Design Critiques at Studio Lenzing
Design critiques are an important part of the design process, as they provide a platform for designers to share their work and receive constructive feedback from their peers.
At Studio Lenzing we reframed our design critique as “Design Table” — this way it sounds more open and inviting and less like a roasting session; because words are important.
In order for critique sessions to be effective, they should be run in a way that fosters collaboration, open-mindedness, and respect among team members. Here are some learnings on how to run a good design critique sessions with your team.
Establish clear goals and expectations.
Before the critique session begins, make sure everyone knows what the goals of the session are and what is expected of them. For example, you might want to focus on a specific aspect of the design, such as usability or visual appeal, or you might want to encourage collaboration and idea-sharing among team members.
Set ground rules
In order for critique sessions to be productive and positive, it’s important to establish some ground rules to ensure that everyone is on the same page. For example, you might want to encourage team members to provide constructive feedback and to avoid personal attacks, and you might want to set a time limit for each critique so that the session doesn’t drag on for too long.
Encourage open-mindedness and inclusivity
A design critique should be a safe space where team members feel comfortable sharing their work and their ideas. Encourage team members to approach the critique with an open mind, and to be inclusive and respectful of others’ perspectives.Ensure that introverted individuals have an equal opportunity to participate and be heard in the conversation. Make an effort to create a level playing field for all participants.
Focus on the design, not the designer
It’s easy to get caught up in personal opinions and biases, but it’s important to remember that the critique session is about the design, not the designer. Encourage team members to provide specific, actionable feedback that is focused on the design itself, rather than the person who created it.
Be willing to revise and iterate
A key part of the design process is the ability to revise and iterate based on feedback. Encourage team members to be open to new ideas and to be willing to make changes to their designs based on the feedback they receive.
Try bundling your feedback into a few key points
This will help you to be more focused and effective in your communication. Plus, it's always a good idea to keep your feedback concise and to the point.
It is crucial that the listener pays attention and actively listens to the speaker. Avoid using provocative language or interrupting the speaker. Instead, give them the space to express themselves fully.
Brief your peers
It's important to keep in mind that not everyone was involved in every aspect of your project, so it's helpful to provide a brief introduction to the topic and outline the challenges and limitations for those who may not be as familiar with the project. This will help ensure that everyone has a good understanding and can provide helpful feedback.
In addition to regular sessions with the team, pair designing is one of the most effective way to bounce ideas off of each other and build upon each other's concepts. Not only is it a great way to come up with new and creative ideas, but it can also be a fun and engaging way to collaborate with others.
By following these tips, you can run design critique sessions that are productive, collaborative, and respectful. This will help your team to create better designs and to improve their skills as designers.