A client’s guide to critiquing

Originally written for a design studio blog

You’ve just received a first proof from the designer. You’re not quite happy with it yet, but you’re not sure how to explain that. Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to critique the design and get you closer to the final proof.

  • Is there a strong concept behind it?
  • Or is it all style and no substance?
  • Does it work?
  • Does it achieve what you are setting out to do?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • Is the immediate visual impact appropriate?
  • Does the layout flow?
  • How are elements used and do they work / make sense?
  • Will it appeal to the target audience?
  • Is it engaging, not to you, but to the intended audience?
  • Does it look “designed”?
  • Has appropriate care and attention been paid to image cropping, white space and typography?
  • What exactly do you like or dislike, and why?
  • Be specific.

And finally, be honest; a good designer will not take offence at constructive criticism but work with you to create a finished design you’re happy with.