How to deal with design rejections?

How to deal with design rejections?

Artistic professionals often feel deeply attached to their work. Turning down their ideas can hurt them deeply. However, it is impossible to avoid the rejections entirely. Similar is the case with creative designs. While you as a designer may be marveling at the beauty of your concept idea, you may receive a big no or soft rejections to repurpose the design elements. Such situations can be difficult, but there are ways to cope.  

Understanding the intention of your stakeholder  

Your stakeholder may not know how to create designs, but they have the same intent as you, i.e. to deliver good end-user product. Hence, they are solution-oriented. They are not trying to get to you; they are focussed on improving the end-user experience. While suggesting changes, they are only trying come up with something valuable and deliver a real solution.  

Trying to develop a new perspective 

Your stakeholder can enlighten you on areas that you may not know. In a discussion to improve a design, you will always find yourself and them advocating for a better user experience. Sometimes they will not suggest a specific solution; they can comment something like – can you make this a little better? Somehow, I don’t like it. 

By paying attention to the rejection pattern, you can understand where they are running into issues. You can think of your stakeholder as one of the end-users who is only trying to give you a new perspective to create a better solution. Problems are a part of work, but you can develop an admirable trait of finding solutions and taking the project along.  

Parse out constructive criticism and turn it into actionable feedback  

Most of the time, you will find the feedback to be useful. Sometimes, the comments can feel more negative and unhelpful. Stakeholders struggle to provide a specific solution around a complex topic, and their feedback can come as vague. Sometimes, they might even offer design solutions while not being designer themselves. You can simplify their feelings into actionable feedback. Asking for clarity or some examples can also save you the guesswork.  

These are a few instances when you receive a soft rejection. What if your design is trashed out but you think it’s relevant?  

There’s a chance to receive harsh feedback when your design gets rejected. While you provide a new idea to your stakeholder, here’s what you can do with your rejected design:  

  • Keep it safe and sit with it some other day. You may develop a new perspective on your work, or you can get more creative with your design. You will be surprised with self-analyses.  
  • When you have several designs in your idea bank (rejected idea bank ?), shuffle and mix two or more ideas to create something new. 
  • Showcase your work in your portfolio. Sharing it on personal social media handles will not only add value to your portfolio but will track a lot of attention.  

Allow rejections to better you at work or in life. Feedback can come as a challenge to pull you out of comfort zone, but your effort will only improve your creativity. If not, it will teach you the process to follow when creating a new design. Never let yourself be spiteful and develop a toxic mindset. Know that with hard work and conviction, you will only improve in your career.

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