Critique Guidelines

Please review these guidelines before critiques in class as a reminder. These are some good, simple guidelines that can help shape a constructive in class critique.

1. Critique must remain constructive.

Rather than saying “That was cool” or “I didn’t like it”, make sure to explain what you liked and what you did not think worked so well in the work you are viewing. Try to be as specific as possible, using terms that we have reviewed in class to articulate what you mean when you can.

2. Critique must not be personal.

Judge your classmates work objectively, but also with empathy. This applies not only for negative criticism, but also for positive criticism. It is just as unhelpful to only get positive feedback, as it is to only get negative feedback.

3. Critique does not only mean pointing out problems. It also means highlighting good work!

4. Work with the intentions of the artist.

It is not helpful for critique to proceed along the lines of how YOU would have made the work. It’s not your work that is being critiqued.

5. Be clear about the area of your critique: technical, aesthetic, or conceptual.

For example, a part of an image may be blurry or pixelated (technical). Or it may not work because it is poorly composed (aesthetic). Or perhaps it’s not working because it doesn’t communicate what the artist intended (conceptual). 

6. The student needs to be open and accepting of critique.

The idea is to learn by listening. The role of the student whose work is being viewed must be simply to take in everyone’s thoughts on their work. It’s not always easy, but we all become better artists by knowing firsthand how an audience is receiving our work.

7. The student should not respond to critique.

Students should not respond to a critique unless they are asked a direct question or need clarification on a point. Listening to everyone and everything does not mean that all feedback is helpful and right, but this does allow students to avoid taking a defensive role in the critique. Later, all of the feedback can be processed, the good points can be taken into consideration, and the bad points can be thrown out.

8. The student must take notes.

Being in a critique is not an easy position to be in- and at times it can get overwhelming while being critiqued. Taking notes will help you to remember important considerations discussed in critique.


: Starting Week 3, we will also begin each class with a 2- 3 minute zip.crit. A zip.crit is a rapid critique of an interface, object, design, etc. Three or four people will sign up to do a zip.crit each class. Each student will select an interface, object, design, etc. This should be something specific (e.g., the Macbook Air charger) and not something vague (current charging systems). At the beginning of the class, the chosen students will introduce the objects, interface, or design they selected. Each will have considered 5 pro and 5 con arguments about the design and discuss these with the rest of the class. You can receive up to 8 points for the zip.crit towards your participation points. Your grade will reflect your presentation, whether you choose an appropriate object to critique (see above), whether you covered 5 pros and cons, and whether you discussed the object’s broader impact or implications.