Join us at Drink and Draw on Tuesday, August 6th

Dyno Creative Horizontal Logo Mark Dark Rgb

8 Ways to Give and Get the Best Critique Ever

By Dyno Creative | May 11, 2023
Dyno Creative offers 8 easy ways to make the most of your next creative critique!

Defining the Critique Process

Picture this—your business is undergoing a rebrand. It’s time to get down to business, but you have no idea where to start. Rather than navigating your way through the treacherous terrain of a creative critique, you turn to Dyno Creative to unleash your creative ideas, give and receive honest feedback, and unlock the hidden potential of your rebrand.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well…not so fast.

When you hear the term “critique”, what is your first association with the word? All too often, the term “critique” tends to elicit a negative reaction. You may think of a person in your life who is extremely critical or judgmental, a specific situation where your work was not received well by others, or you may even reflect on the fact that you are your own worst critic and never feel like your work is “good enough”.

If any of these thoughts or feelings resonate with you—don’t worry, you’re not a wierdo. A lot of people experience the same thing because they haven’t actually been taught how to properly approach the critique process.

Giving a critique, especially in the artistic design space, involves many important steps. For starters, it involves carefully analyzing and evaluating the work and focusing on both its strengths and weaknesses. It also requires offering constructive feedback, highlighting areas that excel and suggesting improvements, while maintaining a respectful and supportive tone to foster growth and development in the artist’s creative journey.

If you’ve had a negative experience with giving or receiving critiques—we know how much that sucks. But don’t let it deter you from joining a creative team who knows how to do it right.

One of the most important components of a productive partnership with Dyno Creative is the critique process. Our expert team guides each of our partners through the twists and turns of design evolution, empowering them to communicate their ideas effectively and emerge stronger than ever before. 

We won’t let you fail. That’s why we’re breaking down our top 8 tips to engaging in an effective, powerful critique. 

Share

1. Define the Purpose of the Critique

Imagine entering a critique session armed with a solid understanding of your purpose, a guiding light illuminating the path to design excellence. At Dyno Creative, we believe that to truly level up your brand, everyone involved needs to possess the ability to give and receive solid feedback.

Is your goal to propel someone’s work to new heights, inspiring innovation and pushing boundaries? Or is your mission to point out all the hidden imperfections in a design in order to help the design become a beautiful polished gem in its final form?

Whatever your purpose is, it is vital that you maintain an objective focus and remove subjectivity from the conversation. Always revisit your purpose of the critique in order to get the most value out of the process.

2. Establish Ground Rules

Like a game, establishing clear ground rules keeps everyone on the same page and understanding the objective at hand. The use of open dialogue, respectful communication, and a growth mindset will set you up for success.

Remember, this is a cooperative experience. All parties involved are working towards the same end goal, and teamwork makes the dream work!

A useful critique should be seen as a safe space that nurtures creativity and collaboration. Clear ground rules can also specify if certain topics are off-limits and if there is a designated time limit for the critique.

By establishing these guidelines, all participants involved can better focus on providing relevant feedback within the allocated time.

3. Give Specific and Objective Feedback

Specificity and objectivity can hold great power, especially during the critique process. If a designer eagerly awaits your feedback on a recent design, they are hoping for clear and specific feedback so they can deliver the best possible product.

Now, imagine all you offered was vague praise or generic criticism. Being vague in your critique is like throwing a party for your best friend without any snacks—disappointing!

To unlock growth and improvement, specificity is key. By pinpointing exactly what’s working or what needs improvement, you can provide valuable guidance, spark a sense of inspiration, and keep the project moving forward.

And don’t forget to kick subjectivity to the curb. It can be a major buzz kill. Subjectivity can not only distort perceptions, it can also hinder progress.

By maintaining objectivity, you can arm yourself with laser-sharp focus on the design itself rather than personal preferences or biases. To keep your critique grounded in truth and clarity, stay objective.

4. Use "Yes, and..." Versus "No, but..." Statements

Most people would agree that it feels good to receive positive praise from someone, especially amidst a sea of judgment. The creative critique process involves a level of vulnerability that can be a bit intimidating at times. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to always be that way.

The power of positive feedback and leading with an affirmative attitude is invaluable! Rather than leading with a bunch of “No, but…” statements, try the magic phrase “Yes, and…” —

Let’s say you are reviewing recent work for a new logo concept for your brand. As you check out the design, you notice the artist’s use of vibrant colors. When asked whether or not the proposed design creates a strong visual impact, you could either say—

  •  “Yes, and I think if we explore incorporating a bit more contrast between the foreground and background elements, it will further enhance the overall composition and make the design truly pop!”

Or…

  • “No, your logo concept is just okay. The colors are great, but it lacks a certain level of originality. Make it better.” 

Notice how using the “Yes, and…” positive affirmation offers specific feedback presented in a positive way while also addressing an area that can be improved. Because you are affirming what they did well first, the artist will feel respected and be open to making adjustments. They will also be more successful in making those requested changes because the feedback that was given was clear and specific. 

5. Offer Solutions, Not Mandates

Let’s be real—no one really likes being told what to do, especially when it comes in the form of an ultimatum or mandate.

By keeping critiques collaborative and solution-oriented, we can ensure projects progress with ease and consistently hit the mark. The key ingredient in this transformation is the art of providing constructive feedback that inspires, rather than dictates.

By presenting concrete solutions and actively engaging team members in the decision-making process, we ignite a sense of empowerment and shared ownership. This not only elevates the quality of our designs but also fosters a culture of collaboration that thrives on diverse perspectives and innovative ideas.

6. Critique the Work, Not the Person

Remember, constructive feedback is not an attack on a person, but an honest review of the work in its current state, and should always be solution oriented. This is non-negotiable.

To ensure feedback is appropriate and not misinterpreted in a personal manner, we can use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. For instance, rather than saying “you should change this”, a more effective approach would be to say “I think it would be better if this were changed”. Using “I” statements will help you frame the conversation positively while still giving valuable feedback.

7. Honesty is Always the Best Policy

Honesty is always the best policy when offering feedback on someone’s work, but we can also deliver our candid thoughts in a compassionate manner. There’s no need to be a jerk—it will get you nowhere. 

It’s important to remember that every masterpiece is a product of trial and error, and oftentimes our greatest successes are built upon lessons learned. No matter how skillful the designer, there is always room for improvement. Honest feedback tempered with empathy not only helps others hone their craft, but also fosters an atmosphere where mutual growth and development can thrive.

8. Avoid Overly Technical Jargon

Take it from us, the last thing you want to do during the critique process is use overly technical jargon, unless you what people to look at you strangely as though you just magically grew tiny T-Rex arms right before their very eyes.

When critiquing someone’s work, it’s important to avoid using technical language they may not be familiar with. Instead, try to explain things in clear terms so everyone can be in-the-know and understand what you are specifically trying to say. This will ensure the person receiving the critique will clearly comprehend your feedback and be able to use it effectively.

See You There!

Being able to effectively engage in the critique process has a direct impact on your ability to meet your goals and objectives. The good news is—you don’t have to do it alone. At Dyno Creative, we are fully invested in your overall success. We can’t wait to see you evolve your brand and introduce it to the real world. Welcome to the Dyno Tribe!

Looking for fresh content?

Get articles and insights from our weekly newsletter.

By entering your email, you agree to receive Elementor emails,
including marketing emails, and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

ABOUT

About Dyno Creative

Amber Gel 2

Meet the Dyno Team

Learn about the people who you’d be working with.