Staying detached from your client work is a key part of being a graphic designer. That may sound really strange off the bat, but let me explain.
The creation of a project for any artist has a personal connection to that individual in some way. Personal work especially speaks to who you are as a designer or your favorite aesthetic and style; but, you have to remember your personal style is not everyone else’s favorite too. What happens when you get out in to the real world of design, when you have clients and other people for whom you are designing? How does designing for others translate in to how you work? I say the only thing you need to change is how you own or react about your design.
Some schools do an amazing job at teaching how to give and to take constructive criticism. Heck, in school it’s even harder than in the real world. In school you are given project with certain requirement and guidelines, but overall the design is yours to direct. Therefore critiques in school are more personal and are sometimes hard to endure. But this is training; training that people have different opinions and that not one opinion is right or wrong but rather a perspective to consider and appreciate.
In business you must remember that each project is ultimately not yours at all, it is a job and a project for someone else. Every designer has had a client who has given them changes and critiques, hated or loved a design and sometime forgone the entire design for something else. The key is to not get offended. It is their business, their project, and your job to design for THEM. Take their criticism, change the design, and be gracious about it.
Yes, keep designing crazy and “out of the box” ideas but don’t get stuck on one idea because you think it’s the best. Your job is to create what they want or challenge them to adopt something better. The best designer will do just this; remember that you are an expert in the profession and you do know your field the best. Great designers problem solve and can advise or explain their solution to a client to persuade them in a certain direction.
If you get attached to a specific design it will not only be that much harder when the client comes back with changes, but it blinds you to the other great design options that you could explore. I doubt many other careers have this high of an amount of criticism in their everyday work, be proud of the work you do and how strong you have to be for your career.
For those non-designers and project owners out there reading this, graphic design is our job and that means we are here to produce the product or design YOU want. Don’t worry about hurting our feelings of insulting us because you don’t like the first design we send your way. Remember your changes and dislikes of a design are what keep us in a job… so thank you in advance for your feedback, it makes us better designers.
About the author: Marie Brown joined the 834 team as our Creative Director in May 2014 after spending a semester internship with us as a design associate. What can we say… we get all the best associates.