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Dealing With Rejection in Graphic Design

Dealing With Rejection in Graphic Design

Mike Lenhart

Many times, I look at rejection in the graphic design world the same way I look at rejection in my personal world, and that’s not good. I tend to take it too personally. So, I need to look at rejection for what it really is and not that it’s all about me. My proposals or quotes may get rejected sometimes simply because they don’t match the client’s budget (cheap) or they’re not in line with what the client really wants. My initial concepts may be rejected sometimes, but that does not and should not happen too often. If initial concepts delivered to the client are rejected, then I made a mistake as a designer by not gathering enough or the correct information on the project or brief from the start. Listening, asking the right questions, and researching are extremely important all the way through a project.

If a final deliverable is rejected by a client, that should be rare, too, but may happen if the scope of the project changes or money runs out, for example. When and if this happens, I need to make sure that I included a kill fee or other sort of ‘insurance’ so I am still paid for my work. I had this happen once or twice through the years and, if the proper clauses are in place from the onset, there should be little trouble in collecting payment. Sometimes this needs to be explained to the client, since they’re not receiving anything tangible. It’s all about relationships in the long run, so I have to think of the big picture, too.

OK, so maybe it’s fine to be rejected at times. I don’t need to go into therapy about it and I certainly don’t need to take it personally. I need to learn from all of my experiences, rejection or no, and try to do better the next time. I can also shout expletives under my breath if I think the client is a big loser, too. We are all professionals and need to remain that way. I hate that sometimes.

Another article by Minke Lenhart: Going back to design school

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