All of the people in my family are quite good at criticising other people, and that includes me.
It’s not our intention to be mean, we are just really good at noticing things. We’re especially good at pointing out spelling errors and the misuse of words.
The downside of this is that my comments can sound a bit harsh, especially when I am marking assignments or reviewing the design of a website which someone has been lovingly creating.
This happened to me at work last week. I was so busy giving the person good advice (to be fair, they did ask me for my honest feedback)that I forgot to be sensitive to the fact that few of us can really tolerate criticism unless it is delivered with gentleness.
I’m often asked to review or comment on other people’s work and I try to remember that my job is to help people improve their work, rather than leaving them feeling like it has been chopped to pieces. But sometimes I fail and I need to work on this.
So while designers need to know about typography, colours, fonts, visual hierarchy and plain English, they also need to be good communicators and that’s a skill that requires endless practice.