Design critique What, How & Why — Step by step guide.

Ismail El Azizi
March 20th, 2018 · 3 min read

Having a friend that shares with me the Love of design was my special friendship in the previous year, it makes me talk to him every day, sharing works and giving feedback to each other.

Whenever I receive a work from that friend, my replay is “wow,” “awesome,” and “ I like it.” if I like the work, if I don’t, I used to not give any answer, because I think that my negative feedback will break him.
I reminded as that for a long time before I started reading about the art of design critique.

As I usually do in my articles, today you will discover the best thing that I have read about that art.

What is design critique?

From earlier in my reading journey, I have learned that design critique isn’t about liking or not liking things as I used to do before, but it is about knowing why you like and don’t like things.

Don’t stop at “wow!”, Be calm and think Why!

Design critique is a corrective part of the design process, it comes to discover how to make the design better by affording changes to be made to the design before it is done.

How to critique a design?

  1. observe: give more than a quick glance. Look at the whole work, discover its parts and be aware of details.
  2. Find things work well, then ask yourself why you think they work, and think about the answers. Being right isn’t important. What is important is your thinking about the answers.
    Example; “ I like how the design is perfectly balanced, I think because it is built on a grid system.
  3. Find things don’t work well, Explain why and tell where the problem is. Example “ I think the title is hard to read, maybe you are choosing the bad typeface.
  4. Think of what could be better: offer some suggestions on how you would improve the design.
    Example: “ I think you will get much better results if you limit the number of colors.

Questions are a good way to critique

Design critique doesn’t have to be about giving remarks and advice, it can just be about asking the right questions. So instead of telling the designer how to fix the design, questions will offer direction to let him/her come up with a solution.

Example: “ You said it is for a musical subject, do you think the image goes through that side?

Why design critique?

  • As a designer, you have a tendency to get too close to your work, and the resulting physical and emotional proximity combine to prevent you from seeing your own work clearly. When you ask for critique, you immediately separate yourself from your design and start judging it reasonably without being attached to it, what you do is creating a spacial distance of independent between you and your design that helps you defend your design decision.
  • When you critique someone else’s work, see it as an opportunity to gain an experienced design eye that sees and understand how can one thing be a blessing or a curse, something that works well or something that doesn’t in different places.
  • Design critique creates trust through collaboration in a team environment. It is the good time to share and improve your team’s ability to think about and discuss design ideas.

let’s Practice

If you are a designer within a team, you can use the last tips to have an efficient design critique with your coworkers, but if you are someone who works alone, those are some good places to get and receive critiques:

  • The Design League: a cool facebook group where you can receive critiques or share your work to get critiques from others.
  • Design critique: an active community on reddit that helps the new and amateur designer to improve their works through reviews and critiques.
  • Chris Do: he gives an amazing live design critique session on youtube.
  • Me : I can help you, be free to email me here :


Providing and receiving feedback is a highly valuable step toward shaving the quality of your work, let’s practice and practice, because the moment you stop critique your work, you stop seeing it clearly.

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