How to Critique Any Design | MJ Truong | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

16 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. Hello!

    • 2. What is a bad critique?

    • 3. Four Steps to Crafting a Solid Critique

    • 4. Step 1: Compliments

    • 5. Step 2: Describe the Design

    • 6. Step 3: Goals and Misses

    • 7. Step 4: Practical Suggestions

    • 8. Three Common Functional Problems

    • 9. Four Common Aesthetic Problems

    • 10. How to talk about Aesthetics

    • 11. Recap

    • 12. Critique: Potato Ricer

    • 13. Critique: Whiskey Bottle

    • 14. Critique: Book Cover

    • 15. Thanks!

    • 16. Course Cheat Sheet

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About This Class

Have you ever felt like a design wasn’t quite right, but didn’t know how to verbalize it?

I created this course for anyone - designers and non-designers alike - who wants to critique works of design in a more persuasive and rational way. 

Maybe you work with designers and want to be able to give them better feedback. Maybe you’re a designer yourself. Or maybe you’re just interested in design. 

In this course, I’ll teach you how to formulate an intelligent, well-structured, and fair design critique. Let’s get started!


Meet Your Teacher

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MJ Truong

Meyer Innovation Factory Lead


Originally from Northern California, MJ has lived and worked in New York City, Hong Kong, and London as an industrial designer and is now heading up the Meyer Innovation Factory, an interdisciplinary team of designers and researchers dedicated to human-centered design and cooking innovations at Meyer, a global cookware company.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from Yale University and her Masters of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute.

Her other hobbies and interests include music, photography (especially adapting vintage lenses to mirrorless cameras), writing, pottery, leatherworking, and making things in general.

See full profile

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1. Hello!: Have you ever looked at a work of design and seen something that just didn't feel quite right to you? Have you found yourself not quite sure how to verbalize what exactly it was you thought was wrong with the design? Have you ever wanted to be able to improve your own designs but weren't necessarily sure where they fell short? Hi. My name is MJ Truong. I'm an Industrial Designer, and I head up the Meyer Innovation Factory. We are a group of food-loving creatives, and our job is to foster human-centered design at Meyer which is a global kitchenware company. Over the course of my career so far, I've seen a lot of different types of design work, and I've given and gotten a lot of critiques. So using my observations and experiences working in design, I've developed this course to help you analyze works of design in more thoughtful ways so you can not only sound more intelligent but more importantly, give better feedback and ultimately get better results. So whether you're a design student wanting to up your game during crits or maybe you work in a setting where a design work has to be evaluated, or perhaps you simply enjoy thinking about design and want to be able to talk about it in a clearer, more considered manner, this course was designed for you. So what does this course cover? Over the course of these lessons, we're going to talk about what a bad critique is and why it's bad, how to formulate a coherent and intelligent critique, common functional issues in design, and common aesthetic issues in design. We're also going to do example critiques. So I'm going to critique objects across design disciplines from product design to packaging design to graphic design, et cetera. One thing I want to say here is that I don't believe that you need to be an expert in any given industry or even to be a designer in order to be able to give a well-formulated design critique. As long as you have the ability to put yourself in the shoes of the user of the design or understand the purpose and context of the design object, you can make useful comments about it. Finally, I want to say a word about what this course doesn't cover. This course is not going to cover how to critique works of art. Art and design are while in many ways overlapping disciplines, they are distinct in that works of art are at heart expressive, whereas works of design are at heart functional. This is not to say that there's no element of creative expression in design work. There totally definitely is. But I just want to make the distinction here that we're going to be covering how to critique design works and artistic works because the kind of critique you're going to get for an artistic work is just intrinsically different from a critique of design work. So by the end of this course, my goal is for you to be able to look at a work of design and be able to give a thoughtful, useful, and well-structured critique. So let's get started. 2. What is a bad critique?: All right. So, in this lesson I'm going to be talking about bad critiques. Essentially a bad critique is one that has no basis or rational foundation. All right. There are a few ways that this can play out. So, one way that you can make a bad critique is by making a subjective statement about what you like or don't like and leaving it at that. So, for example I don't like this orange or I don't like the sharp angles that you used here or I don't like products with retro designs. This is bad because regardless of whether you're the lowest of low interns or if you're the CEO of a company, your opinion alone if it's not accompanied by a logical foundation is not a meaningful measure of a design success especially if your opinion has no coherent underlying reasoning, it could very well be that your opinion is just plain wrong. So, rather than saying you simply don't like something, it would be much better to say something like "Well, I think these sharp angles create a design impression that is too modern for our target customer" Or "I don't think this color is on brand and I feel it will create too much of a contrast in the context of our other product offerings." Okay? So, the second way that you could make a bad critique is by making a vague claim that is essentially unactionable because of how broad it is. So for example, this design is not attractive. So, while a statement like this is not necessarily untrue. Your job as a thoughtful critic is to try to identify what aspects of the design might be problematic, right? And isolate those factors for the designers so that they can come up with a specific game plan of how to improve that design. So, in this case instead of saying just "Well, this design is not very attractive, " you might say "Well, I think that this design is a little bit top heavy, with a large body on top and the skinny little legs underneath and I feel this gives it an unbalanced feeling a bit like an elephant on stilts." All right. So, a third way that you can make a baseless criticism is by not providing context to specific comments. Don't think you're off the hook just by isolating a particular design detail as being problematic. You still have to give a reason. So for example, if I said well, the sidewall on the lid of this lotion pot is too shiny. Well, too shiny for what? Right. A better critique might be, well, this cap uses a foil-like material with a glossy finish that to me in conjunction with the color closely resembles the finishes used in Dollar Store Christmas Decorations which I feel lowers the perceived product value. It might feel a bit more high end if the finish were maybe more semi matte or satin which is considered more contemporary and high-end these days. All right. So, now that you kind of understand what it means to give a bad critique, in the rest of this course I'm going to explain how to go about devising focused meaningful critiques that substantiate your opinions, obliterate your vagueness, and give context to your grapes. All right, so let's get started. 3. Four Steps to Crafting a Solid Critique: So, in order to help you always offer useful criticism, I've identified a four-step process to crafting a solid critique. In this lesson, I'm going to quickly go over what the four steps are, and then in the subsequent videos, I'll be going over each one of them in detail. First, especially if you're dealing with a designer directly, it's really good practice to start with a compliment of some kind. Then what you want to do is describe your experience of the design, especially the element that you want to criticize. This sets you up for the next step, which is, to frame that critique in terms of goals and misses. Finally, for each criticism, you should offer specific, practical suggestions about how the designer could address that criticism. That's the gist of it. In the next few lessons, I'm going to go over each of these steps in more detail. 4. Step 1: Compliments: Okay. So the first thing you're going to want to do in any critique is to give some kind of compliment. Why? Well, from a purely human perspective, it goes without saying that you should always be kind and gracious whenever possible. Right? Especially, if you're in a position of power, which if you you are in a place where you're giving someone a critique, you probably are in some way or another. Right? Remember, the person on the receiving end of your critique is a human with feelings, just like you. Designing is a creative act, and sharing creative work takes courage because if care about your work, it feels like part of you, and when it gets criticized, believe me, it doesn't feel good. If the human perspective isn't enough to convince you, then I'll offer you a pragmatic perspective as well. Giving an honest compliment right off the bat helps build a connection between you and the designer, and helps prevent the designer from getting offended and kind of putting up a mental blockade during the rest of the critique. Frankly, it's human nature to automatically be defensive when someone is criticizing you. So leading off with kind words is a good way to help ease that instinct off. You want them to listen to you, don't you? I would recommend that for every criticism you have of someone's design, you should try to come up with at least one compliment or kind word for them. Worst case scenarios. All right. So sometimes a piece of design work is so shockingly bad that at first glance, you can't think of a single good thing to say about it. Here are some ideas of honest compliments that you can make if you find yourself in this pickle. So you can say, "I think you were tackling the exact right question here. I'm really excited to see someone working with X in this industry. I think it was really creatively courageous of you to experiment with breaking traditional design language here. I really appreciate your use of X. This design has a really vibrant or distinct personality to it. I think you were spot on with who you were targeting with this design. I think this aspect of your design is very clever. I think a lot of people would enjoy the blank of this design. I see that you're really focused on blank in your design, which I think is a good start, or which I think is an interesting direction. I get the sense that the work takes inspiration from blank, which I think is a really great, or interesting, or spot on reference to use for this project." All right. If you find yourself in a scenario like this, do your absolute best to deliver the compliment honestly and not in a patronizing way or coming across as a backhanded compliment. All right. I hope that's enough to get you started. In the next lesson, I'm going to go over how you set the stage for your critique. See you there. 5. Step 2: Describe the Design: Okay. So, after you've given a compliment of some kind, the next thing you're going to want to do is help the designer see the design through your eyes. So, you do this by describing your experience of the design and especially that design element that you have a comment about. So, if your comment is aesthetic in nature, describe what you're seeing. Use concrete, descriptive words like curved, chamfered, glossy, rectilinear, lightweight. Avoid using subjective and evaluative words like ugly, cheap, strange. If your comment is functional, what you want to do here is describe your understanding of the design's current functionality. So, essentially this step lets you describe what you think the design is achieving, which sets you up in the next two steps to say what you think the design should be achieving and how exactly it doesn't hit the mark. All right. So, once you've described what it is you're seeing in the design and laid the foundations for your comment, here comes the money section of your critique. 6. Step 3: Goals and Misses: What you want to do here is try to frame whatever it is you're critiquing in terms of goals and misses. So, what does this mean? Well, it just means that rather than just saying that you think a particular aspect of the design isn't great, what you should do is say, what you think the design needs to achieve in that respect and how exactly it's not achieving that at the moment. So, for example, rather than just saying these headphones are uncomfortable. I think it would be better to say, in terms of keeping the user comfortable, in my experience after having used these headphones for about half an hour or so, my ears start to get sore from the amount of pressure given. So, it might be worth it to consider using a slightly more pliable structure or material in the headband, or a softer padding in that ear cushions to alleviate this issue. All right, so to recap. First, you want to restate what you believe the relevant intentions, aims or goals of the design are, and in this case, the goal is keeping the user comfortable. These might be, for example, goals regarding the end user or target customer or maybe it's the way in which the product should adhere to the brand style. Product designs usually need to adhere to certain product design guidelines. So, maybe you see something in the design that doesn't quite match that, or it's anything that you feel the product should do or should be that in some way you think feel short. So, you want to identify that goal. Then, once you've identified what the goal is, so here's where you want to explain in what capacity the design doesn't meet that goal. So, some good ways of doing this include: describing the specific experience the design has given you, whether that's functional or aesthetic. It could be by describing associations you make as a result of the design and maybe how those associations aren't right for this product, or it could be sharing examples of related designs that help make your point. 7. Step 4: Practical Suggestions: So, once you've framed your criticism in terms of goals and misses, the last step is to make a concrete suggestion or how that design could be reconsidered in order to address your concerns. Don't worry, it's not your job to come up with specific solutions for the designer. Rather, what you can do here is make concrete suggestions for what path to follow that might lead the desire to an improved solution. For example, say you don't think that the colors are quite right in a particular design, you don't have to say what you think the colors should be, but you can say what you think the colors should try to achieve. For example, I think that the orange you picked for this product might not be as on brand as it could be, since it feels rather strong compared to the other products in our portfolio. So, perhaps you could explore other warm colors that are less vivid or less saturated than this and see whether those are more on brand while still following your creative vision for this product. That's an actionable suggestion without being overly prescriptive, which is good because it leaves room for the designer to follow your advice without completely giving up their agency over the project. One thing I want to say here is that no matter your rank or level, it's often a good idea to use more collaborative language rather than using overly imperative or authoritative language when making your practical suggestions. So, some examples of more collaborative language include, "I wonder if you could try a version with more rounded corners," or, "What if you looked at some mid-century modern designs for inspiration on how to resolve that transition," or, "It might be worthwhile to explore some neutral colors as well," or, "What do you think about trying a few versions with an older target user in mind," or, "Perhaps you could look at some of the mechanisms and bicycles or pepper grinders, things that aren't exactly within this category but which also use gears." So, now that you understand the basic formula for how a critique should be structured: compliment, describe, goals and misses, and practical suggestions. In the next few lessons, I'm going to be talking about some of the more common issues that a design can have in terms of both functionality and aesthetics in hopes of giving you a toolkit of sorts to work from when giving your own critiques. So, I'll see you there. 8. Three Common Functional Problems: So in this lesson, we're going to talk about three common ways that a design can fall short in its functionality. So the first way that a design can fall short in terms of its functionality is if it doesn't meet an important goal. Sometimes a design doesn't do the thing it needs to do. So for example if someone designed a poster for a concert, the poster is there to alert people that a concert is happening with a particular artist at a particular time and place. So if the design makes it really difficult for the viewer to tell where or when the concert is happening, maybe by making some of the text too small or putting it in an inconvenient location, then the poster isn't really achieving its goal. Sometimes a design misses an important goal by a mismatch of material and function. So imagine having a baking tray made out of wood. It won't do the thing that you needed to do well because the material is simply not suited to the task at hand. Other times a design is not comfortable or intuitive to use because of certain design features. All designs should strive to be intuitive and cater to the needs of its users. Sometimes a design doesn't meet the needs of an important demographic. Maybe the designer didn't think about a certain type of person when they were doing their design. So it's kind of like when architects design raised areas with glass floors not considering that some humans wear skirts, and maybe that design decision doesn't serve them as well as it should. So the second major way that a design can functionally fall short is that maybe it creates more problems than it solves. Sometimes a designer unwittingly makes too big a sacrifice for a design feature or kind of gets carried away with a clever idea and ends up making something that is more trouble than it's worth in a sense. So any design that requires much space or time or effort on the behalf of the user or designs that are simply too expensive for the problems that they solve. These are all examples of designs that kind of caused more problems than they solve. So oftentimes infomercial products or products that you'll find on like Sky Mall is really sort of gimmicky tools that are either like really hard to clean for whatever it is they do. Those would be kind of classic examples of designs that fall under this category. So the third major way that a design can fall short functionally is if it doesn't solve a real problem. In my industry, in the kitchenware world, there are a lot of really gimmicky products that I would say fall under this category. So this would be something where the target customer doesn't really need this feature or yes has the problem but wouldn't be willing to pay what it cost to buy the product or in the end isn't going to be willing to wash whatever it is that you've designed because it's a pain in the butt to wash. Oftentimes this happens when the designer gets carried away with a clever idea or overestimates how problematic a certain process is without fully considering the needs of the target customer. So to summarize the three ways that design might fail functionally is if it doesn't meet an important goal, if it creates more problems than it solves, or if it doesn't solve a real problem. In the next listen, I'm going to be talking about common aesthetic issues in design. So I'll see you there. 9. Four Common Aesthetic Problems: So, have you ever looked at something and felt like it didn't look quite right, but you didn't know exactly how to describe what was wrong with the design? So, I think aesthetics can be really hard to talk about especially compared to functionality where something either works or doesn't work, right? Or it's suitable for the customer or it's not suitable. In this lesson, I'm going to try to demystify how to talk about aesthetic issues in design, in a way that still feels like it has a logical foundation. Okay. It's a bit of a complex topic, so I'm going to break it down into two parts. In the first part, I'm going to talk about the four most common problems a design might have aesthetically. Then in the second part, I'll talk about where in the design that problem might be. For example, in the color, in the shape, et cetera. Okay, so let's begin. All right. So, the first problem that a design element might have is it could be distracting. Okay. So, if something is overly complex like having too many colors or overly complex shapes, maybe there's too much contrast between colors or shapes used in the design, or maybe there is like an uncanny valley thing happening where, you know, with the unsettling zone where two elements are not different enough to be totally distinct but not similar enough to be considered the same, or possibly there might be something inconsistent in the design. Like, there's one treatment in one place and another one elsewhere, like some text being all caps and other text being sentence case, or lowercase, or something, without any real rhyme or reason to it. Or maybe something in a design is way over emphasized when it doesn't need to be. So, these are all examples of ways in which a design element can be distracting. All right. So, the second way that a design element could be aesthetically problematic is if it's not suitable. Okay. So, like not suitable for the brand, not suitable for that target customer, or not suitable in terms of a particular goal the design has. So, like if you're trying to design something to disappear in a room and not call attention to itself, then putting it in a bright neon yellow is the wrong sort of aesthetic decision there, right? Or if your target customer is a young woman, there might be a set of shapes or colors that you feel is more suitable to a different demographic than that target customer. All right. So, the third way that a design could fall short in terms of its aesthetics, is if there is no emphasis. In any given design, design elements like color and shape need to do a few things. They need to work together to draw your eye to the most important parts. They need to help move your eyes through the design in a pleasing way, and they also help to give a unique voice to the design. Sometimes the elements of a design are too flat or homogenous, meaning they're all kind of the same and the elements that should be highlighted are left to fade into the rest. So, an example of this might be like, if on a poster all the text were the same small size. So, there's nothing that brings emphasis to the most important parts or helps your eye move through the composition. So, you want to avoid having design that has no visual emphasis or dynamism to it. Finally, the fourth way that a design can fall short aesthetically is if it has unintended connotations. So, sometimes a design decision can make your product look cheap unintentionally, or other times there may be certain combinations of design elements that unbeknownst to you or unbeknownst to the designer, have unintended cultural or functional connotations that you might not want there. So, for example, if on a design something looks like a button but it's not a button, that might be frustrating or annoying to the user, right? Or if it has colors that are associated with a very particular holiday in a certain culture, that might not be a connotation that you want for that product. All right, so to summarize, if you're going to critique an element of a design, you might say that it's distracting, that it's not suitable for a particular customer, or for the brand, or for another particular goal that the design has, or it may have no emphasis or a flat composition, or it might have unintended connotations. All right. So, now that you have some ideas about what a potential design problem might be in terms of aesthetics, let's talk about where those problems might be in the design. 10. How to talk about Aesthetics: All right. So now that you know some ideas about what a potential design problem might be, I want to quickly give you some examples of where those problems might exist in the design, okay? So, you might be looking at something's form, okay? Whether it's a physical object or a work of graphic design. You could be looking at the shapes you see, the sizes of things, the contours, whether it's curved or straight. You could be looking at the layout, the flow of design elements, the negative space that they create. You could be looking at the balance between different elements, what's dominant? What's subordinate in the design? You can be looking at the hierarchy of visual dominance and how that affects the design's dynamism. Okay? And you can also look at transitions between elements, so from moving from one part of this into the next, how has the designer resolved those transitions. Another thing that you can look at is color. So, there's a whole host of color words that you can learn, but I think these three are going to be a really good starting point. Contrast, how contrasty a color is to the color around it. Hue, which is basically what the color is, is it more of a bluish-purple? Is it a yellowy-green? Is there a little bit too much brown in that red? Finally, saturation. So, that's how vivid or rich a color is, and sometimes a color can be too saturated. It's too intense or maybe it's not saturated enough, right, and you want it, it's too pale or too pastel, and you want to bring more life and color into it. You can use these types of color to describe what you're experiencing in terms of color. I'm, by no means, a graphic designer or a graphic design expert, but if you want to talk about typography, some of the more obvious things you can talk about are the font weight, how heavy something looks or how bold something looks, and you can talk about what cultural connotations come to your mind when you see a particular font. So, whether or not you know anything about fonts, you can still say whether something looks to you to be sophisticated or modern, or stylized, light or heavy, conservative or old-fashioned, maybe antique, handmade, futuristic, like hand drawn something could look open or condensed. Maybe it's not legible enough. Maybe it's childlike or playful, or it could be quirky, or refined, just listing a bunch of words that you might be able to use to describe a font, but fonts are like shoes, right? Each one has its own personality and connotations that come along with it. So, I think you should feel free to just describe how a font makes you feel and what connotations it has for you in your critiquing the design. So, another thing you might find yourself critiquing is something's physical qualities. So, you could be critiquing the material choice, maybe the finish is something matte or glossy. What are the different material qualities it has? Is it shiny? Is it tinny or woody, or does it feel natural, or really synthetic? You can talk about the tactile or haptic, the sensory qualities that the material has, its weight and density, or even its sonic qualities when you click the button, how does it sound? Or when you interact with it, what are the experiences that you have? All right. So, that was just a really quick overview of the different ways and the different parts of a design that you can talk about. Of course, there could be endless descriptions of the different elements of a design, but I think just to get you started thinking about what goes into a design and what aspects you can walk into when you're talking about it, I just want to give you a quick list to get you started. All right. The next lesson we're going to do just a recap of this process of crafting, a solid critique. I will see you there. 11. Recap: All right, so in this course, we've gone over the steps to crafting a really solid critique. First, you start off with giving the designer a compliment or a kind word. And then after that, you describe the experience the design of giving you with a focus on whatever element is you want to critique. After that, you identify what it is you think the design should be doing, what the goals of the design are. And then you say how you feel that that design element is falling short of that goal. And then finally, you offer a practical suggestion for how the designer might address this issue. All right, so in the next few lessons, I'm going to be giving demo critiques of various objects or designs, just to give you a taste of the process in action. So I will see you there. 12. Critique: Potato Ricer: Hi. So, in this lesson I'm going to be critiquing this potato ricer. A potato ricer is something that helps you mash potatoes in a faster way, work like a garlic press. You put in the boiled potato chunks in here, and then you squeeze, and then it comes out of these holes. So, I really like how functional this item is. It's so much faster to me than mashing with a traditional stick masher. If you look at the construction of this product, it's basically all made out of dye cut sheet metal, and especially if you look at the handles. Basically, how this is made is a long rectangle of metal that's been bent into the shape of a handle, and then here they've inserted a rubberized plastic piece, I guess to help with the ergonomics. My first critique of this item is that it's not actually that ergonomic. You still feel the sharpness of the sheet metal pieces when you hold it, which is not that comfortable, and yet not that nice feeling. Another critique I have of this object is that, when you're pressing your potato chunks, you have to hold it in midair. I'm not sure if it would work, but I wonder whether it would be feasible to attach a piece on this end to help you stabilize it over, whatever board is, you're pressing into. In terms of aesthetics, this has a very industrial kitchen, very utilitarian look. I think that that actually works relatively well for a lot of target customers. People like to feel they have really robust intense kitchen equipment. I don't know who their target customer was, but I would say that it's not necessarily terribly problematic. Mainly I would if I were them, reconsider the design of the handles to make it more comfortable to use, and less sharp feeling right here. That's basically my critique of this potato ricer. Hopefully, that shows you how I followed the structure of first giving a compliment saying how I like using it, how it was much faster than using a traditional stick masher. Then describing my experience of the design or showing that I understood how it was constructed, and then how that affected some element of the design, which is the ergonomics and comfort. So, that's it for this critique, and I will see you in the next lesson. 13. Critique: Whiskey Bottle: All right. In this lesson, I'm going to do a demo critique of this packaging design. This is Smooth Ambler's Old Scout rye whiskey. All right. So, what I really like about this bottle, this design is the proportion of the bottle, the shape, how it's quite straight, and the proportions are long, longer and leaner than a wine bottle, and I like the depth of the sham as well, this thick glass bit at the bottom. I think it's quite an elegant shape. I also rather like the ribbon style cut out that they've used for the sticker here the label. I also think that the color that they chose for the background, the brownish craft color goes pretty nicely with the color of the whiskey itself, which I think is definitely important to consider when you're designing the label. What color is the stuff inside? Now, other than this, I think that this label is just like very overwhelming in terms of how much is going on on there. So I'm counting a lot of different typefaces. So you have the font of the brand which is Smooth Ambler and then here you have in a handwritten script, established 2009, and then in another treatment you've got old horse scout, an old scout and the horse that's outlined, which is a different treatment from both of these. Then, you've got the word rye in this purple, which is another color entirely. It has this doubled or drop shadow-ish type effect. Then, underneath that again you have even another front where it's a straight rye whiskey. Do you think the font below that is the same, but then the age seven years is another font as well, I think, or it's at least spaced. It's like crunched differently. There's just so much going on in the front of the label here that I think it really could benefit from some streamlining and like a more light handed and simple approach. I don't mind the fact that they're using purple here to go with the cream and tan. The colors work together well. So I think what could be reconsidered is like the different treatments of outlining versus not outlining and also like the just the straight number of different fonts that you have going on here. Basically, that is my critique so hopefully you can see that I started off the critique with a compliment about how I like the shape of the bottle and then I went into my experience of the label and how the different elements were interplaying there and making specific comments and suggestions about how that might be addressed. Yes. That's it for this critique and I will see you in the next lesson. 14. Critique: Book Cover: Hi, in this lesson I'm going to critique a book cover design specifically I'm going to be critiquing Kafka on the Shore's book cover. This is a really great novel by Haruki Murakami. Actually I have two versions of this book. One with a white cover and a totally different design with a black and red cover. So I'm going to be comparing these two and using basically using this one as a foil to help me critique this book cover design. All right, so one thing I like about this book cover is that it's got a cat on it and I love cats. Cats are adorable and cats do play a pretty interesting role in this book so I think that was a really good choice and in fact that's the same choice as what this other book has done. In terms of what this book could have been better. What I'm seeing on the cover of this book first off is several different fonts which to me looks more visually complex than I think it needs to be. Another thing that sort of bothers me about the cover here is I'm not really sure what's happening right here with the cat's shoulder or I'm not really sure what that is and I'm not sure that that's intentional but that is visually confusing. I don't see what point that would have. I mean I can understand the cat being a bit out of focus because that's kind of part of the story that some of the cat characters speak in kind of a magical realist type of way. Other than that I mean if you just compare the two covers this one is so simple and elegant there's one font and this one the author's name is in two different colors and you have both his given name and his surname. Whereas here it's more iconic, it's Murakami and then this really beautiful sort of two dimensional design and then simply Kafka on the Shore, the title of the book and then vintage the imprint. On this cover however you have a lot of stuff happening, you have the international bestseller, you have sort of reviews from various publications. It just seems more complex and more marketingy than it needs to. If you look at the back, the way that the back is designed. First of all I mean I think that the tail of the cat is inexplicably in sharper relief than the head which is quite blurry. I don't know why that is and then just the way that the text has been laid out it's not as tidy as what you get on the back of this. So here you know it's quite neat and the margin here is pretty tidy and you kind of have the echo of the icon. It's almost like a little sealed on here it looks nice and simple and clean. This one you know you kind of have the review text following the sinewy curve of the cat's tail. I mean it's not horrible. I don't think, but it's just not necessarily neat and clean as the other design. 15. Thanks!: All right, I hope you've enjoyed the course so far. I want to end the course with a simple piece of advice, and that is simply to always think before you speak. I think that giving yourself a moment before you leap into a critique gives you time, firstly, to come up with a meaningful and honest compliment, and it gives you a chance to ensure that your criticism actually applies to the work. Sometimes you're not giving yourself enough time to fully experience the design, and maybe what you thought was wrong with it is actually working to the design's advantage. Finally, thinking before you speak gives you time to develop a more nuanced and meaningful critique. I really hope that this course has been useful to you. The assignment for this course is to simply choose a design object that you would like to critique, and craft a critique of it using the steps we've outlined here. Please feel free to share that critique with the community, the group, and myself. Best of luck in all of your future design related endeavors, and I will see you around. Bye. 16. Course Cheat Sheet: Hi there. Long time, no see. I just wanted to let you guys know that I developed a PDF cheat sheet for this course, and that you can find a link to it in the section below called "Your project". In the right of that section you should see a link to the attachment. It includes a breakdown of the steps to crafting a good critique along with the functional and aesthetic design problems that I cover in the course. I hope you guys find this useful. If you like this course, I would really appreciate it, if you could give me a thumbs up, a written review, or best of all a recommendation to a friend to watch the course, it would really help me out. One last thing, I also wanted to let you know that I have another course here on Skillshare, It's called Presentation designed for smart people. In that course I go over how to plan and design a really compelling presentation from concept all the way through to delivery. To me, what's special about that course is that I go over the specifics of a presentations narrative structure, which I think is really important to crafting and really engaging presentation. If you ever have to give presentations for work or school or for any other reason, you can check out that course by clicking on my profile. If you liked my classes, please be sure to follow me on Skillshare so you can be notified if I post a new class. Thanks guys, and I'll see you around. Bye.