Keep on keeping on
“She knows there’s no success like failure, and that failure’s no success at all”.
… as Bob Dylan famously put it. I don’t think anyone is exactly sure of his point and Monday morning is perhaps not the best time to try to work it out. But I thought I would kick off the week on the jolly topic of rejection.
Subscribers to Creative Review get a great booklet each month from Monograph, and the latest is a gallery of rejected work. Some of it, frankly, you can see why. Other bits are fantastic. This post features some of the booklets images that I liked.
It’s in the nature of designers to hoard their favourite failures, ideas and executions they will treasure until their dying day (or until the work is recycled into some other future project). Rejection is part of the deal for design, and an ever present possibility. So one has to get hardened to it. In fact it’s one of the skills that have to be acquired in the profession, accepting failure philosophically. Artists get plenty of rejection too, but generally it seems they when they ‘make it’ they are never rejected again. Commercial artists however, whatever their standing, can expect to get knock backs throughout their careers.
It’s a truism at jkr that our best work has always at some point hovered over the bin. Which suggests that it is often the boldest work that sails closest to the chilly wind of rejection. That’s of some consolation when one’s latest baby is chucked on the skip. Having said that developing a thick skin is important, on a personal level twenty plus years of regular rejection has taken me to new heights of potential chagrin. I am currently peeved with a client who loved some work because he loved the images. I wanted him to love the concept. So the approved work has a bitter sweet quality for me. Failure’s no success at all I guess.
Whatever, it’s a new week ahead and many of us will face a few knock backs. However, one thing I think is an industry-wide strength, and of which we can be proud, is our ability to dust ourselves off, get back on the horse and keep going. We have to. In advice slightly clearer than Dylan’s, Samuel Beckett notes “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”