This guide is a bit of a departure from our usual fair. Typically, we focus on strictly custom t-shirt and design issues. Our guides are here to help you use our website, order your shirts. They help you with designs, with ideas, and with uses for t-shirts, like as fundraisers, promotional devices, or educational tools. No, this guide will be a bit different. This piece is a piece of life advice, that hopefully will make you a happier, healthier person who brings that positive energy into the lives of those around you. 

 

When someone you know is working on an artistic endeavor, be it a song, painting, book, poem, essay, sculpture, diorama, or a custom t-shirt design, they will inevitably seek out the advice of those closest to them. These are the people they respect. It is absolutely vital to give honest, constructive criticism to genuinely help them. 

 

Here are a few things to consider. 

 

Don’t give false praise.

 

If you’re a decent human being, chances are you will want to soften the blow if you don't like the work of your friend or loved one. That’s natural, and right. However, what you don't want to do is give false praise to spare their feelings. Does that mean you have to rip their creation to shreds and disembowel their self confidence? Of course not! However, giving false praise does them no good in achieving their goal of putting forth the best product possible. 

 

Speak diplomatically.

 

“This sucks”, or “I hate it”, or other unnecessarily blunt reactions will simply hurt the creator’s feelings or force them into an emotional, defensive position. Think about how you word your response. Instead of “this is bad”, try something more diplomatic like “you could improve this area.” 

 

Offer solutions.

 

Telling a creator that something is bad without articulating the issues, or offering a solution to improve the work accomplishes absolutely nothing. What is your friend or loved one supposed to do with a negative reaction with no finer points or ways of improvement? 

 

Never, ever forget the point of constructive criticism is to make the work better. 

 

This is crucial. Your role as critic in this case is as a fresh set of eyes to point out areas that are strong, others that are weak, and to help your friend or loved one to make their work the best it can possibly be. It’s a big responsibility, and sometimes it’s not the most comfortable position to be in, especially if the person you’re giving the criticism isn’t good at taking criticism. All you can do is help the best you can and treat their work with the sensitivity, thought, and effort that you would want in return.