How To Take Criticism

By Fat Penguin – The SCA Intake of 2016/17


How To Take Criticism


Mark – Be humble, write it all down, thank them at the end. They have given their time to try and make your work better so be polite about it. Then go away and read your notes and decide if they are talking rubbish or not.


Adeline: Smile, say thank you and leave. Cry a bit if needed then come back and learn from it.


Sophie: Learn from it. Why did they feel that way about your work? Keep asking them why. This way you’ll truly understand where their criticism came from and how best to change your work.


Pjotr: You just have to take the hot with the cold.


Flav: Respect everyone’s opinion and follow it, when you believe it’s right. If your gut is telling you to go the complete opposite way, then find balance in between.


Fenton: Take the advice you’ve been given and try it out, if it improves your work in your opinion then maybe the mentor who gave you that advice is someone to keep going back to. It will help finding a couple of mentors whose advice you find most helpful as it’s easy to quickly become over encumbered by conflicting advice. If you want to get a job at a specific agency tailor your the work in your book towards that agency, if you get a book crit there then take that advice and show them that you’ve listened by making those changes for your next encounter.


Mary: Remember that everyone’s just trying to help you, even if they kill your ideas.


Kenny: Everyone has an opinion and often times it’s not malicious. Let them have their say, take their advice and if your gut tells you to completely reject it, it’s probably the right thing to do.


Orla – Be respectful of the advice of mentors they have given up their time to share their wisdom but also respect your idea and where you want it to go.


Lee – If you think think it sucks and they think it sucks… it probably sucks.


Jacob: You just gotta understand that people don’t get kicks out of crushing your soul, they do it because it’s they know it’s the only way you’ll learn. They’ve been in your position before and only have your best interests at heart. Don’t take it personally, learn from it, love it.


The Daze – Take criticism with grace. Always be grateful for it, and try to speak to people whose advice and criticism you will respect enough to reevaluate your idea. (Or get crits off people you don’t tend to agree with for a different angle, but know that’s what you’re doing.)


Jesse: Remind yourself that no one (probably) dislikes you personally, they just want your work to be better. They’ve taken the time out of their busy days to help you out and make you a better creative, so they (probably) aren’t criticising you for fun.


Robyn: Can you imagine how crap you’d feel if you always took criticism personally? It would be utterly exhausting and a waste of an opportunity to improve. Obviously it’s natural to sometimes feel the sting – it’s because we want to be accepted. But criticism is brilliant because it’s about your work, not you, so it should be welcomed – heck, chased – then put into practice. Listen, learn and remember it’s a chance to get better. Isn’t that what we’re all here to do?


Hen: Try to get them to go to the root of the problem they have, don’t let them just say ‘i’m not really feeling it’, ask why, get them to dig deep and find the hole you need to plug. If they’re talking rubbish just smile and nod, whilst mentally thinking of all the ways you could kill them for wasting your time.


Augustine: Allow the best and the harshest critics to uproot and to demolish your work. One of the most valuable and invigorating things about SCA has been learning to kill your darlings. There’s something totally vivifying about birthing and nurturing an idea for so long and then watching it crumble; destroying it and starting afresh. It moves you into braver, more unsettling and increasingly unexpected spaces. Talk about catharsis: enacting the ritual killing of your own child ad infinitum. Stops your brain from being eaten by dull moths.


Tomo: ‘If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same’ – I try to adopt that attitude with feedback. Bear in mind you’re unlikely to have an idea that garners universal acclaim. So criticism is part and parcel of this game.


Max: Criticism is there to build and grow your ideas. Ask the right questions at the right times from the right people. Don’t just blindly defend an idea at the start, allow it to grow and develop, remember that it is just a thought. Remind people what stage you’re at in the design/ideation process so their advice can contribute and not just fall on deaf ears. Advertising is a conversation, critical feedback should be too, be open to tangents.


Kyle: Everybody at SCA and those who come in to see your work want you to do well. So criticism is really just encouragement to do better. Everybody want’s to look at your work and have no reason not to hire you. So thinking people are out to get you and shut your work down, is the wrong mentality to have.


Beth: Criticism is what drives you to strive even further. Take what has been said to you, digest it and then come back with a better solution. It’s the best way to learn and develop your thinking.


Pjotr: Just take it.

Malou: Write it down. Absorb. Read it. Take in what you think is right. Learn from it. Say thank you


Gnome: Nobody appreciates a piece of shit that has a flower in it to try and make it look pretty. Shit will never look pretty. Take the criticism, learn from it and create blooming flowers that aren’t shoved in shit.


Ludo: All criticism is good, it’s the best way to learn. But remember you must never be afraid to ask why they don’t like something, by asking why, you’ll learn far more, you’ll understand where you went wrong or what you didn’t push enough.


Ash: Replace the word ’criticism’ with ‘feedback’ then suspend, understand and nurture it.


Lauren: Seek criticism. Listen. Filter. Implement. Seek criticism. Listen. Filter. Implement…


Miranda: Criticism will always leave you in a stronger than a compliment, even if it seems to have left you further back than when you started. It’s easy to play favourites with your own ideas, and get protective of them, but if someone giving you feedback doesn’t get it straight away then it’s unlikely to work well in the real world either. That said make sure that when you sell an idea you do it clearly and with enthusiasm, you don’t want to feel uncertain if it was the idea they didn’t like or your presentation.


Mona: As Paul Arden said: ‘Don’t seek praise, seek criticism’. By asking for criticism you get a new and fresh look on your ideas. Your work can always get better. Remember everyone has a different opinion. Listen to each one. Write them down. Thank people for their feedback. Learn from it and iterate, iterate, iterate.


Anam: If they’re tearing apart, that’s great! Encourage them and keep pushing them to pick at everything. It’ll only help you to plug in all the holes and build a stronger piece of work.


Krista: I agree with Adeline. Take it, smile, go home, cry a little if needed, but most important have that “next time I’ll show him” attitude.


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