Design Criticism and Analysis

This mornings CTS lecture was based around Design Criticism and Analysis. Design Criticism is the idea that design should be critiqued in the same way as other disciplines in order to allow a full understanding of what is being presented. Furthermore, the main two forms of analysis are objectivity and subjectivity. Objective analysis is a constructive, fair-minded, factual approach where as subjective analysis focuses around social, cultural and emotional factors.

In order to give context to this session we were given two texts, an extract from Rick Poyner’s ‘What Is This Thing Called Design Criticism’ and the introduction to the book, ‘Designing Things’ by Prasad Boradkar. The first offered an insight into why Design Criticism is important as well as how it has changed over time and the second showed the analysis of objects providing an understanding of how design critique is formulated.

The Hot Sauce I carry on my keys

We were asked to bring with us an object holding personal value to analyse, in my case a bottle of hot sauce kept on my keys. In order to be able to objectively analyse the items we were asked to swap with another member of the class and write about their possession. We were given 6 areas of analysis: who, what, when, how, where and why. This aided us in being able to form a deeper analysis of the objects.

Following this, we repeated the activity, only this time focusing our analysis on a piece of Graphic Design. This time looking into form and function as well as who, what, when, how, where and why. We also wrote of our personal opinion and position on the design, analysing it subjectively.

These tasks helped me gain a greater understanding of analysis and its forms as well as why it is important within design criticism. I now understand that you can not critique something without first holding a full understanding.


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