CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM Comment and criticism, often shortened to CNC or C&C is advice helping the one who receives it. A lot of people get angry when they read something other than "OH THAT'S SO PRO". With this guide, I aim to help everyone understand how to cope with criticism and how to implement it into your work. We have to keep in mind, that criticism is always a good thing, when properly given. RECEIVING CRITICISM Let's start out with receiving criticism. Something very important you have to remember when you post your work online is that people don't have to look at your work and people don't have to comment. If someone really places effort in a comment pointing out whatever they feel is wrong with what you created, it means they're doing you a favor. Real criticism takes time to create and people have to really look at your work. They spend time in your hard work and time. Even if you disagree or feel insulted you should remember that they were really trying to just help you out and everything you say to tell them off will make you seem like a bit of an ungrateful person who can't stand anything but hearing how wonderful she/he is. People are perhaps not any better than you in what you do, but this doesn't mean you can't accept their criticism. What you did wrong and didn't see, can be seen by others quite easily. You sometimes just don't realize that something is wrong in your work, but when you get it pointed out it just seems so incredibly obvious that you facepalm and ask yourself "Why did I not see that?". This doesn't mean that the person giving you criticism has to show that they can do better. In general, the comment "Let's see you do better!" is deemed the most stupid and idiotic comeback towards criticism ever. It not only makes you look stupid but also arrogant and blind to what others say. I DON'T WANT CNC! You are placing your work online. The internet is a place where the entire world is open to say whatever they want to say. You can't force people to give you only positive opinions, because not everyone will like your work. A lot of people would ask me "She/he isn't asking for CNC, so why are you giving it?". As true as this is, the person I had given CNC in that case, was also not saying that they did not want it. So which of the two is now the person in their right? Truth be told, both of the people are right in this case. Nobody asked for CNC but nobody said no either. The best way to avoid this discussion is to simply say "I don't want CNC" if you really don't want it. Assuming you will receive CNC is always better than to be blind to it and thinking nobody will be "negative" about your work. Of course people will always say whatever they want to say if you say no CNC. Because an opinion is not countered by saying no CNC. Someone saying that they dislike it is no different to saying that one likes it. It's an opinion. And if you accept the one, you should also accept the other. Accepting opinions is not a one side option. OH GOOD LORD, I RECEIVED CNC!? It all starts with casually reading what someone has said. There might be harsh words in there but you need to read around them and read the actual message someone wrote. Why did the CNC'er say what he/she said? Is he/she right? Now that you've read it you can start asking yourself these things. But first of all, is the comment rational? Of course a CNC'er is doing this to help you, but sometimes they get out of hand. They say things just to fill up their comment or are simply basing this completely on their own opinion. Your style is always your style, as long as it looks good, it should be ok. If you don't understand what someone is telling you, you ask. Asking is better than leaving it there and wondering what the hell someone meant. You aren't being defensive, you aren't telling them off. You're only asking them to be clear about what they exactly meant so that you can work with it. If you really have a troll, don't respond to him and don't get people to respond to him. Don't even thank the people responding to him. Just completely ignore it. If you really disliked the criticism given, just be polite and place a comment saying thanks. The criticizer is still putting effort in looking at your work, it's worth thanking him even though you disagree with him. DON'T start a fight simply because you feel insulted. You are not the greatest artist in the world. So you can't be insulted because there is always a valid point in what people say about you having errors in your work. Finding an excuse for everything someone tells you, is simply immature. You are only fooling yourself with comments like "I was lazy", "I was bored" and "My scanner sucks". We have heard them all. You are deluding yourself if you think anyone will fall for it. "You create and form, someone who does this has to solve problems, not make them." - Quote from Jeroen, teacher Graphic Design at the MA and freelance Graphic Designer. Obviously, you don't always understand what a person is trying to tell you. Don't be afraid to ask. The person will most likely help you, considering he already did before. Sometimes people use difficult names and you will simply not follow what they're trying to point out. Ask them to simplify it for you. Of course, you don't always have to listen to the advice others give you. It IS your work, you can't let them take over everything you have made. Stay true to your own opinion and don't lie to yourself. If you do everything everyone else tells you to do, there will be no more originality. I WANT TO DESTROY SOMEONE WITH MY CNC :D! Hello there sweetheart. I have something very important to tell you! No, I don't love you. You aren't awesome, you aren't great, you don't know everything best, you aren't all high and mighty because you have something longer and you are not always right. It's a bit harsh, I admit. Of course you are obligated to your own opinion, but in criticism it's not about what you think. It's all about looking what could actually be considered a mistake. When you start suggesting ideas that came forth form your opinion it will turn into advice. You have to consider yourself equal to the person you are helping. You are both humans and even if you are better at what he is doing, you were once also at that point where what you made looked bad. You also might never know when someone becomes better at it than you. Do you really want to swallow your words when that happens or be thanked for your help to get him/her reach that certain point? The difference between constructive and de-motivational criticism. Examples of constructive criticism: "This isn't really well done, but by editing _____ it could be better." "Try putting more pressure in your pencil at that spot, this will improve the ______." With criticism like this, people will understand what to do and where they are lacking. Demotivating criticism is harsh and straight, to the point. As harsh as I am myself, demotivating someone will get nobody anywhere. Examples: "This is god ugly, my eyes burn." "DIE!! U SHULD DIE 4 MAKING ME SADZ WITH YOUR HORRIFIC SKILZ." Look, now you can think "everyone does it." But saying things like this doesn't help anyone. You only start fights and unhappy faces. Someone still worked hard on what they made. Perhaps it looks like something you could make in less than no time, but it was still hard for the person who created it. Try to support your criticism with reasons to why you are saying it. There is usually a reason to why something is wrong, and being clear about it will make correcting and future referencing a lot easier. Sure there are exceptions. Sometimes it's just so god ugly that you can't go on anymore without saying that someone totally failed it. Well, you have the words "Practice a bit more" for that. In most cases, it really just is a matter of practice. Only a few artists are born with talent. And even those people have to practice their skills to improve. LET'S FORM THAT COMMENT NICELY. We all know the first step right? Watching or looking at whatever someone has made. At first you will not be able to see everything that could be deemed an error. So look again, and again and again and again till you are sure you have some points you wish to address. Split up your comment in two categories. Errors you are 100% sure of that they should be adjusted and errors that aren't really errors but you find its presence odd. The second would be a category more based on what you think and what you would suggest. It's not needed to be executed entirely but your advice is to look into it. Keep in mind that half assed messages don't work, be clear and direct. Name the errors and how to correct them. Always support your message with solid proof. Nothing is wrong and nothing is ugly without a reason. Give as many options to the creator as you can. How would they be able to change what you have pointed out? Sure you will not always know how to correct it, but this shouldn't prevent you from stating so. Just make clear that you aren't aware of it either, to prevent a future question. Consider why the creator made certain mistakes or decisions as well. This is also a great tip for the creators. Don't look only at what you like. You are making it for others to look at as well, so try to place yourself in the viewers mind. When you have formed your comment, check for mistakes. People tend to not take bad grammar serious and will probably attack you on it. Usually when you start off with trying your best for proper grammar, there will be little left to correct. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DEALING WITH. "The flow of your tag is totally incorrect. The typography has failed and you can't place your focal there." What in the world are you talking about? Sure some people understand what you say, but let's say that I don't and you are giving me criticism. Do I really need to ask you what you are talking about? Don't work with hard words. We are all stupid artists who didn't choose for that doctor's study. We will probably end up without a degree somewhere on the streets of some European capital, drawing people for money when the weather is lovely. Not everyone understands that a focal's the most important part of your work. Not everyone understands that typography is related to text. Not everyone understands what flow is and what a tag is. Even if these words are so logical to you, NOT EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS. You can't expect someone starts out as one of the most amazing artists in the world. This also means you have to explain certain parts about programs they might be using. Lower your level and point out where they can find certain things. Not everyone works with the most expensive software. Digital work isn't always done with Photoshop. If you don't know HOW to use the program, try not to meddle with how someone did use it. Simply because you can't know what went wrong. NEARLY DONE. A few last points I'd wish to address before you finally finish reading this long guide. Being detailed can easily summarize this entire page. Always stay detailed, don't skip something because you're too lazy. Be exact by judging every pixel on your screen. Starting with a compliment will also make it easier for someone to accept your criticism. It will show that you still appreciate their hard work even though you spotted mistakes. Try not to write in a bad mood and don't be picky. At some point, you can become annoying by making an issue over something that isn't a big deal to begin with. Break up your wall of text in paragraphs. Categorize what you're saying so that it's not a long and annoying read without end. And with this said, you're done. Congratulations.