orange paper shred

It’s not personal

Three words that when placed at the beginning of a sentence only leads to hurt. No matter how many times the person opposite you awkwardly shoe horns the word constructive in front of the word criticism. It still stings.

Creativity by its very definition (“the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness”) is personal. There is no right way to do it. It is subjective. So when someone doesn’t see it the same way you do, of course it’s going to grate. That’s a little bit of your creative soul right there...

At the other end of the spectrum, business is business, it’s black and white. There are very clearly right and wrong ways to do something. If you don’t do it the right way then it’s the wrong way, and that’s ok, some people love that linearity. This doesn’t mean it hurts any less when someone gives you negative feedback in a business environment, but surely a part of you would have been expecting it, there must be a reason for it after all…?

By contrast, a graphic designer for example, could in their opinion, produce the most well conceived piece of graphic mastery the world has never seen. What they don’t know is that their client’s ex-wife loved the colour yellow and decorated their entire house in it. Yellow throw cushions, plates, the works... as a result your client hates yellow, and your graphic masterpiece uses quite a lot of it... see the problem.

So no matter what people say, it is actually very personal. As creative service providers; that is as creatives who gain their main income from clients not customers, we need to learn to find and sell the balance, we need to sell the middle ground. That elusive space where the client is happy but you don’t feel like you have compromised your process.

Whatever you do, don’t start by presenting the middle ground. If you present the middle ground then chances are the client will see to it that the final piece actually ends up being way below that point. Your job is to guide the client to that middle ground as quickly as possible.

But whatever the middle ground turns out to be, remember there is no right way to do it…

Written by :
Dominic Waring
Dominic Waring
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