The Art of Analysis
Arunas P. Oslapas, Associate Professor | Western Washington University
What Is a Critique?
Analysis. Evaluation. Commentary. Judgment. Essentially, a design critique is an honest, subjective opinion about another’s creative work that covers a variety of issues including, but not limited to content, form, execution, and presentation.
In the eighteenth-century, the verb, critique, meaning “to review or discuss critically” was originally neutral between praise and censure but because of the verb criticize, today it is mainly used in a negative sense.
Intent of a Critique
The goal of a critique is a combination of the following:
a) Identify the strengths and weaknesses of a piece.
b) Offer constructive advice that might lead to improvement.
c) Choose a direction or make a decision.
d) Begin a constructive discourse beneficial to the individual, team, and project.
e) Assist the designer in their personal development.
f) Help to develop an attitude and discerning eye of both designer and critic.
It is imperative for designers to learn an effective critique process and to be able to accept criticism as well because “If you don’t know what’s wrong, how can you fix it?” As a service-based discipline, clients, consumers, engineers, marketing professionals, and design managers will continually be assessing and changing a designer’s work. This messy iterative process we call design is solidly based on feedback and change.