Alligator Skin

17 Jan

I’ve heard many times in this industry (graphic design/creative) “You have to have thick skin.” So, what does that mean? I should have a callus on my mouse click finger?

Simply put, it means that as a creative person, I must be able to take criticism, analyze it, filter it, and see how I can make my work better because of someone else’s opinion or view of my work.

Taking criticism is not always easy. As a creative person, I may get attached or create some emotional bond with my work, as I have spent hours upon hours perfecting it to create the best solution possible. To have someone step in and destroy it with their honest remarks can be devastating; after all it is my personal work that my blood, sweat, coffee drips, and tears went into.

In reality, there are too many projects to be done to get so worked up over the critique of one. Don’t become emotionally, physically, or spiritually attached to your work just because it is your work. I’m not saying don’t be passionate about what you are creating, but don’t make it such a personal thing that any negative comment tears you down. When people critique your work, they are doing so so that you become a better artist, designer, writer, etc. Not to tear you down and insult your creative abilities.

By accepting feedback, my designs become stronger, but filtering this feedback is important and I still have to trust my instincts and creative abilities. Someone may give me feedback that I strongly disagree with, and it’s ok to ignore their comment if it does not create a more successful solution for my project. Filtering critiques takes trust in yourself to know what is valuable feedback and what can be tossed aside.

Having an open mind when receiving critique allows me to let my work evolve, and it also shows how important collaboration is when finding the best solution possible. By allowing others with different skill sets and knowledge to transform my work, a little bit of them is put into the project as well. Depending on oneself is not always in the best interest of the final outcome.


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