San Francisco, California

Why does this design crit hurt?

When a design crit goes south, it’s almost impossible to take all that brutal feedback and focus on course correction; going back to the interface, reviewing ten thousand comments, limping away and reassessing my approach to the problem. Instead, when I get feedback like I received earlier today, I sorta just want to mope around my apartment all day long or walk into the ocean.

If you want praise then being a designer is not the job for you. Because in order to do that work well you constantly have to take feedback from a network of people and then you have to ignore some things, ignore what hurts, and then get right back to it. And if you’re not getting feedback that hurts? Or what if you’re constantly getting high fives all the time? Well, either you’re the greatest designer who’s ever walked the earth or you’re working in a toxic workplace.

My point is: when someone says “hey, this design doesn’t make sense” it’s so very difficult for that not spiral into “wow, I’m a terrible person huh!”

I mean, feedback is always personal, it’s never just about the work. When someone criticizes a design they are telling you that you didn’t think clearly, that you were impatient, that you haven’t thought about all the possibilities or understood the user properly. When someone criticizes a design they are saying that your view of the world is wrong, that it must bend towards the way they understand it.

But I know all this already, so why do design crits still hurt?

Is it my ego? Am I always so desperate for praise and for being the hero in every situation? Am I a bad designer and should I quit the field altogether?

Or should I just get back to work?

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