Design critique is the process of analyzing and offering changes or solutions to marketing pieces or other design projects. What does design critique mean to you? It may be something you fear or something you find helpful! No matter what you feel, critique is a really important part of the design process.

No matter if you work in a diverse team or have clients of your own, it’s important to know how to take the critique in the most productive way. This feedback can get you out of your own head and look at your design through new perspectives. Its important to see things in a different way to perfect your craft and strengthen your skills.

While in a studio setting, it’s important to block out time and spend at least two hours a day going over work and really taking the time to dissect it and see what changes could be made. At the end of the day its really all about making the client happy.

The important thing to keep in mind when taking these necessary critique breaks is to do it in a positive way. Here are some of the negative patterns that can come from critiques:

>The team is afraid to speak up about changes, or suggestions. That their critique could come off being to brutal and not helpful.

>The team wasn’t all involved in the beginning stages of the work and so the end goal wasn’t clear. This could make the short window of critique time not as productive as it could.

How can we avoid these negative patterns in your own critique time? Heres a few suggestions!

Establish Clear Roles
There should be obvious roles that help keep the peace. A presenter, audience, and facilitator.

The presenter is the one showing the work and preparing it for review|
The audienceis anyone not presenting and is there to provide feedback
The facilitator helps to keep the critique in a positive direction and watches the time. These roles will help keep everyone on track and help improve the energy in the space.

Make Sure Everyone Agrees And Understands The Problem

Make it clear before the critique time starts that the goal of the project is addressed and what type of tasks were needed to complete the design.

Focus On The Feedback, Not Criticism

Instead of using phrases like “You should have done..” The audience should a approach a critique with questions rather than negative phrases.

Use a question like:

“I like how you addressed this part of the design, but how do you plan to scale this for other projects?”

“I like how you used this color scheme, how do you think it will work on other mediums?”

Keep Distractions To A Minimum

Put away phones and computers. This helps to makes sure the 2 hours (or whatever time you use) is the most productive it can be!

Just keep this in mind “Critique poses questions where criticism passes judgement.”

Following these few steps will improve your working relationship and assist in opening communication to assure both parties involved are getting exactly what they want and need. Have you been part of the design process or critique process? We would love to hear your experience in the comments!