Know when to stand up for your work.
You’ll encounter different kinds of people in the creative business, on both client side and agency side. Just know this – all things equal (meaning you’ve addressed the brief and the work is solid), every comment, critique, suggestion, edit, accolade, shout out, shout at and all the rest are 100% about the person delivering the message. Not about you and your work.
“Hey, that’s the old logo from last year – we have to change that.” <- legit.
“Client won’t approve this layout because of the rules around food advertising – we have to remove that statement.” <- legit.
“This work is just really disappointing. I was expecting things to pop more.” or “This is crap – here I did a sketch to show how it should be done.” or “You’re the creative person not me, but I think we need more versions.” <- all, 100% horse-shit.
Easy for me to say – not so easy for you to act on, I know. I can’t tell you when the time is right to put a stake in the ground and take creative control. I can only tell you, it’ll be necessary from time-to-time. It will depend on the project, the client, the team you’re working with, the politics surrounding who’s responsible for what and why …the variables are endless. Sometimes you have to just lay down your sword and take one for the team. Other times, you’ll need to take a stand. With experience, you’ll know the difference.
I recently told a client (now, an ex-client), “Listen, if you want to do your own creative, you don’t need me to execute it and bill you. Find someone cheaper who’s happy to do what you request. I can’t force you to take advantage of my experience, nor can I make it clear what I do, if you don’t understand creative services. I can only tell you this relationship isn’t working.” You don’t have to be a dick, but you also don’t have to be a push over. It’s not an easy balance to achieve, but your creative self-esteem will benefit from taking a stand when it’s called for. Watch others you respect and note how they handle creative conflicts.