5 Ways to Effectively Take Criticism

I hear the internet likes (short) lists, so here are 5 tips on how to effectively take criticism.

Don’t get defensive.

It’s tempting to pre-emptively justify our actions and explain our thought process when asking for feedback on your design work. This can negatively impact the quality of feedback you’re receiving. By giving the critic insider knowledge, you might be giving answers to questions that your design should already be providing.

Keep an open mind.

Good ideas can come from anywhere. People might need help communicating their thoughts. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if the feedback is vague. It can be tough to give constructive criticisms so if they say “I don’t like it” try and find out the what and why of their statement.

Take it into “consideration”.

Everybody is a critic but not everyone is an expert. What they say may not make sense in the context of your work. However, try and understand the point of view that the other is holding. You don’t have to agree with it but it is important that they feel heard.

You wont be able to please everybody – and more often than not, catering to masses often leaves you with a bland, generic, and “safe” design.¬†Aesop’s The Man, the Boy, and The Donkey¬† illustrates this point nicely. It’s moral is if you please everyone you please no-one – though I encourage you to read it yourself.

Write it down.

Remember what you had for lunch a week ago? People forget specifics all the time. It is important to keep track of what the feedback was and where it was relevant. Pen and paper works best for me however you should use what you’re most comfortable with (e.g. phone, audio recording, etc.).

Use the feedback.

Learn from the feedback you’ve received. If you don’t, there wasn’t much point in asking for it in the first place. Ultimately the direction you take it is your decision as well as what criticisms you use to improve your work.

If the lack of articles wasn’t enough of a hint, we are still in the early stages of utilizing this platform and we would love to hear from you! What was great? What was not so great?