Being a graphics person, you will come across people who have opinions. LOTS of opinions. Sometimes you ask for them, sometimes you don't. Helpful or not, everyone seems to have
one. The question is - what do you do with that information?
Opinion: The graphic needs to be smarter.
First thought: Riiiiiiiiight. Ok then.
First question: What does that mean to you?
If you're lucky, you're in the room when the opinion is given and you can ask open-ended questions to clarify their meaning. There is meaning there - where? - I don't know, but asking questions can get you to understand the meaning behind their statement. If you're not so lucky, then you have to use some powerful interpret-fu to figure out what they meant and move in that direction.
If you've gone through art school for 4.5 years, and sat through endless hours of "constructive criticism", your skin gets thicker over time and you can get some good feedback, as long as it's communicated properly and you're open to such constructive criticism.
How do you communicate such constructive critiscm properly? I try to follow these simple rules.
1. Look at the creation, and then ask yourself some questions to get your thoughts in order:
- What is it you're looking at?
- What is your visceral reponse? Love it? Hate it? Meh?
- What is it about it that makes you feel this way?
2. Hate it, love it, or meh - find SOMETHING nice to say about it - period. Even if it's the smallest of things, let that person know you've found something POSITIVE about their work.
3. Give CONSTRUCTIVE critiscm. This means, while being polite and helpful, you offer up the creator ways that you would improve their creation.
What not to say -
- "I don't like it."
- "The graphic needs to be smarter"
- <says nothing>
Say things like -
- "There is a very busy feeling to this - is there a way to slow it down, add more white space, lighten the image?"
- "I don't feel like this combination of photographs and vector graphics give an overall cohesive look - have you thought about using just photographics or just vector graphics?"
- "I feel the use of third person throughout the peice is confusing, when the narrator seems to be the main character. Have you thought about going to first person?"
Statements like these, will make the creator, who is open to such constructive critiscm, think about things in a different way. Possibly explaining to you how it was meant to be interpreted,
opening the lines of communication, brainstorming, correcting the confusion, and -- hopefully -- producing a better end product.
Maybe for a future topic, I will go over the proper etiquette on recieving constructive critiscm, but in the mean time - I'm going to try to use some of my interpret-fu and figure out how to make a graphic, smarter.