I Like It…But Could It Have More…Zip?


Jason Santa Maria is a good pal to us here in Chicago, and a terrifically solid thinker on all things design. Case in point, he’s just released the third chapter in his “Under the Loupe” series, which is, of course, about design. The topic this time around: critiquing. And geez is it something of value. Granted, this writer didn’t go to design school because he a) has no talent and b) was too busy wasting his brain power getting an English degree, learning about such drastically important things such as what reasons Percy Shelly had for writing Queen Mab, but a critique is a critique and now that this here writer is in the thick of design, it’s interesting to know how it should be done, either on the giving or receiving end. And for those of you who did attend your fancy dancy drawin’ and letterin’ schools, this should serve as a nice refresher course. Here’s a couple of tips:

Just as you shouldn’t take it out on the waiter when you are served ill-prepared food from the kitchen, you should be cautious of assuming that every facet of a design is solely the designer’s intention (especially when it comes to client work). There are many factors involved in a design, some of which the designer has little or no control over.

Sometimes you will need to prod people for their real thoughts. If people are stone-facing you with an “I don’t like it” angle, try and crack them. Ask questions to try and draw a real response out of them. Chances are, their problem may be with a small piece of the design and they are just having trouble communicating it to you.