So much easier to be a Critic than Create from Nothing

I was having dinner with one of my best friends tonight and I mentioned my new website. 2 1/2 years ago when I launched my old one I was completely obsessed with it for about 3 months and it took up most of my time.  Now that I’m swamped with work and creating my new 2.0 website which will have my portfolio, blog, Facebook fan page, Twitter, everything else all in one, I feel slightly overwhelmed.


Since my website will be all new, my branding is also changing and so far it looks like my entire blog header (above) will be toast as well. And everyone I talk to loves it and thinks it should stay (or at least the illustration should).

My friend said the illustration on my site was the best part of it.  She said it makes her happy just looking at it.  My partner said “That’s what I’ve been saying, but she won’t listen”.  And here’s the thing, inside my new website which has tabs and bells and whistles, this header looks busy, so I understand that it might have to go.

Large companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new branding package. Then when it’s launched, people say “That’s so simple, I could have done that”. But that’s what makes good branding great in my opinion.

Anyway, I had a slight meltdown tonight and part of my little rant was this “It is so much easier to criticize something once it’s been created – but WAY harder to create something from nothing. Everyone has an opinion about my old header but no one understands the process of creating a new brand, the limitations you have when trying to fit something old into something new. (not unlike renovating or decorating your house) And that’s just because you’re not here, you are not the one sitting beside my designer saying “Change that, tweak that colour, cleaner, muddier, brighter, darker, ” That’s how detailed it has to be because colour is the most important part.

When I was a new designer, I was totally confronted when I was given an empty room to design. It all became so much easier when I defined what ‘my look’ was and could translate it into my clients home.

I once toured a show home that a Canadian celebrity designer had created, and it was beautiful. The designer I happened to be with, methodically and room by room, criticized and trashed pretty much everything. And in my head I was thinking “Where’s your show house that is so much better than this one?

And just in case you think I’m saying I don’t criticize? That’s not it at all. However as a creative person I understand the process of creating something from nothing in my own business so I have compassion for others that do the same thing. It’s also how I can appreciate a beautifully decorated room even if it’s not my taste.

How long did your website take from start to finish?

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

Related posts:

Colour & Condoms

Danger: The First 24 Hours After you Take Possession

Does your Blog Header reflect your Personal Brand?

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  1. My House, My Garden

    I just re-read my comment and it sounded like I feel like you MUST keep the girl. With or without the girl, anything you do is going to be top notch!

  2. Nan @ Playful Decor

    Maybe it's human nature to be a critic first and empathetic second? And, unless you've actually done a certain job, no one really knows the background and details that are put into it. I also believe most people don't like change when we don't know what the new "it" is. That said, most businesses re-brand every now & then, part of having a business! Can't wait to see the new you!

  3. Maria: No matter what your current brand looks like – does it still represent the type of business you have as well as the one you want? Is your dream to continue serving the same type of client? If you look at the examples you provide on your blog/website – which I assume is the type of work you do or want to do – they are pared down, elegant, fresh and clean, sophisticated. (you probably have your own list of who you are). Does your new brand reflect these attributes? Brands do need refreshing from time to time. Anyone who follows you is not going to stop following you. A new brand that reflects who you are and attracts the clients you want will work in your favour. The only proof will be in the evaluation once you've relaunched. Follow your heart.

  4. Maria, thank you for articulating this concept. It truly is easier to criticize than to create, and I will now always keep this in mind as I see and consider other designers' work.

    I know whatever new look you choose for your site will reflect you and your amazing sense of style and color. Have fun with it. I look forward to seeing everything!

    Jill McDougall

  5. I TOTALLY understand…my website looks like a totally different animal than my blog…I'm torn…between 2 worlds and was also in torment for several weeks (only a designer could understand this insanity!) so until I have an epiphany of which "world" I want to live in…the 2 will just have to co-exist…I know whatever you decide, it will be gorgeous!

    P.S. Like interiors, just because something is great and you love it, doesn't mean it fits with the current scheme!

  6. I can understand how you feel… It is really easy for people to say you should keep this and that, but they don't know what you're going for, what your direction is.
    Just a suggestion, if you feel you want to give people a chance to look at your old artwork, since you can have tabs, maybe you could put the old artwork in it's own tab for a while. Then they could click on it and see the logo. After a while, once that tab is no longer getting any traffic, you could delete it and no one will miss it.

  7. Maria,
    Your question implies that a website IS finished….

    While we're so grateful to have something that represents our work done and out there, as creative people we also know that it too will need to change. Sooner or later it will need modifying to keep up with our changing understanding of ourselves and our business.

    "Done is better than perfect" helps me let go and see the big picture is always change. (and still I obsess about the details….)

    The illustration is charming, and may be in thte same category as the writer's "darlings"… as in "Must murder your darlings" so that your work can grow!

  8. This is the first time to your blog. I see you are a color expert.then you ned to know what is wrong with this blog. All the things you have put in light green color to make it stand out,dosen't. I have a hard time reading the light green font. Also the yellow fornt. Those colors stand out when the blog background is dark.You might also want to increase the size of the font just a little. I like the illustration at the top. THis might help in the new blog. Kathy

  9. Wendi @ Classic Chic Home

    Hi Maria,

    As frustrating as the process is, you must be excited over the prospect of your new website.

    As far as how long it's taken to complete my own website – it's a constantly evolving work in progress. Almost daily I'm tweaking a margin size, researching how to adjust certain formatting, or removing an element that adds unwanted visual clutter.

    Our websites represent our style, create a specific 'feeling' that our readers connect with, and demonstrate our level of professionalism and attention to detail.

    Your current website is wonderful, and I have no doubt that your new one will be fabulous!

  10. Dearest Maria, I love this post and so feel for you! I have thought and thought about the possibility of changing to something different ..but what?? It's a heart-wrenching thought. I've drawn sketches, looked at other websites..and talked to blog designers….but can't take the plunge..yet!

    Changing my blog would be daunting. It took many many many hours to design and tweak my blog to it's present state (and a substantial amount of money too I might add), and to start over would be pretty intimidating! I can't imagine what it would take to make a new website for you.

    I'm proud of you for taking the plunge into the 'new'. It is hard for most people to accept change…but to me, your header is just an image, however darling, (and it is that!!).

    When I read your posts and 'hear' your voice on your new website…I'll be 'home' again. :o)


  11. Critiquing versus creating…so true! Criticizing comes naturally and requires little thought or effort. Creating takes ALL of you and requires true risk.

    Have you ever seen Ratatouille? The movie is about a severe food critic who finally comes to admit the truth of what you are saying on this post. It may be a children's movie..but my 20yr.old and I love it!

  12. Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES)

    Maria– My website took about two months. I built it on Dreamweaver. It's been neglected lately and in need of a lift!

    I can't wait to see what fresh look your site will have.


  13. Hello Darling, its Les. Keep up the good work and listen to your gut. That almost always usually works best, mostly.

    As you know, I am rebranding my business with the blog now up and running and in the middle of re-doing the web site. Yes, I know the feeling of "make that orange a little more red please"

    PLease have a look at my latest posts and tell me what you think. I always appreciate your comments.

    Oh, I love your header and I hope you can find a way to keep it.

  14. Maria, I feel your pain. We just completed our third web-site re-do/update and I stess over ever detail every time. Although I can't seem to help myself when it comes to asking for people's opinion it often just confuses the issue because in the end the decision falls squarely back in my lap and I must like what I see everyday. You will make the correct decision. Go for it!! 🙂

  15. Just found your post. I am a little behind but I read your blog everyday and somehow I missed this one. I am not a designer, graphic artist or technology expert but I am constantly amazed at your high energy, dedication to your clients and your blog and creativity. You are appreciated in blogland VERY MUCH! Whatever you decide will be great. THANKS SO MUCH!

  16. I Googled “It is ten times easier to be a critic than a creator” and it brought me here. I thought someone must have felt like this at some time.