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Criticize Design to improve Design!

Dear friends,

when I was a student at ACCD in Pasadena I learned to accept critics about my work and also critic my classmates’ works. Our teachers encouraged us to do so.

When I start teaching I also criticize students’ works and asked them to give their critics and opinions about their classmates’ works.

At work (Fiat first and since 15 years at Renault Design) I received critics and also gave some, when I manage my projects or participate to internal projects reviews I give always my honest open critic.

I know that, specially in school, we have hard time to accept to be criticized about our beloved work and presentations. Lets say it, we do have a big ego!
This sometimes makes things harder to accept, we hardly accept our teacher’s suggestions (and at ACCD those suggestions where hard to hear).

However the question is: why do we receive critics?

I know some of you are thinking “…because some people are assholes!“, but few of you think because criticizing is a “constructive way to improve and get better”!

The point is we will be always judged about our designs, sketching ability, our taste, our presentation skills, our way to present ourself to teachers, class or top management. So we better be damn good to limit negative results being humble and professionals.
In a few words: we must always work hard to discover our limits and move on to the next quality objective.

When I give my critics, believe me I am not too nice and often very serious about, in reality I am trying to help my colleague to correct his/her mistakes to reach the best result possible. So even if  I am perceived too hard I am giving an hand. However, I always make sure I speak with respect.

When I was teaching it was the same, I would criticize students’ work because I wanted to push them to their limits understanding what was good and what was wrong.
Asking students criticizing their works was the way to help them to speak up in a correct way with respect but with honesty. When you make a critic you think first before opening your mouth, this exercise helps you to develop a self conscious attitude to analyze Design.

This video from Whiplash movie is a “dramatic” example of what we should pretend from ourself to be better than average if not the best! You should watch the full movie it is simply great!

Thanks for reading…

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