How to Adequately Criticize Your Own Design as a Freelancer


How to Adequately Criticize Your Own Design as a Freelancer

An interesting article that will be useful to all free artists.

Working alone runs the risk of catching nose up, and there are things that are much easier to do when working as a team, like getting feedback.

With practice, you will learn to go back a step and adequately evaluate your design projects. Over time, you will even come to the conclusion that most freelancers take criticism of their own work quite seriously. If you are still far from ideal in this matter, the manual you are reading is what the doctor ordered.

All examples in this article are taken from the Design Shack gallery. This gallery has over 15,000 members and you can always find inspiration in it.

Evaluate the concept


Good design answers questions. He often answers them before users have a chance to even ask them.

When evaluating a project, return to the task assigned to you by the client. How does he want to see the result? What was the purpose of the order?

Does the design create the right communication between the viewer and the brand? If the answer is yes, then you are on the right track. Even if you don’t 100% capture the aesthetics the customer was imagining, a satisfied customer is a sign of a job well done.

Consider current trends and techniques


When you look at how other designers’ new designs are made, do you understand where the current fashion trends such as Flat or Material Design are applied? It is important to understand what a trend is and learn how to use it.

There is a catch when it comes to trends. Too many things can cause problems, so try to find a middle ground. Use fashionable elements in moderation – so that they do not clutter up the project and at the same time do not let it become obsolete.

Clients want you to be able to use new techniques and styles. They will often point to a different project and element that they like. You need to be clear about the concept and understand where they apply and where they don’t (and why).

Take a step back and see the design from a different perspective


One of the problems with self-criticism is that you are too close to the project to look at it from the outside. Stop working for a while and return to work with a fresh mind.

After returning, start with two exercises:

  • Take a step back and appreciate the design from a distance. What part of it catches your eye right away? Are the points of interest clearly highlighted? For example, a poster should be eye-catching from a distance, but not necessarily for an application.
  • Feel like an outsider. What would you change in your design if you saw it for the first time in your life? What buttons would you click if you were using it online? Check if everything works as you intended.

Black and white


Look at the concept from a different perspective. Turn the design upside down, change colors and fonts. Stop … what?

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard when I was young: “If a project looks good in black and white, it will work in color as well.” Apply this. Does it still look good?

Test the design by flipping it over. Even a work turned upside down should attract you with something. Readability may be lost, but not conceptual.

If the design only looks good in one location, then you’re in trouble.

Use theory


Remember that all design theory is written down in your subcortex. It’s time to reveal it to the world. Surely, you often use any concepts without attaching importance to it. Stop and consider how they relate to your project.

Design with these things in mind and think about how your work relates to the field of design theory.

  • Color and contrast
  • Space
  • Typography
  • Repeatability
  • Balance
  • Grouping
  • Emphase
  • Mathematical principles such as the golden ratio.

Self-test questions


You can save yourself a lot of pitfalls by using the following five questions. They will work great both at the beginning and at the end of the job.

  1. Has the project completed the tasks set by the client? No matter how much you like the aesthetics of the resulting design, check to see if the final result makes sense as a whole.
  2. Can I use this design? It doesn’t matter if you are working with digital or physical design – it should be easy to understand. This includes checking for readability, etc.
  3. Will you like this glossy design?
  4. Is your design fashionable? There are two possible answers here. If a project is too trendy, then it can quickly become outdated. Or maybe he generally refers to blatant antiquity?
  5. What does the design “say” about? This may sound like a difficult question, but the answer must be! Every design should contain an idea or the same “message”. In most cases, the idea should be obvious without much effort on the part of the viewer. When answering this question, step back from the project and look at it as if you don’t know anything about it.


You now have a couple of tools in your arsenal to help you become a better freelancer than you are. And even if the topic of freelancing does not concern you, the tips presented above will help you evaluate your work soberly.

Source: I am designer
Cover photo: ShutterStock

Leave a Reply