Friday, April 3, 2009

Get Connected: Forum criticism: motivation or madness?

I will be the first one to admit that as a developing artist, I'm still entirely too attached to my work so much so that accepting criticism is difficult. Your first instinct might be to just dismiss negative comments as just that, a negative opinion. Sometimes I can do that and let negative voices roll off my back. Other times, like this week, I allow them to eat away at me, driving me just to the near side of insane. If something keeps bothering you, maybe that's the universe's way of saying, "take another look, stupid." I'm glad I did.

So taking a line from the Sci-Fi series "Battlestar Galactica:" "what the frack am I talking about?" I received a host of negative criticism about my new business logo when I posted about it on the Dgrin forum. I was shocked and disappointed that so many posters to my thread disliked what I thought was a great idea. Part of it was me personalizing the critics as if they were somehow attacking me. Another issue was feeling defensive and trying to protect my friend who created this logo out of the goodness of his heart (and for free!). I loved what my friend created from the get-go. Out of all of my attempts to try to create one myself and by using canned clip art templates online, Paul's "logo" spoke to me, stood out and was drastically different from anything else I had ever seen before. Because I had such a visceral reaction to it, I was SURE that it was the right thing for my business.

But those negative comments needled me so much that I started doing more research about what actually makes up a good business logo. I talked with other successful photography business experts here locally that I trust and got their opinions, and I researched online. Unfortunately, I had to face the fact that Paul's logo wasn't it, namely because logos are usually very simple graphically and has to be something that can be recognized even when printed very small. Paul's logo would start to lose its readability if it were printed smaller than a business card, and even he agreed to that notion. But further inspection let me know that what Paul created will be good for another business prospect. I think it will look perfect on the new postcards I plan to mail out as advertising for my business as soon as I buy a mail list to targeted neighborhoods in Denver! If you remember, last year I sent out this postcard with some limited success in my neighborhood. Imagine how great Paul's logo will look on this with my business information on the back of the card!

I've asked Paul to make a few more tweaks to the postcard advertisement, namely to separate the business name from the globe so that it stands on its own and can be more clearly seen. I am considering starting a logo campaign with logomojo to see what they can come up with. I've learned that there is STILL so much to learn about running a successful business. I should have created a logo right after I came up with a business name...but I guess it's better late than never. I've also learned that not every negative commenter is out to get you. It's really in how the information is thoughtfully presented. I've trusted responses from dgrin posters in the past, and their sincere comments have helped me during times of crisis when I needed advice on how to shoot weddings, runway shows, and deal with other aspects of photography. I'm glad I didn't let my defensiveness get the best of least not for TOO long! ;)

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