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Nearly all designers give and receive critiques in art school. It’s the most common means of formally discussing positive and negative criticism about a creative solution. Clients typically haven’t been trained in this technique, yet are constantly required to provide feedback on design.
Design critiques are guided group discussions used to elicit useful feedback.
In a critique, designers need to uncover their client’s true opinions about the design solution being presented. It is important to avoid discussion of specifically what the designer needs to do to make something better. Rather, a critique should generate thoughtful consideration and information that the designer reviews, then incorporates, into the next phase of work on the project. Designers may want to explain to their clients how to effectively critique design solutions in order to get the most valuable and actionable feedback possible.
Clients need to provide design criticism in an effective manner, and designers must negotiate that feedback responsibly. The chart below outlines how designers can manage the feedback loop to best advantage.
Be it with a group of your peers (like in class) or in a client meeting, critique can be one of the most beneficial stages in the design process. Critique allows us to see how others perceive our work, and learn what does and does not have the intended effect. This enables us to continually enhance and better our work and our skills.
When starting a critique, it is necessary to ensure your audience is familiar with the design brief - they should know what the problem you are attempting to solve is, and what the desired result should accomplish. If they don't know what your are trying to do, how will they know if you did it?
Here are the four essential steps and key questions to consider in a design critique:
• Initial reactions: What is your first impression of the design?
• Content: Is everything present that should be included in the design?
• Aesthetics: What is the total overall effect? Does it feel right?
• Style: Does the design style seem appropriate for the stated goal or purpose?
• Layout: Does everything seem to be in the right place?
• Flow: Does the content appear in a natural and logical progression?
• Usability: Is it easy to use or interact with the design solution?
• Typography: Does the type feel appropriate in tone?
• Color: How is color used? What effect does it have in terms of conveying the desired message?
• Completeness: Is anything missing? Conversely, is anything there that shouldn’t be?
• Audience: How do you think the target audience will respond to this solution? Why? Why not?
• Details: Is the use of these particular graphic elements consistent with the goals of the project? Why? Why not?
• Problem areas: What things in this solution are not as effective as they could be? Why do you think that?
• Appeal: Is this an effective and appealing design for the context it will live in? Why? Why not?
• Brief: Does this design fulfill the creative brief. If not, why not?
• Judgment: Given the answers to the above, does this design work?
Select one project you have completed in lab this year. Your assignment is to write an analytical critique of your selected piece of work. Utilize the steps listed above and given in the videos to structure your critique. As a critique of your own work, you should include thoughtful suggestions of ways in which you can improve the design to better communicate your message to your audience and allow the piece to better reach its goals.
Minimum of 600 words.
No more than 1,000 words.
Create as a Word document with the following specifications:
Use Google Docs
Font: 12pt. Georgia
Line spacing: 1.5
Margins: 1" on all sides
To submit your completed assignment, attach your google doc and a PDF to the classroom assignment.
Failure to submit this project by the assigned date will result in an automatic unexcused absence from school, as required by the Ohio Department of Education. If you have any questions, please consult your instructor.