esign critique sessions are nothing new. They are an integral part of the design process, and over the last years modern companies have found smart and efficient ways to incorporate these sessions into everything they design and build. Design critique sessions help the team be on the same page about what is being designed, and also help the designer understand the needs of every team and department in their company — to make sure that their design solution accommodates for most of them.
You show the work. People comment. You learn about what their needs are. But some designers get really defensive when hearing feedback about their work. They take critique as an insult. And in the impulse of pushing back on every comment that’s coming from other team members, this type of designer tends to lose themselves in illogic arguments and fight for things that are irrelevant considering the broader scheme of things. Knowing how to receive and act on feedback is part of a designer’s job, and is also what differentiates good and bad designers.
The first step when receiving feedback is to filter out bad, poorly formulated, or destructive feedback. A few characteristics of bad feedback:
A good way to prevent bad feedback of coming up in the first place is to start every meeting with a recap of the goals. What are we trying to achieve here? Where are we in the process? What feedback are we expecting to discuss today?
When you get good, relevant feedback, the next step is to make sure you discuss it with your peers. Younger designers tend to take feedback straight as action items, without having a proper discussion about it. That’s where teams most commonly spin their wheels: addressing feedback that hasn’t been properly discussed, thought through, and agreed on.
The work is not over when the critique session ends. The next step is (obviously) to address the feedback you heard — but don’t do it right away. Give your brain (and your team’s brain) some time to reflect on what was discussed, preferably only starting to address it on the next day. Also: don’t get too obsessed with the details, or too attached with a particular solution. Designs evolve, will only be bulletproof when vetted by your peers/clients, and tested with real users. Taking feedback as constructive criticism will help you eventually see the faults in your work, and make you both a stronger designer and collaborator. Knowing to let go is a key principle for every designer.
Putting your work out there for everyone to see. Spending entire days working at your laptop alone. Coming up with endless lists of pitches and ideas, knowing that most of them will be rejected. Freaking out over taxes because you can’t handle numbers and that’s why you became a freelancer in the first place and why can’t the IRS just cut you some slack, please. So many aspects of the freelance lifestyle are anxiety-inducing, even for those who feel totally stable most of the time. But what about those of us who struggle with anxiety, even when everything is fine, and still want to pursue this path?Read More
Side projects are a great way to achieve fulfillment in spaces that a day job or daily lifestyle leave empty. They’re a learning lesson, a creative outlet, a relationship-building opportunity, and if executed properly with market-fit on their side, they can even be profitable and grow into a fully functioning business. That said, there’s a lot about side projects that most people don’t talk about — the nitty, gritty, dirt-under-your-fingernails side of side projects. They’re a commitment — your baby, and much like a baby (or puppy, for those who find that reference more relatable), they require a lot of time, energy, and commitment to raise them healthy and happy.Read More
We live in a world of constant hustle, but if you really take a look at the small slots of time you have throughout the day, you realize that filling in those gaps with tasks that bring you closer to have a completed "to-do" list is key for productivity and results.Read More