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How to give CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.

What is constructive criticism, you ask? When giving constructive criticism, you are not just telling a person what they’ve done wrong. While you do have to point out what they did wrong, you are more focused on how they could improve upon the mistake(s) in the future. For example, if I were to say, “The combination of bright red and green in this piece really makes my eyes hurt. I absolutely hate it. It looks terrible,” that would not be constructive criticism. However, if I were to say, “The red and green you have chosen clash and are hard to look at; perhaps you should try making them less vivid or try another color scheme,” that would be constructive criticism.

Lastly, it is important to also tell a person what they’ve done right or well. It’s easy to point out mistakes, and while suggesting improvements is always helpful, so is telling them what worked; doing this makes you really think about the piece, especially if it really isn’t that well-designed overall. Knowing what they’ve done well will help them continue to grow those skills and keep them motivated, and being able to identify what works in even the most poorly designed pieces will help you strengthen your eye for design.


  1. aburke20 wrote:

    While I agree that giving compliments can be helpful, they should be distributed sparingly. Giving the designer nothing but compliments can be just as bad as constantly complaining about what you do not like in the piece. Compliments fail to provide any suggestions for improvement, which is the purpose of the critique.

    Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 11:48 pm | Permalink
  2. atowner wrote:

    Giving good criticism is such an important skill to have! I’m personally quite fond of the “compliment sandwich” — saying one thing about a design that’s strong, following up by something that needs work, and finishing with an overall positive comment. Nothing feels better than good feedback!

    Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink
  3. zpalmer2 wrote:

    Great post, its eye catching with your visual. The subject is really important and some people need to be reminded that its important to be constructive when giving feedback.

    Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink