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Daniel Burka -

Oops, I just noticed that I've screwed up the time for a few events in the footer of this site. I'll fix this in the morning (when someone can push code to production for me)!

Michal Migurski -

Good advice. The thing about designers being too nice to each other definitely rings true for me, it's difficult to come up with good criticism in a culture tuned excessively towards positive reinforcement. The best suggestion for good criticism I've ever heard comes from Pixar's Michael Johnson, who described a good note as one that simultaneously identifies a problem and offers a solution. He brought a few excellent examples from The Incredible, too detailed to get into here - the short version is that the critique solved more than just the problem at hand, and really tightened the script as a whole.

Interesting that Khoi Vinh made the point about insufficient criticism, I think he's one designer who gets too much of a pass from his audience for his work.

your sister -

Does it have to be about conferences? I have a bunch of day-to-day stuff I could write up! Example, too many "glamor shots" on your flickr feed.

tyler -

In my design class we had a critique of our album covers project. Many of them looked like sloppy Photoshop mashups with really poor font choices. However, its in the Wisconsin mentality to be super kind and say, "Wow, I really like your piece, I think the font works well!" Daniel, should I start going to class drunk so I am impervious to this kindness and deliver some real criticism?

xethorn -

Awesome, the "Ask drunk people" statement is awesome. I would never have think about this one but this is certainly the best :)

I would add one step: "Ask another yourself the correct questions". Doing a presentation should imply:
- Do the audience adapted to the content?
- Is the content light and relevant?
- Does my presentation have thousand of text (if yes, it's not good)?
- Does the topic fully covered?
- What can I do to make it better?
Etc.

Being truly honest against our personal work is the best way to enhance it. I'm sure, 80% people can tell us can be figure out by us if we take the time to step out and look back.

Thanks a lot for this share!

@xethorn (blog, flickr)

Sylvia McCabe -

I was a lecturer, so I know how important it is for you to have a good presentation, whether it be two or two thousand people listening.

You want a positive up beat, motivated interest and the audience to sell you to their family and associates long after your lecture, or presentation is finished.

I have very good skills in this area. If you like, we could communicate via e mail, or I visit and will give positive critism for you. All the best for the New Year. Sylvia

Beth -

One of the most shocking things to me about entering the professional world of design was the lack of criticism, aside from clients telling you they don't like the color orange because it reminds them of their ex-wife or something equally useless.

Back when I was walking uphill barefoot in the snow every day to art school, every project went through a rigorous series of critiques, sometimes harsh enough to send students fleeing the room in tears. I'm certainly not advocating publicly humiliating your peers, but in the professional world we are too afraid of stepping on toes, particularly if the designer in question happens to have a well known reputation.

Hearing how we suck is how we get better, thick skin should be a prerequisite for the industry. This definitely applies to speaking as well, I can't tell you how many panels I attended at SXSW with big name panelists, that were an utter (and surprising) disappointment. Being great at one thing does not make you great at another. In fact, some of the best people I've seen speak on design aren't necessarily the best designers.

Al -

Nice post, and brave for a designer. I manage a team of designers and writers and I'm guilty of being too easy on them sometimes...

Now, since you asked for criticism, I have just one that relates to your site. I can't read the copy in the sidebar starting with the TWEETS via Twitter section. There's not enough contrast, except for the white links. OK, there's your problem, now here's a possible solution. Maybe making the copy the same yellow/green as breadcrumb bar would enhance legibility. That way you're able to stick with the current color scheme and keep it all consistent.

Stu Fisher -

Well Dan, as someone involved with public appearances and performances in the entertainment industry I can empathize with much of what you are saying. You've given some solid tips there that will no doubt be of use to many people - my favorite has to be 'Ask drunk people' you have a great sense of humor!

Dave Higgins -

Well I think its brave of you to be seeking criticism the way that you are, most people spend their time seeking approval from others!

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Daniel Burka

My name is Daniel Burka. I'm a web designer living in San Francisco. Currently, I'm one of the founders of Milk Inc.. For several years I was the creative director at Digg and previous to Milk, I was the director of design at Tiny Speck. I grew up in PEI, Canada, where I was one of the founders of silverorange. Aside from obsessing about interface design and css selectors, I'm a frequently-falling rock climber, a lazy cyclist, and an often out-of-bounds disc golfer.

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