mostly part of the job with some other details that help your progress. 

Remind yourself that there are many benefits of receiving constructive feedback or criticism. It will help you improve the product, designer skills, relationship and help you meet the expectation of your clients. That is why this part will never be absent from your long designer career. And you will need to nail it down to improve as a designer. 

There is also a point that you need to underline that this does not only happen to your client. You need to take constructive criticism like a champ from everyone. Don't only show respect to a client or higher person. You need to do the same for whoever is delivering the disapproval. It includes a fellow designer, co-worker, or someone you hate. 


4. Say Thank You For The Feedback 

When the person giving the criticism has finished sharing their ideas, this is the time for you to think and do self-examine. However, don't forget to say thank you as a way to express your gratitude. This generous action is not as easy as you think, especially if you are trying to take constructive criticism with all your heart. After all, a designer needs to know how to appreciate others. 

Try to look at the person's eyes and thank them for sharing the feedback. Be deliberate and tell your appreciation for the feedback and criticism, no matter if it is constructive or not. As a designer, you need to show them that you are willing to accept other people's opinions and work around them. It not only gives you a great impression as a receptive person but also a relationship. 

One thing for sure is many people are still afraid of giving or expressing appreciation. From a plethora of motives, one of them is because people think you agree with the assessment. The idea of taking constructive feedback is not merely agreeing. You are saying thanks for sharing ideas and will think or consider the assessment. 

Giving thanks is purely a way to show that you are recognizing the evaluation and appreciate it. In other words, you are grateful for whatever they share with you and help bump up your designer career. It also helps show that you acknowledge the effort of giving feedback. And so, you will show them that you can take constructive criticism.  


5. Ask Questions To The Feedback 

After saying thank you and give your appreciation, now is the time to process whatever you got. Most of the time, you will find the feedback is lacking or not explaining exactly what you want (in the design). While you are trying to be an open-minded designer, you can also ask for more details or clarity and share your perspective. 

However, always make it calm and stop trying to defend yourself. The idea is to avoid debate and take constructive criticism. The main point is to ask questions and get to the root of the real issues. Your constructive feedback should help you figure out your designer's work flaws. At some point, it might be something that you will miss. 

So, what should you ask the person? You can take constructive criticism and turn it into more beneficial feedback by digging into the real problem and possible solutions. It can be quite hard to do, but not impossible. As a designer, you need a lot of understanding and an open mind, which later help you develop more ideas or details. 

In this case, you can ask constructive questions that help you understand the problems. If you found that the feedback includes some criticism, such as unmatching color or branding, then ask why. You can throw some basic questions such as what kind of color that you think helps introduce the branding. Give some hints that you are considering other options. 

It is not only trying to tell your designer competencies but also how receptive you are. The key to asking questions as you take constructive criticism is not particularly easy. But again, you can take the feedback as a way to make your designer work better. Maybe, you got a little misunderstanding about the color selection or branding. 

In many cases, you can use four points when asking questions. The first one is to throw questions to help you understand the feedback and the issues. You can also enquire or make a statement to acknowledge the criticism that is not in dispute. It will eventually put you as a neutral designer. Thus, it helps you use constructive feedback as positive reinforcement. 

You can also try to understand whether the feedback is an isolated issue. This kind of question mostly relates to mistakes you or your client made once. After that, you got the chance to ask for another constructive response to find a concrete solution. It will eventually help you underline the feedback and take constructive criticism like a pro.  


6. Using The Feedback To Improve Yourself 

You can use the feedback as a gas to power your creative job. As a designer, you can take constructive criticism to improve yourself or doom your career. No one wants a bad ending. That is why a designer needs to use it to improve their job. So, how to do it? The first point is to stop viewing the mistakes as failures. 

Many designers see that their criticism is a big doom to their career, especially for people with strong idealism. The idea is that everyone is not perfect and is also bound to make mistakes. Every mistake is just another lesson to be learned. And in this case, you can find it in the form of constructive feedback or some spicy criticism.

The second thing you can do to take constructive criticism and make it beneficial is by asking or getting a second opinion. As a designer, you will find many different sides and people's perspectives. One might like your work, while the other might give you some crazy criticism. At some point, constructive feedback can sound very aggressive for others.  

Rather than getting confused, you can get a second opinion about your act or designer work. Ask other people why they like or dislike your work. It is also better to ask for opinions and feedback from unbiased people. It eventually tells you the reasons and motive behind such constructive details in their critics.

The last thing that designers need to take constructive criticisms about is to ask questions and define plans. After asking questions about the feedback, the constructive details, and critics, continue to define the plan. It is a great time to tell you that the criticism poses merit to help you. Ask yourself to address the issues, find the mistake, why it happens, how to avoid it, and what you should do.  


7. Ask Time To Follow Up 

As a designer, your job does not end until your customer is satisfied with your work. Of course, you have some limitations regarding revisions or others. After the conversation and criticism, you deserve time to think further. To take constructive criticism, you need to agree with some issues and constructive feedback. So, you got the time to move on and continue your designer job. 

A professional designer needs to make sure that they got everything planned before going forward. If it is possible, you, as one of the designers, can discuss everything through the feedback session. You can ask everything that needs to be understood, agree, or tell your perspective. If you can make it clear right away, it will help you save time in revising the design. 

Another good point is that this kind of feedback is not always given during the process. At some point, you need to take constructive criticism after the work is done. For example, online comments say your design is lacking proportions but is rich in vibrant color. Take it as good feedback, say thanks, and make it to help improve yourself. 

But if the feedback or the criticism force the designer to make such a large change, you can take your time for the follow-up. It happens a lot with revision. So, you can thank the person and close the conversation. After that, start working with the feedback. A larger issue that might relate to the project tends to need follow-up meetings for more constructive feedback.

As you get the time to ponder and think, take this time to improve your designer work. Again, to take constructive criticism does not mean agreeing with all assessments. But you need to consider whatever people say or their criticism. Push it as a constructive disparagement. Take your time and seek advice from other designers, consider the criticism, and think about the solution.


8. Send Follow Through 

If you want to be seen as a professional designer, you can send or plan follow through to show your improvement. The idea is to present and solve the feedback and show that you are committed to improving. It is one of the best closures for you who want to take constructive criticism as a way to improve yourself. It is not only for a project but also for your designer career.   


Final Words

As a designer, you are not only working for yourself. Being creative is the most important thing, but understanding people can help you handle constructive feedback. It is a matter of working with others. You are not alone. Since you are working for others, their criticism will mean a lot to the designer project and your future experience. That is why you need to take it like a pro.  

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