Learning to accept feedback

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I realize that taking feedback and having your designs criticized can be hard news to take. Your put your time, effort and sometimes your heart and soul into a piece only to have someone else, your friend, coworker, art director (but I find never your mother) doesn’t like it. I admitedly strugle with that myself. There are a few people whose opinions I care about and when they don’t sing my artistic praises, I get a little jaded.

The key here, is to stop, take a minute and find out what they are saying, if it’s true and if it can help you grow. I have to tell myself to stop taking it so personally and as an insult (though my art can, at times, be incredibly personal) and listen to what they have to say. There have been times that I absolutely agree with what they say and can see how dramatically improved the piece can be if I take their suggestions. And there have been times that I honestly don’t agree with what they say, and recognize it as style preference differences. And that’s okay (and less it’s your art director and her word is sacred).

I do find, though, that HOW feedback is delivered can affect how well you accept it. For example, I just had a meeting with my art director to discuss a direct mail piece I am designing. The first words out of her mouth were ” I don’t like this header this way. I find it completely unattractive.” It was one header out of five different options, one of which she did like. Instead of saying, I prefer this header b/c I like these elements this way, she chose to immediately talk about the one she found so unattractive. Immediately, I’m jaded and have to work to convince myself to start listening to her again to hear the rest of the feedback, some of which were excellent points.

I don’t think I’m the only one out there that things how you deliver feedback is important. I am a total sandwich feedbacker (and it may also be time to eat some breakfast). I say something I like, something I don’t, and something I do. I’m curious how other people style their feedback.

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