How do you critique your own work?

One of the things I’m really struggling with at the moment, is looking at my own work objectively and identifying where I need to make improvements.

Do you guys have any methods or systems for being able to step back and identify what needs to be worked on?

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Whatever I am “creating” the one thing that helps the most is to put it down for a bit and go do something else.

Come back a couple hours later and look at it with fresh eyes.

I also have to look from different angles and distances.

These are the two things that help me the most.

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Experience.

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Ditto.

Losing my objectivity is especially problematic when the solution doesn’t come easily and I struggle with several solutions that could work. Setting it aside overnight and not thinking about it until morning allows me to see it more clearly.

There’s also the technique of placing the design work in different contexts, which tricks one’s mind into seeing it in a different way. For example hold it up to a mirror, print it out and hang it on the wall, or look at it upside down.

My wife used to be a professional illustrator, so I’ll typically ask her what she thinks. Of course, you likely don’t want to ask my wife for her opinion, but if you have someone available (coworker, family, friend) who understands enough about design and will give you an honest opinion, it’s worth asking.

And as @Steve_O said, experience helps too.

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Ditto to all previous comments.
Sometimes I really don’t have time to step away from it for an overnight like I’d prefer. In this case another trick I try is I will not look at my design and ask myself reminder questions like:
-what is the goal or message of this piece?
-what feel did the client want?
-does it (or parts of it) look like what it’s supposed to look like?
Often not all of the answers are good ones so it helps me narrow in on what needs work.
Also simply getting up for a snack or bathroom is great too!

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I consider if My work is fit with current design trends, Imagine questions My client might ask me, so I try to see all of the strengths and weaknesses of the work. Also I come back later to My project and see it from a different perspective, this helps Me to improve My design work.

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If you are fitting your work to “current design trends” you aren’t looking at it properly.
Trends… END.
Your job is to meet client goals, not follow trendy stuff done for other people’s clients. Maybe your work for your client will set the next trend that others copy…er follow.

This preoccupation with current trends seems to be a college course construct. Don’t fall into it. Do it to pass the class, but understand that is not how the real world works.

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It’s important that work not look dated, but following the latest trends is unimportant to anyone other than college professors, students, and trend-conscious clients whose business models depend on trendiness (of which there just aren’t that many). Anyway, as a designer, you should be looking past the trends as a trend setter, not following the trends of more forward-thinking designers.

What other designers think is trendy means nothing to most clients, target audiences or employers. Most graphic design is, in various ways, related to good marketing and audience engagement — trendiness barely factors into those equations.

Most anyone hiring a designer is far more concerned with their return on investment. Mention how trendy the work is or it being a primary concern and it will typically elicit incredulous stares from a client.

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