Critically Analyzing the Work

Critically Analyzing the Work


In this lesson you will learn about some of the strategies critique participants use in analyzing work. 

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Visual Communications

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Hi, everyone. My name is Mario. I'd like to welcome you to today's lesson on critically analyzing the work. So today is going to be a quick lesson on some of the strategies that critique participants use in analyzing a piece or work. As always, feel free to pause, fast-forward, and rewind at your own pace. And when you're ready to go, let's get started.

The critical analysis step of the critique is very important, and it serves the purpose of evaluation of a body of work. Be it painting, websites, video-- or any other media, really. And this is going to be a way to break down a piece, and study the parts and figure out what works, what doesn't, and why in both of these cases.

Leading questions are sometimes post to initiate a discussion for critique such as how does it work, or what could be different, what isn't working. So, posing these questions in a critique will generate that discussion, as I said, so the participants can view their opinions and get the chance to speak out about a piece or various pieces.

It's very important at this stage to discuss a work's strengths and weaknesses to really find out what's working within a piece. So some of the aspects that are often discussed during the analysis portion of a critique are the visual principles and elements of a design. Is it a good design? Does it follow the principles and elements of a design? Things like the medium. What materials or software was used? And is it an appropriate medium for the problem at hand?

The visual style-- does the visual style align with the research and design briefs? Is it appropriate for the audience and the client? And things like craftsmanship or technical execution. Is the craft up to professional standard? Are there any technical issues like color or resolution, et cetera? Things like that. Even things like originality-- is the solution unique, or is it common? Have we seen this done already? How does it stand out from the competition?

And, of course, completeness. Is the product finished? Does it look finished? Are there elements missing in its completeness to meet the deadlines? And planned message as well. Planned message, the audience, the budget, and the value to the client. Did it communicate the message it sought out to? Does it effectively reach the people that it's trying to reach? So all there very important things.

Let's take a look at an example of an industry project. This was an iOS app-- so apps for iPhones. It's a touch game that worked on iPhones or iPads. And you can see that it uses some visual principles and elements here that make it, hopefully, easy to navigate. That sense of repetition, the contrast, complimentary colors, and the list can go on as far as things that we would pinpoint in a critique, that may or may not be working as far as visual principles.

So another thing-- is important information relatively simple to find? I think, in this case, yes-- it is pretty easy to see. I'm sure with some sort of tutorial or something that that heart might indicate the number of lives. Maybe those three colored dots in the top right corner might be your points. Things like that.

You can talk about the medium. So, this is a digital medium. Was appropriate software used for this stylistic approach? It looks like most likely, yes. The graphics are most likely created with things like Photoshop and Illustrator, that are typically standard practice for applications in iOS.

And the visual style-- does it align with the audience that it's most likely trying to target, so maybe children and teens? And I think so, too, judging by some of the games that you see out there-- not just in tablets, but in consoles on the TV nowadays. And the craftsmanship or technical execution-- is it up to professional standard? Do you see any technical issues? This is a still image, so it would be a bit more difficult to see in this case, as opposed to it running on an actual machine or iPad or iPhone.

Offhand, I can say that it looks like the resolution is the proper resolution that might fit on an iPhone or iPhone 5. Maybe an iPad. I don't see any dithering or any weird issues as far as the graphics or the color, so that's good. If that was not the case, then that would be something you want to point out prior to finishing the product.

So now, is it original? And I think it's fairly unique as far as the visual style goes. And that's a really big thing. You want your projects and designs to feel original, but you also want them to be familiar. Something that we're accustomed to or feel comfortable with.

So how about the message, though-- does it effectively convey a message or reach the people that it's trying to reach? And I suppose that it could. Again, this is an image, and we don't get a chance to see the menus in this example, or see what this looks like in action. But with this image alone, it might be a little bit hard to say. What is the message here? Is it simplicity? Is it microbes or bacteria? I don't know. But I think it's safe to say that it could have the potential to reach its target audience who might know more, in this case, about this particular product than, say, my grandmother or my mom.

So there's a lot to potentially discuss in critiques, especially when it comes to critical analysis. But as you can tell, it's a very important part of the process towards a completion of a project-- and very, very important to complete successfully.

Well everyone, that concludes this lesson. We'll end with our key terms-- leading question, which is a question posed during a critique in order to generate discussion or give each participant the chance to speak. And planned message, which is the communication objective of a visual communication, and this message should be identified in the planning stage of a project.

I hope you've enjoyed this lesson with me today. My name is Mario, and I will see you next lesson.

Notes on "Critically Analyzing the Work"


Image of Critique 1, Creative Commons


Image of Critique 2, Creative Commons


Image of Group Critique, Creative Commons

Image of Critique 3, Creative Commons


Image of Biotic Blitz iOS Game, Creative Commons

  • Leading Question

    A question posed during a critique in order to generate discussion or give each participant the chance to speak.

  • Planned Message

    The communication objective of a visual communication. This message should be identified in the planning stage of a project.