Sometimes I wonder, then: given that everyone in design seems to more or less know everyone else, are we really having the kinds of meaningful, constructive, critical discourses that we really should be having? Are we too quick to take offense at the opinions of our peers? Or are we pulling our punches too much when discussing the merits of the work that our peers turn out? To put a finer point on it: are we being honest with one another?
The notion of speaking openly, honestly and objectively about work is inherent to learning how to be a better designer. That’s why every design school uses critiques as a core tool of teaching design. Critiques conducted amongst peers, people you know, people that you have to see again the next day in class, that you have to build relationships with. If you’re learning design, then you’re giving and receiving criticism regularly. If you’re not engaging in constructive criticism, then you just aren’t learning about design. And yet, at some point when a designer achieves some modest level of notoriety or establishes some foundation of peers in the industry, the critiques stop. If you’re a practicing graphic designer of more than say five years, it’s a pretty good bet that no one outside of your design practice actively and regularly provides you with objective, rational and lucid feedback.
Dear Designer, You Suck, by Khoi Vinh