Guidelines for critiques

by Nathan Estep

There are few. I’m more interested in reading your ideas about design than I am in regulating how you write it. Twice a month you will:

1. Select some sort of visual communication. I suggest picking newspaper front pages from Newseum because those will be most pertinent to our class. But you’re welcome to look at movie posters, advertisements, magazine covers, billboards, web pages, iPad applications, fine art, needlepoint, business cards, product packaging, tattoos, baseball caps, graffiti, sneakers, blingy fingernail treatments or ANY DESIGNED MATERIAL THAT ATTEMPTS TO COMMUNICATE WITH AN AUDIENCE THROUGH VISUAL EXPRESSION. Upload a pdf or jpeg so that we can see what you’re writing about.

2. In a few paragraphs tell me why you think that the communication is effective or ineffective or both. It would be great if you incorporated ideas and vocabulary from your readings or from class, but I’m also interested in hearing perspectives from life experience or even your gut instincts. Designers aim to create visceral experiences for their audiences, so it’s absolutely correct to “trust your gut” when looking at other designers’ work. One of our goals this semester is to learn to be able to say something a little more complex than “Dude, that’s so cool!” or “Ewww, nasty!” when we respond to design. Tell me WHY you think it’s cool (or nasty), and imagine what sort of decision(s) the designer(s) had to make in order to create the cool/nasty effect.

Got it? And think short. About 150-200 words is plenty. ~N