Rejection is something no one likes. Sometimes it’s stings and other times the comments are good for reflection. Could your work or performance have been better? With one group of people you get awards, with another they leave you feeling that perhaps you should change professions. Or why were you crazy enough to even think about applying.

Over the last several years I have entered Graphic Design USA’s “American Graphic Design Awards” in three different categories of logo design, website design, and books. I received their award in all three categories. I still remember how I felt when I saw first the award. Remembering that feeling has helped soften the gut kick to the email below.

Creative Market is a place I often go to for inexpensive artwork for wedding invitations, backgrounds for custom Christmas cards I design, images for mockup artwork and the like. I have been successfully selling a few predesigned WordPress child themes on another online marketplace and on this website and decided to apply to Creative Market. Twelve hours later, I received the following, I copied it directly, typos included:

Rejection - Big Max's Studio

Hi Patricia


Thank you for your interest in Creative Market and for taking the time to apply to open a shop! We wanted to take a moment to give you some feedback on your application.


After looking over your application, the quality of the work you’re currently presenting doesn’t match the standards we’ve set for our community. However, with a little time, we think your work could improve and transform into products that would be successful on our marketplace.


Here are some tips to help you get accepted:


  • Show completed products that you intend to sell
  • Demonstrate how your products would be useful for customers
  • Remove items from your portfolio that do not represent your best work

If it’s helpful to you, we recommend checking out the How-To and Tips & Trickssections of our blog, where you can learn about successfully presenting your work to Creative Market customers.


Please note that if you plan on reapplying, we won’t be able to accept you if you submit the same portfolio. Follow the guidelines above, make sure you put your best work forward, and update your portfolio to reflect it. When you’re ready, please re-submit your shop application by filling out this form again.


The Creative Market Team


Please note: Due to the large number of shop requests we receive, we cannot provide individual feedback. Thank you for understanding!

I was on the telephone with a client and when the email came in, and in the middle of our conversation I blurted out, “What the hell, who sends something like this?” Well, that sparked her curiosity, and followed with “Sends what?”

“Here I’ll forward it to you?”

“Okay, and shortly she blurted out, “Who in the hell sends something like this? Who are these people and why would you want to be involved with them? I would expect my daughter to get something like this from one of her teachers, but not a company.” Her daughter is going to a high school dedicated to the arts.

I also shared the email with a couple other friends who all have the same response. The overwhelming consensus was perhaps they need to re-read or more than likely read it for the first time, Emily Post.

Like I said, in the beginning, there are ways to let someone know you don’t care to sell their products or use their services, without out kicking them in the gut. Would it not have been better for Creative Market to say something along the lines “Sorry at the present time our market is saturated with what you are selling, and we are not opening new shops at this time.”

I find it interesting that they have an article on their website titled “9 Way to Calm Your Brain When You’ve Been Rejected.” Right after they tell you to take a moment and cry it out, of course, they tell you it isn’t personal. Further, “It’s not you, it’s the product.” No, it’s personal to the person who just received their email and created the product. I’m quite sure the product did not produce itself.

All artwork is subjective. What is pleasing to someone, may have someone else saying, “What where they are thinking?” Again, everyone knows you can’t please everyone no matter how hard you try. The question then is, why insult someone if you don’t like what they are offering?

In the end, I won’t be reapplying. The samples in my portfolio are complete, they would be useful to their customers, and they show my best work. At least that’s what I’ve been told by present and former clients, and Graphic Design USA three years in a row.

I do have a couple of questions for The Creative Market Team:

  • Did they really review my portfolio? If they are that swamped with people wanting to open stores, I’d expect it to take them a little longer than twelve hours to respond.
  • How would they possibly know whether something in my portfolio was a completed or not?

If you been following my posts, you know I always end with let’s chat, so if you like to add something to the conversation, let’s chat.

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