Show and Tell and the Critic

Today I had a chance to update some of the recent work on my site. Looking back, it’s been a really busy summer, but a lot of fun. At Golden West I’m part of a great Online crew that’s been able to take on more responsibility in the company and work on some cool projects recently. On the side I’ve also been able to work with some friends and local businesses in putting together websites and some other random design projects.

I’m pretty grateful for what I get to do every day, working on ads, images, sites and every manner of visual communication. I still feel like I’m learning a ton, but it’s cool to see signs of growth as well.

The Critic

As I was gathering some recent work, I realized again how much I dislike show and tell. Stretching out your withered hand and saying, Here’s my work and I’m actually kinda proud of it. All the while hoping your audience sees something in it too.

It seems most people that make stuff have a certain fear in unveiling their work. It’s easier keep your work of art hidden away, not own up to it, or hide behind a mask of indifference or sarcasm. Wonder why this is. Maybe it’s because we’re too attached our work, or maybe we’re our own worse critic. Or maybe worse…

Maybe I’m worried that they will be as critical of my work as I am of everyone else’s.

I’m realizing that I’m a huge critic. It’s pretty terrible. I can shoot holes in pretty much any design, website, logo, whatever. It’s especially nasty if I’m kinda jealous that someone’s got mad skills or something.

The problem with being critical is that when I step up to create something, that same voice of the Critic is yapping in my own ear. This can hijack my own creative process in a hurry, sometimes before it even starts. Can you relate?

Listening to the Story

We had a guest in our office last week who told us about the two-and-a-half year (!) process of designing a new corporate logo. Can you imagine how many emails, discussions, revisions, would go back and forth in the course of two-and-a-half years? All for a “just a few words, lines and colours”!

The incredible thing about any logo, website or any creation is that’s there’s always a story behind its making, sometimes a lengthy one.

If we want to have a hope of freeing our own creative processes from the fear of the Critic, we need to empathize with the story behind any given work that we like to criticize. Maybe then we can empathize with our own.

Share It

Despite the fear of the Critic, we all have a desire to have our work be enjoyed and appreciated by other people. If you have something to share, ship it before your Critic catches up to you! I hope that in me you’ll find one fan who’s empathetic to your story and cheering you on along the way.


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