I just read a headline on Ad Gabber that said, "Being Nice Will Kill Young Creatives."
The article says, "It's true being nice just to be nice doesn't help anyone. In fact, according to this video for the Denver Ad Club, it can cause a person to drown. Of course, no one in advertising is ever nice just to be nice. In fact, going into advertising offers the perfect platform for a person to rip the shit out of another person and toss it of as simply "critiquing the work."
So, so true. Yesterday I was chatting with another Advertising instructor. He normally rips the shit of of his students with the full intention of making them better creatives. We were talking about how this somewhat harsh method was really for the best of the students. Being tough pushes them and results in better creative. The sucky kids won't care and will end up hating the teacher, but the good ones will care, will work harder and will create better work.
We all know what we mean when we use the word nice. How was your date tonight? Nice. How do you like my new haircut? It's nice. Nice is the word we use when we can't think of something more substantial to say.
Is that really what you want to hear about your portfolio? Sure, being nice to you (with regard to your work) spares everyone's feelings. But, back to the Ad Gabber article -- Being nice will kill young creatives.
Keep that in mind when a creative director or an instructor rips your idea apart. In fact, seek out criticism. I always feel bad when I don't like work in someone's portfolio and they are sitting right in front of me waiting for my response. I will always try to give some suggestions as to how they could rethink or rework or even just start over with their idea. I might feel bad that I didn't praise the work, but I do know better work may come out of my advice.
Mostly, I think I am too nice. I struggle with what to say about a book that I don't think is strong. Usually, it's "you have a good range of work." Which is true without being judgmental. Starting today, I will taper that practice. Of course manners and politeness won't be tapered. But everyone deserves honesty and genuine feedback and maybe my being too nice in that regard is the exact opposite of being helpful.