Web Design

How to critique your own design work

Freelance design work has a ton of pros, but it can also be difficult to get better when you’re not surrounded by a team to learn from. Here’s some advice on self-critiquing so you can make sure your work is always at a high standard.

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Be pedantic

If you know something’s wrong, even if it’s one pixel that’s the wrong colour or has the wrong alignment, change it. Pixel perfection is what turns good designers into great ones.

Get zooming

Zooming in and out of your design to fairly extreme distances will help you get an idea of how the overall design looks, and is useful for spotting errors that you would otherwise fail to spot until too late.

Control your versions

There are several design tools that allow you to version control PSDs and other design elements. They are worth investing in if you work with picky clients or you change your mind a lot.

Testing different styles and colours of your design is worth doing, but don’t get too obsessed because it quickly eats into your time and makes picking a final version harder.

Don’t compare

Never compare your work to someone else’s or evaluate your design by their standards – It’s a recipe for disaster. Everyone has their unique own style; just because yours is different doesn’t mean that it’s any better or worse.

Where possible, avoid looking at competitor websites to see what their design looks like because you’ll have that in mind and end up creating something very similar.

Related:  Developing your design confidence

Go with your gut

One of the most frustrating things in web design is when you’ve invested hours into a piece that just doesn’t seem to work. Rather than settle for something you’re not happy with, put the time in until you’re happy with it or be strong and make the decision to scrap it altogether.

Look at it with fresh eyes

Once you’ve finished the first draft of your design, take a break and come back to it hours (or ideally a day or two) later. If you’ve been working on a piece for a long time, it’s often hard to see the wood for the trees, and you’ll most likely see things that need adjusting when you come back to a design with fresh eyes.

Would you ever fully rely on your own critique of your design, or do you always run it past others before showing it to clients or managers? Let us know in the comments!

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