Part 2 – Research Point: Critiquing Your Own Work.

How do you approach being self-critical? What issues does it raise?

When I critique work I have done, I will try to step away from the work for a while and then come back to it, with ‘fresh eyes’ in an effort to see it in the way someone viewing it for the first time might see it. I try to put myself in the viewer’s shoes and see the work as they would see it.

I will also ask myself the following questions:

  • Did I meet the brief? Have I done what what required?
  • Have I really thought hard about what I’ve created and made an effort to create something good, rather than been lazy and produced the most obvious thing?
  • Am I pleased with what I have produced? Do I think other people will like it? Do I think the intended audience will ‘get it’.
  • Is there a clear rationale to what I have done? Can I justify what I have done and explain it.
  • Are there any little ‘niggles’ about what I have done? Anything that doesn’t feel quite right? In my experience, ‘niggles’ should always be listened to as they indicate an underlying design problem with the work.

Issues with being self-critical:

  • Trying to judge what is ‘right’. It is hard to know how far off the mark you are when you have no idea where the mark actually is!
  • Having to second guess what the target audience thinks. I can only critique within my own experience – other people my have a very different view.
  • Comparing my work with what others have done and deciding it is rubbish, when maybe it is just different.
  • Being so familiar with my work it is difficult to make an objective judgement on it.
  • Being too hard on myself – nothing is ever good enough.
  • Conversely – becoming too wedded to one ‘brilliant’ idea, especially if I have invested a lot of time and effort in developing it that I can’t contemplate having to let it go.

My husband is the person I will most likely go to for a second opinion on my work. I am also fortunate in that I can attend the monthly OCA Thames Valley Group meetings where I can meet my OCA colleagues face-to-face and where we regularly critique each other’s work.  I can also share work on the OCA Facebook pages and forums.



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