All 3 teams have now posted their submissions for the gallery brief and we are tasked with individually critiquing the outcomes. This is quite a daunting task as a critique can offer insights into areas that had not been considered by the presenting team and it can also be hard not to take criticism personally. I realize that the purpose of a critique is to offer methods of improvement in a productive manner, nevertheless, negative feedback on something you have worked incredibly hard on is always difficult to digest. Not that a critique should necessarily be negative; I believe there should be a balance of positive comments to balance anything that requires improvement.
Coming from a teaching background, I feel I am at a slight advantage at the offset of this task; mainly due to the frequency with which I am required to critique work and offer feedback. Having read over the support materials I am already familiar with many of the techniques discussed and intend to apply this knowledge to my critique of the other team’s presentations.
I laughed out loud at some of the points listed in the the AIGA article, ‘How to survive a critique’. Cheng, (2013) discussed the “hamburger method” , or as I, and many others like to refer to it, the “Shit Sandwich!” It is a technique whereby first, positive feedback is issued, followed by the negative, aka ‘the shit’ and subsequently feedback concludes on a more positive note. It’s a technique I use all the time with my own students and something that seems to work. By focusing on the positive at the beginning and the end, the student doesn’t feel like they have failed but rather see’s the negative criticism as part of the process.
Another interesting point was raised in the support material, in the article by Scott Berkun, Berkun (n.d) states,
“Good and bad, is not the same as what you like or don’t like. You must shatter the idea that anything you like is good, and anything you don’t is bad. If you can’t separate your personal preferences from more abstract analysis of a kind of work, then you will rarely provide much useful feedback:”
I believe this is a vitally important aspect of any design critique; learning to remove personal preference from the judgement of successful design. This is something I am still working on. It can be difficult to positively review a piece of work which is styled in a manner that I don’t find visually appealing. However, in choosing to review a piece based on proper use of the elements and principles of design, the critique becomes less subjective and more about good design practice. I will definitely use this line of thinking when reviewing the work of others for the next activity and beyond.
I plan to begin the task of critiquing the work tomorrow as I have been busy with work and finalizing my website for the Practice 2 module. This will give me enough time to adequately review the work and reflect upon the outcomes using the techniques discussed.
Berkun, S. (n.d.) #35 How to give and receive criticism. Available at: http://scottberkun.com/essays/35-how-to-give-and-receive-criticism/ [Accessed on 30 October 2014)
Cheng, K. How to survive a critique : a guide to giving and receiving feedback. Available at: http://www.aiga.org/how-to-survive-a-critique/ [Accessed 29 August 2015]