Design, by its very nature, is there to be judged. We do it every day—whether it’s our own creation, or that of someone else. When we see something, we’re looking at it and forming an opinion (positive or negative).
So, those of us who do this type of work for a living do understand that it’s all part of the gig. Clients will of course give their opinions about what we have created for them. Our job is generally two-fold:
- Communicate with the client as to why we made specific design choices and back up our methods with supporting evidence. For example, perhaps a client doesn’t like the placement of a search field. You might point out that you placed it in that particular spot as research shows more users will utilize the feature.
- Make sure you’ve done your best to ensure the client’s happiness with your work. Whether they come around to your way of thinking or not, you still need to put forth your best effort to help them achieve their goal.
There’s a certain amount of give-and-take in the design process when working with a client. But that’s to be expected when you’ve been hired by someone to represent their brand.
However, in recent times, designers have also become subject to another kind of criticism: one they voluntarily sign up for.
Putting your work on display for the design community
Beyond the usual client feedback, there are “community critique” websites. Many designers are choosing to submit their work to sites like Behance or Awwwards – places where the community at large (and a jury in the case of Awwwards) can offer both critique and some creative inspiration.
Both communities, although a bit different in methodology, are quite popular. Behance is run by Adobe and is completely free to use. Besides websites, they also feature varied types of media such as photography, architecture and fashion. You can upload your work via their site or directly from Photoshop CC. Community members can vote up and comment on submitted works, while Behance curators create featured galleries showing the best of the best.
Awwwards differs in that they focus solely on websites and they also charge for submissions. After submission, your site will be evaluated by a panel of eight judges and can also be voted on by members of the community. But only community member voters with a specific amount of “status” points to their credit actually count towards the final verdict. If you do well enough, you may even get featured as a “Site of the Day”, and included in their yearly book.