Well, that’s at least what Mike said. In fact, he told me, “I think you suck at graphic design, that is why you starve. Really how many legit, successful designers try to sell an ebook?”
You know Mike, right? He’s that wildly, world-famous digital artist that spends his days visiting blogs and letting the author/designer know what he really thinks. If you didn’t know it, this guy’s big – really big. He maintains an impressive client list…well, I think he does anyway. While I can’t personally verify any of them, I am guessing that he’s working for McDonalds, Gap, Verizon and he may even be designing for Apple. Unfortunately, Mike said, “I suck”, and that’s disappointing.
I suppose there’s nothing left to do than to stick my head in the hard Arizona dirt and cry myself to sleep.
What…are you saying that you don’t know Mike? Have you been living in a cave for the past few years? Mike…I’m talkin’ about Mike – THE guy. If you don’t know him perhaps you should bury your head in shame next to me in the hard Arizona dirt. Loser.
Well, truth be told, I don’t know who Mike is either, but he was kind enough to visit my blog and let me know that I suck at design. Nice guy. Who is Mike? Well he really doesn’t say. He left a fake email address and no other contact information, not even a last name. I suppose when you’re that big, you don’t need a last name…like Shaq, Cher or Elvis.
So who is Mike?
More often than not, Mike is faceless critic that will try to tear down your work and make you feel worthless. I am not sure why - maybe he’s unloved, bored or is trying to make up for his own shortcomings. The point is, if you put your artwork out there for people to see, Mike’s going to find you. And it doesn’t matter how good your design is, “you still suck”; Mike’s going to tell you.
Mike is nobody, and yet he’s everybody (there are countless numbers of arm-chair critics out there that are like Mike). I promise you that if you are freelancing or putting your artwork in the public area for any great length of time, you will eventually run into him. He’ll find you, just as he’s found me. Truth be told, if you browse around this blog you’ll see that I’ve humorously (and hopefully harmlessly) poked fun at some design efforts that were far less than inspired. I’ve criticized others, so it would only be fair that I get criticized as well.
The bad news is that you’re not going to be able to avoid Mike – the dude is everywhere. The good news is that what Mike thinks really shouldn’t bother you. In the Karate Kid 2, (yep, I am about to drop a Mr. Miyagi quote on you), Miyagi tells a confidence-lacking Daniel, “Lies only become true if person choose to believe.” He’s right. As a designer you’re going to face criticism – my suggestion to you is to take it for what it’s worth (some criticism is worthwhile to consider…Mike’s form of criticism of course is not).
Is Mike right, do I really suck at design? Well, maybe he’s right, maybe to some designers I am horrible and to others I may appear to have some talent. In the end, his opinion means little.
If…I mean when Mike starts banging on your door, don’t fight with him. If you know in your heart that you’ve got talent, just let him go on about how badly you suck and eventually he’ll punch himself out and move on to someone else. It doesn’t make any sense to banter back and forth with someone that has 5X more time on their hands, and a quarter the brain cells than you do. “Everyone’s a designer, and everyone’s a critic”, if you understand these two truths about design, it’ll make accepting criticism a lot easier.