Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How John Cusack Helped Me Deal with Design Rejection

I was watching "Say Anything" with John Cusack the other day. If you grew up in the 80's, or just loved movies about teen angst, you probably saw it. Everyone remembers the boombox scene...

That song playing in that awesome scene is Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes. It's an extra special song because my wife and I had our first romantic moment in my pick up truck (9 years ago) while it was pouring outside, and the song playing on the radio was In Your Eyes. So why am I telling you all this? Well, it occurred to me that In Your Eyes was one of Gabriel's biggest hit songs, but you'd be surprised to hear that it's not. On Gabriel's greatest hits album from 2003, he provided a second disc titled Miss, and that's where you'll find In Your Eyes. Shocking, I know.
Creatives have to deal criticism daily, it's just part of the job, but the one thing that creatives have the hardest time with is rejection.You design or illustrate some great work that you're really proud of and you're absolutely sure it should be approved, but instead it gets rejected. That can make us crazy and even angry (don't do that), but that doesn't mean it's not great work. Here are 2 ways to capitalize from rejection.

Display Your Work
Just because it wasn't picked doesn't mean it shouldn't be proudly displayed in your book or online portfolio. The research, thought, skill and execution that went into your work is still intact, so show it off and make sure people know it was a rejected design. That will just make them want to see what wasn't rejected.

Create From Rejection
What was it about the design that didn't make the cut? Probably nothing that has to do with the design itself. It could be that your other design simply connected in a special way with your client. So be proud of your work. Create a e-book with all your rejected designs and throw it up on your website or leave it with new clients as a take away marketing piece. Or blog about it. :)

Peter Gabriel was still proud of his work and included it with his popular work. You should do the same, because it could lead to more work and even recognition. Want proof? In 2005, after 19 years of accumulated sales, the In Your Eyes brought Gabriel his first Gold Single, certified in the U.S. by the RIAA.

Happy Designing,

Dennis (aka tanoshiboy)

Do you struggle with design rejection? How do you deal with it? Have you ever turned a negative into a positive? What were the results? Share in the comment's section and retweet, share and G+ this post!