Design Criticism

Art 255
Design Criticism

Fall 2018
WOOH 207
M/W 12–1:50p

Jake Dugard

Office No. B17
Office hours:  M–F 9–11a
or by appointment 



We had a lot of great things come up in the discussion. Please do not grow weary of reading and sharing. I love the format of this class because it wants to be conversational. When people shut down, it is unproductive for us all. So please keep reading and sharing.
Hopefully Chapter 04 of The Shape of Design really stuck with everyone because that is what our next writing assignment is about—the message, tone and format. Above formal writing, lofty thoughts, and poetic words, I want each of you to learn how to be constructively critical of your environment. With this assignment, you will look at one piece of graphic design that frustrates, confuses, delights, and/or inspires you. Choose wisely.

Reading: TSD (p. 60–89), What Do We Want from Design Criticism?, Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport
Assignment: Write Message, Tone & Format essay


I hope everyone enjoyed the beginning of The Shape of Design. The first chapter of the book really shaped the content of this course and a major theme for the class. Is simply asking why. That we not only look at the first and last rung of the ladder or focus only on the technical aspects, but to also step back from our work (and other people’s work) and ask why.
Be sure to bring in a piece of design work that interests you. That makes you excited. That frustrates you. Something of substance. We will take a critical look at those next class.

Read: The Shape of Design (p. 35–57); Criticism = Love; How to Take Criticism
Assignment: Bring in design piece interests, inspires, frustrates, and/or confuses you

Thanks for everyone sharing their 100 Words on Design. Although maybe not extremely obvious yet, I hope everyone got something out of writing, presenting, and hearing everyone else’s responses.
My apologies for running out of time. I will finish up the Design is Writing lecture on Monday and then upload a pdf of it.
For next class, make sure you upload your 100 Words essay as a pdf using the template. Also, everyone will turn in their Why I am a Designer essay printed and upload pdf. We will discuss the reading below. Print it out. Highlight. Write notes. Etc. This class will only be as good as the discussions so come prepared.

Read: The Shape of Design (p. IX–34) (Download PDF)
Assignment: write “Why I am a Designer” essay

Welcome to the Fall 2019 Design Criticism class. You should have been added to the GroupMe group. If you didn’t, please let me know. I look forward to seeing how we can shape this class together.

Here is the link for the video we watched at the beginning of class.

Read: What writing has to do with design, Writing is the new unicorn skill, Writing is Design, Too, If You are Writing an Essay or a Thesis, Why Write About Graphic Design? and listen to Seth Godin’s podcast No such thing (as writer’s block)
Assignment: Write “100 Words on Design” essay