The Give and Take of Creative

When dealing with a creative project, whether it’s a design critique or a concept review, it’s important to remember that all creative is subjective. Meaning that the interpretation of the art is influenced by one’s own feelings of the piece. Also keep in mind that your own views may be very different than someone else who is also reviewing the work so keep an open mind when listening to others. It doesn’t mean your viewpoint is invalid. Having differing opinions is great during the review process as it allows the creative to possibly venture down a road that may not have once been thought of. Whether you are the creator of the piece or someone reviewing it, there are a few considerations that you should keep to. When participating in a critique, here are a few things to consider:

Giving Feedback on Creative
Use words phrases like “I think”, “What I see is” or “My opinion is”. Make it known that your opinions on the creative you are viewing is exactly that, your opinion. You should also be very clear that your interpretation is meant to give options as to how the piece can continue down the creative road, not lead it to its final destination. You want to open the door for the artist to pursue possible routes that they may not have explored before your opinions were introduced. Don’t dig too much into the specifics as they tend to change with the ebbs and flows of a creative project.

For many, receiving constructive criticism may be the most difficult part of the entire creative process. When most have put in long hours on a project, the last thing they want is for someone to derail the momentum that they’ve built so they tend to put up walls and focus heavily on their concept. However, this is worst avenue to finish any creative project. The first pass is never the best and rarely is that phrase proven wrong. It’s imperative to receive feedback on your work and more important to apply changes that you may not have considered. When opening your work for a critique here are some tips to help ease your mind:

Taking Criticism of Your Work
It’s important to listen to the person that is critiquing your work and try to understand where they are coming from with their dialog. Their viewpoint may be vastly different from the path you are traveling, but that’s what makes it important. A great tip to keep in mind is to stop your immediate first reaction. This reaction, likely negative, is a typical emotional response due to the critique of your work and not your personal feelings towards the person reviewing it. Refrain from defensive comments that could lead to a more difficult work environment outside of the project. If you are confused by the feedback, ask questions to deconstruct the comment to get a better sense of where the person is coming from. Be thorough but not abrasive as the conversation could take an unwanted turn. Lastly, even if you don’t agree with ones assessment of your project, thank them. Like you, they put time and effort into providing constructive feedback on the project so be respectful and thankful for their contributions.

AboutPatrick Magyar

Patrick joined the Proforma family in May of 2012 after 4 years of working for small marketing and communications firms that specialized in graphic and web design. His expertise is in the area of creative, working as a graphic and web designer, creative marketer and manager. Patrick graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design and a Minor Degree in Computer Graphics from the University of Akron, in Akron, OH. Patrick is an avid fan of all things sports and has a soft spot in his heart for the Cleveland Browns and the Cleveland Cavaliers. He takes every opportunity to spend time with his beautiful wife, Kristen, and their 2 boys, Landon and Cameron.

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