We'll be in touch shortly


Honest advice for Creatives: Navigating negative feedback

We've all been there. You've poured your heart and soul into a project, meticulously aligning every detail to the brief, only to find out that the client isn't quite as thrilled as you are. The initial sting of negative feedback is disheartening, but it's crucial to remember that this is an inevitable part of any creative or professional endeavour. Here's a guide on how to handle negative feedback on a project you thought you had nailed.

1. Be Humble and Listen: The Art of Detachment

It takes practice, but it's essential to approach the situation with humility and an open mind. Understand that while the work you've presented may not align with the client's vision, but this doesn't mean you're not a good fit for each other.

Separate Yourself from the Work: If you’re passionate about your work, it’s almost impossible not to take negative feedback personally. However, it's crucial to try to separate yourself from the work. Remember, design and creative solutions are often subjective, and what may seem like a masterpiece to you might not resonate with someone else.

Open Dialogue Over Discord: Use this as an opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue with the client. Instead of viewing the feedback as a confrontation (and a judgement of your skill and self-worth...), see it as a collaborative effort to improve the project and align it more closely with the client's expectations.

2. Understand Their Perspective: The Importance of Context

Before jumping to conclusions or making amendments, take a step back to understand where the client is coming from.

Revisit the Brief: Go back to the original brief and compare it with the work you've presented. Be reflective, are there areas where your solution falls short? 

Ask Questions: Don't hesitate to ask the client to elaborate on their feedback. More often than not, the issue may be something you hadn't considered or a point that wasn't clearly defined in the initial brief.

Honesty is Key: If the client's expectations have changed since the initial conversations, it's crucial for both parties to be honest about these shifts. This will help you recalibrate and move forward more effectively.

3. Make an Achievable Plan for Action: The Roadmap to Redemption

Once you've gathered all the necessary information, it's time to formulate a plan.

Scope and Scale: Are the required changes are minor tweaks or a complete overhaul of the project? Be transparent about how these changes will affect the project's scope, timeline, and budget.

Internal Politics: If the feedback involves complicated internal politics on the client's end, discuss ways to simplify the approval process. Knowing who the decision-makers are can help you tailor your revisions more effectively, and context aids understanding.

Be Honest and Realistic: Set achievable goals and deadlines for the revisions. Overpromising and underdelivering will only make things worse.

The Silver Lining: Learning from Experience

While we all aim for a Version 1 sign-off, it's not always possible. Each project—successful or not—provides invaluable learning opportunities. With time and experience, you'll learn when to stand your ground and when to be flexible. You'll also become adept at identifying projects that are veering off course and how to steer them back.


Negative feedback is an integral part of any project lifecycle. Instead of viewing it as a setback or failure, frame it as an opportunity for growth and improvement. By being humble, understanding the client's perspective, and formulating a realistic action plan, you can turn a potentially negative experience into a collaborative effort that benefits both parties.

So the next time you find yourself on the receiving end of less-than-stellar feedback, remember: be humble, understand, and make a plan. It's all part of the journey towards becoming a more resilient and adaptable professional.

Written by Luke Vidamour

Author Luke Vidamour