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by on April 13, 2011

In Kenneth FitzGerald article “Quietude”, FitzGerald discusses critical writings of designs and how they have come to a stand still. He talks about how people are no longer writing critically and how there is basically no one writing at all. He goes on to talk about Rick Poynor and his belief “that design is worth of an accessible, expansive, sustained and discerning inquiry”. I agree with this instance that design should be critiqued at its fullest. If we do not take it seriously and see what things we can improve than how will we ever come up with new and better designs.

FtizGerald goes on to discuss how “major publications know what their audience wants – and it’s not criticism”.  He also states “Design has no heritage of or belief in criticism. Design education programs continue to emphasize visual articulation, not verbal or written. The goal is to sell your idea to a client and/or a hypothetical audience. Design in relation to culture and society is rarely confronted. If this is true about publications and the educations system, then isn’t it the fault of our educators, our professors, for not instilling this idea in us from the start? I agree that there is not an emphasis on verbal and written articulations, but is it not our professors opportunity to express the importance of this in our classes and make it a requirement to approach this in the program? I do believe that we are given the opportunity to articulate our critical analysis of each other’s works verbally in critique, but everyone is usually so nice. Isn’t it the duty of the professor to teach us how to properly critique and even make critical comments about ones work? If they do not teach us this, than who will?

After this FitzGerald goes on to discuss how “Design is still a small world. Friends are often writing about friends. Even when writers I respect discuss designers I admire, I wonder what a less connected account might offer. That said, the paucity of critics means that fewer articles would be written if we limited such connections”.  This is true friends are nice to each other when critiquing each other’s work. Peers do not rip into each other one what is wrong and how they could improve the other work, or that is it simply put, bad. Maybe it’s the belief that we should encourage each other that our true feelings about others works do not come out. If we were to critique them to harshly, they may want to give up. What would be wrong with this, one less crappy designer. People should be harsh and let the other person know, how they feel, how else are we going to improve or keep the design world free of crappy designs. I also think it is very important to get critiques from people who are not your peers. These people don’t have a relationship with you they are worried about effecting and so will more easily be able to tell you how they truly feel.

Overall I think its the responsibility of our educators, people in our industry and our peers to make sure our work is properly critiqued. No one should be afraid to take it seriously.



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  1. I think you made a great point about critiquing others work! We are given the opportunity to provide a critical analysis of our peers work in class. However for the same reasons that professionals are too “nice” in the real world to their friends, we are in the classroom.

    I believe it is the instructors job to teach their students how to examine work critically and provide constructive feedback.

  2. Do you believe our professors at ODU teach us how to constructively criticize each other work? Or do you believe they are too “nice” as well?

    • I believe that many of the professors here give great constructive criticism however there are some that don’t give constructive criticism or dare I say no criticism at all. Instead critiques are left to the students and the grades reflect the instructor’s opinions of the work.

      How does that help us learn? It doesn’t……we accept the grade without truly understanding what it was the teacher was looking for. We push the project aside and move on hoping the next will be better.

  3. I completely agree!

  4. Alexandria Walker permalink

    I agree as well that it is our educators that should teach us how to give a proper critique. Yes it is nice to say that you like something or that you don’t like it, but that’s not enough. We should be able to say why and what is truly on our minds. However, we have adapted to the belief that for critiques to be positive, we must only say positive things or end a constructive criticism with “that’s just my opinion and by the way, good job.” Honestly, we need to be exposed to the cruel reality and know its okay.

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