There is a popular sentiment in design: in order to make good work, you have to have taste; that taste is a fixed aspect of who you are. Just as taste can be applied to people, the labels good or bad often get applied to design work: “That’s just bad design.”
This fixed thinking not only prevents growth amongst designers, it also prevents successful design work. Design is not simply good or bad. It’s best measured in terms of success in the context of the problem being solved or the goal that’s being pursued.
A regular, structured design critique provides the space to help designers make their work more successful. Not only that, but participating in critique of others’ work helps you improve your taste, thereby making you a better judge of your own work.
“Design is not simply good or bad.”
Explicitly defining a structure allows more people than just designers to contribute in meaningful ways, which is a great way to manage stakeholder expectations. In addition to explicitly stating goals and rules of conduct, it’s useful to maintain an internal rubric to keep the critique focused on the right questions at the right time, regardless of participants’ design ability.
Join me in talking about best practices in design critique involving everyone from junior designers to C-level executives, on Thursday, May 26, 11AM-Noon. Register for the free webinar and submit a question you’d like me to answer.
Update: This webinar is now concluded. You can watch the full video recording of Zac’s presentation on this topic below:
Zac’s slide deck from this presentation can be viewed here.