The other day my Creative Director and I got into a bit of a disagreement about a design. I wanted it green, she wanted it white. It really popped with solid green, but it wasn’t fitting the brand standards created. I felt that since I created the standards that I could bend them a bit. I got angry and she did too. We ended up having a big discussion over our feelings towards the project and working together. In the end the work was not the issue. The issue was me not being able to accept criticism that was right.
Although my wife is my partner and the Creative Director in this story I still felt it was worth pointing out this issue for any young creatives that have to report to or share their work with another creative person regular basis.
1. If it’s not your best work don’t show it.
If you’re still in brainstorming mode then just hold off on showing what you have. Unless your CD is asking to see what you have going on at that time. If they want to see what you have then just let them know you’re still working out your own thoughts and don’t want to have a dialogue about it just yet. Save yourself the mental headaches and don’t show anything half though prepped. If they insist on seeing it, then let them know you really aren’t looking for initial feedback and it’s just a work in progress.
2. Options are always better.
Remember, when you go out to a restaurant it’s always nice to see a menu of options. Same goes for creative, if you have time and can work it into your schedule, plan on showing off more than one design concept. Or at least variations of the same idea. I wrote a separate article on this a few months back. You can see it here.
3. If you’ve got some time then sleep on it.
Sometimes I make this mistake myself. It’s the end of the day. You’re just trying to get a project finished so you can check another to-do off your list. You show off the work you’ve done and don’t really want to hear any feedback about something right that moment, but you set yourself up to be critiqued so you have to sit and listen, and if you don’t hear praise you get angry and fight back on why you designed something the way you did. This usually does not go well for anyone. (Lessons learned from multiple experiences).
If this is your personality then I suggest you let those ideas simmer and sleep on them. Or If anything, wait till you’re in the mood to work the next day to hear feedback.
4. Check your ego at the door.
I’ve worked with 4 different creative directors throughout my career. Mentally, sometimes I thought they were trying to break me down. While in some ways it may feel like that, they are actually building you up.
Remember, listen to what they have to say. They got where they are by being good at what they do. They see things that most of us don’t see. They have one goal. Make the work the best it can be. If you keep those thoughts in your head at all times you’ll be better off.
5. Say thank you!
When someone gives you their time and advice to make something you did better, remember they helped you. Say thank you. We all yearn to feel appreciated. Sometimes those two little words can have the biggest impact in the long run.
A CD is like a health trainer for your creative. They help you mentally push through to the next level. Just listen to their wisdom. Who knows maybe one day you may be one yourself.
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