How to Effectively Deal With Design Criticism


Regardless of your profession and workplace, one thing that everyone has to face is criticism. As a rule of this world, you cannot please everyone and you cannot make everyone like your work.

Some people will appreciate your work, some will dislike it and some will help you improve it. But you have to be prepared for any kind of comments, both good or bad. Not everyone can handle criticism, but in order to be successful at what you do, you need to learn how to handle it.

If you are a graphic designer and you have online forums or blogs, you will have to deal with a lot of criticism. At times, you will have to address the criticism in order to explain your point of view. Some comments are better off being ignored – not every criticism needs to be dealt with.

How to handle criticism is one question that a lot of people are finding an answer to. The best way to sort it out is to consider it as an opportunity to grow. After all, you can learn a lot from people’s point of view.

As a designer, you might be a victim of criticism more often, because creative work is criticized more. Before you look for ways to handle criticism, you need to understand what the whole process is actually about.

What is Criticism?

Critisim Handling

Criticism is basically someone else’s personal point of view on your work or personality. Some people take criticism as something only negative, but that is folly.

If someone is appreciating your work, he is giving you positive criticism and if he is talking about it in a negative way, it is negative criticism. So it can be both good and bad.

People are usually unable to handle criticism because of embarrassments or some other reasons. But a lack of criticism would equal a lack of incentives to improve.  Since it will always be a part of whatever you do, learn to handle it and learn to handle it exceptionally well.

Criticism – Good and Bad

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Criticism entirely depends on the person it is coming from and for the person it is. It can be constructive or completely destructive, depending on how people accept it.

Apart from handling criticism, you need to learn to criticize as well. Always keep in mind that your criticism can hurt someone’s feelings, so even if you do not like something, make sure you find an appropriate way to convey it. This will also improve your credibility.

Constructive criticism will help the other person in improving. Remember, you have the right to criticize, but you do not have the right to degrade or humiliate someone’s work – so try to provide a constructive feedback and if you are being criticized, handle it positively and improve yourself.

Response to Criticism


Remember, receiving criticism is also a part of your job. Some people have a tendency of ignoring criticism altogether. However, this is not a good thing to do, as you will never be able to learn, if you ignore every kind of negative feedback. If you actually want to grow in your professional life, respond to criticism, but in a controlled manner.

Criticism will help you to realize the less bright aspects of your project which you might not be able to see on your own. Also, take such responses as a challenge and a chance to improve yourself.

This will help you in becoming a better designer. Your work approved by yourself alone is pointless and serves for boosting your ego. Getting your work acknowledged by the world is what you need to do and sadly, the world is composed of people. So accept criticism and take yourself to another level by improving what you can.

Since you will be probably dealing with a lot of critics, it will drastically improve your communication skills. It is also a good way to learn new things in the designing field and learning always helps you in staying motivated towards your projects. Once you are able to accept negative feedback, it will make you a humble person. Do not let criticism hurt your ego.

Ways to Handle Negative Criticism

Criticism Management

Being defensive is how mostly people handle negative criticism. If it’s not the case, they will probably ignore it and neither way is how it is supposed to be. Following are a few essentials to handle it in a better way:

1. Retain Positivity

When it comes to designing, any opinion can be considered subjective. No one can actually shew whether you are right or wrong, because designing is a vast field. Everyone will view your design from a personal perspective – so you can’t ignore virtually any opinion.

Not everyone can see things from your point of view, so disagreements are supposed to be a part of your work. Remember, people are criticizing your work, not your personality – so do not take it personally. Keep you attitude positive and respond calmly.

2. Careful First Reaction

First reaction towards criticism is almost always defensive. You do not want to end up saying something that you might regret later. So, wait for a while and think about what you really want to say. Once you get rid of the anger, you can come up with an appropriate response.

3. Learn to Turn Negative into Positive

In order to be successful in any field, you will have to learn to see the positive aspects of a situation. A person can make any situation into a negative or a positive one, depending on how he perceives it.

If someone is leaving a negative feedback, take it as an opportunity to learn, improve and grow. Also, if you think other person is wrong, you can comfort yourself that he was having a bad day and the anger came out on your work… Ignore it.

4. Differentiating between Useless and Useful Criticism

It is very important to be able to differentiate between useless and useful criticism. The feedback which needs attention is the one which is clear and logical.

Baseless feedback that makes no sense, for instance, “I don’t like the colours of your website” is a useless criticism.

Useful criticism is the one in which people have actually explained their point of view and they actually want to see an improvement in your design.

5. Learn from Criticism

There is a purpose of everything in this world. Let criticism serve its purpose by handling it well and by acting on someone else’s opinion. You cannot ignore people’s opinion when you are working for them.

Criticism will help you in identifying your weak points and strong points. Remember, you are not always right and someone else can have better suggestions. Practice makes a man perfect, so work on suggestions and improve yourself.

A Round Up

The only way to handle criticism well is to understand that it is not a personal attack. Before you go on board with your design, you need to understand that there will be good comments and bad comments too. Getting emotional on every comment is going to take you nowhere. In fact, it will kill your confidence and you won’t be able to work properly. Always accept healthy criticism and consider it a way to improve and grow.

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