OK, that may be taking it a little bit too far. …
“Remember: It costs nothing to encourage an artist, and the potential benefits are staggering. A pat on the back to an artist now could one day result in your favorite film … or the song that saves your life. Discourage an artist, [and] you get absolutely nothing in return, ever.”
Like all learners, artists and graphic designers need motivation and a sense of accomplishment to improve their skills and further their careers. While success comes in many forms (such as completing a degree program, having artwork on display at a gallery, or creating a large company’s corporate identity [brand]), it can begin with the simplest expressions of encouragement.
But in addition to receiving encouragement, artists must also cope with criticism. Through college where I studied design and animation, I learned how to accept negative feedback and offer solutions in return. I’ve been fortunate in my career to work in places where feedback (both positive and negative) is freely and frequently given. Over time, I’ve learned that when a client is unhappy, I need to get to the heart of the issue by asking questions such as:
- “What is it that you didn’t like about the layout specifically?” or
- “Can you find an example of something you do like, so that I can better understand your style preferences?”
This direction helps transform constructive criticism into something useful by helping to set the tone for future client interactions.
It’s also important to remember to keep the feedback balanced. If all a designer ever receives is criticism, she/he may be afraid to try something “out of the box.”
Above all, I see the power of being positive in Kevin Smith’s quote. An encouraging work environment can lead to great new ideas for clients to enjoy. So reach out a give a designer a hug today! Or perhaps a simple high-five will do!