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6 Answers 6


I've had a read of all the discussion on that page and there are good points on all sides.

Good design review questions are great, it'd be good to see more of them, there aren't many at the moment and there's a lot of uncertainty about what is and isn't okay, and while a dedicated design review site with the upvote format would be great, we're not big enough yet to split.

So how about these practical steps:

  1. We clarify and simplify the guidance on critique questions, and turn the "critique" tag wiki into a very simple one-line how-to followed by an explanation and links to good examples.

    • I think the consensus from past discussions was basically "They're great but they need to clarify the purpose/brief, and if possible, what it is the asker wants help with (but this could be 'something doesn't feel right, please help me work out why')".
    • Might be worth clarifying if it has to be your own work or if you can post stuff you see in the wild that you want to better understand.
    • Might be worth clarifying "be nice" in this context and looking at code review for lessons learned, e.g. on maintaining both quality control and niceness. Maybe even ask them for tips?
  2. We encourage the regulars and others to post good critique questions to set a good example and get the ball rolling.
  3. People get used to critique questions and come to understand what works and what doesn't from seeing examples. When people don't get it, it's easy to link to good examples
  4. Everyone learns lots about design, art, composition etc, and we become the best design site evar.
  5. If/when we become so big there are too many questions, we reconsider the idea of delegating the critiques to a separate site.

I think you put a lot of work and thought into a very well-presented proposal, but as I noted on the Area 51 page I think it's not a necessary item for us. There's definitely a place for critiques/reviews on GD, and the site would be less without them.


Sensible points all around, but I would just like to mention one thing: very few people here seems to be interested in sharing their work and getting online feedback. True story. Very few users - as far as I know - actually share the addresses to their own portfolios in their profiles.

Most of the what-do-you-think-about-this questions comes from brand new users.

Nothing wrong with that, new users are of course welcome. But to build a community around it is a little ambitious. In my mind, unrealistic.

There has been attempts at facilitating critique, we even have (had?) a chatroom for critique, but the number of people participating is approaching zero. There has also been attempted in the regular chatroom to have a critiquing-day, sharing of doodles, photography, examples of own work, and all these have fallen flat on their respective faces.

I basically think people are wary of sharing. This is of course sad, but it is very easy to get shot down over the net. Personally, I do not think the net is actually a very constructive place for critique. Too many fine points gets lost, there are too much information that gets lost.

There is also a huge difference between the SO-code-review and GD-review: code has a (theoretical at least) finite ways of solving a problem, design has not.

  • 1
    Yeah there's a hurdle we'd need to get over - I think as soon as people are used to seeing questions like this and it's clear what sort of answers are acceptable, people will be less reluctant, but first we need to somehow get the ball rolling Apr 21, 2014 at 9:19
  • I think that 99.9% of answerers are mature on SE sites and have only ever seen one negative answer, and that was to a question that deserved as much. Artists and designers all have gone through learning stages, and know what it's like to be new and less skilled. I believe that all design reviews will be very appropriate, and polite, while still being honest and helpful. Apr 27, 2014 at 1:35

I like the way user468458 has put it, to paraphrase: if we get a much higher volume of critique questions through the nurture and growth of the tag and culture here, then it might be worthwhile.

Alan is also right, it would be detrimental to us and carry traffic away unnecessarily.

I'd just like to add that the concept needs further development through practice. There are a number of areas where the review could also crossover into our other territories such as icon recommendations and I'm sure a few others.

It would be far better to establish great examples here on a graduated site that can later be migrated, than to build a new site from the ground up that might not survive - causing loss of valuable insight and peoples time spent answering.

The concept is good and those who like the critique tag here would like it but it's almost a high risk investment in comparison to doing it here which carries little to no risk.


Here's my issue.....

As others have posted, GD.SE has just gone live and it seems odd, if not hazardous, to try and compete directly with an SE site which is still trying to gain an audience. It amounts to shooting GD.SE in the foot to try and get "design review" running. I'm not in favor of that. I'd rather allow GD.SE to grow a bit more before trying to create spin-offs.

You are essentially new here @Johnathan Todd (13 days as of this writing) and among the first things you've done is to propose direct competition. I'm not suggesting that was done with malice. However, why not actually experience this community before trying to pull users away from it? Rather than focusing on some new SE proposal, why not help this community grow in a direction you'd like and see if the community would support that direction in the first place?

Review or critique questions are fine here, but as earlier discussions determined, there needs to be some definition as to what is and is not acceptable. Many of the critique questions we seem to get are nothing more than drive-by "what do you think of this?" which do not lend themselves to solid answers. And when it's pointed out that "What do you think of this?" is not enough, the user vanishes. So, now, you're proposing an entire site dedicated to "What do you think of this?"???? That seems like pure folly. If we can't get users here to post valid critique questions why would a separate SE site be different?

I'm all for critiques. But as @RandomO'Reilly pointed out, GD.SE isn't packed with designers looking to promote themselves or gain some sort of notoriety. That, in part, is what I think has helped the site in beta - No one is looking to show off or be the "big fish" directly. I actually really enjoy that about GD.SE. The egos are minimal for the most part and that's a rare thing in a design community. It's quite often not about "the work" here but more about the theory (when questions aren't Adobe related). And yes, I think there are a great deal of Adobe Help Desk questions here. I'm all for you posting question more related to design theory than software issues.

Once users start posting work, getting critiques which may or may not be favorable, from anonymous internet users, guess what you get? Bruised egos and arguments. I can absolutely guarantee that unlike Code Review, Design Review will be full of moderated-needed attention due to the egos which will become prominent. I see it in almost every single design related internet community I've ever visited -- those that think they are better often scaring off or discouraging new users. And the users who post the most seemingly feeling as if their post count (or in SE terms, rep) would somehow translate to their own validity as a designer, which is far, far, far from true.

Design is not Code. And, as has also been posted, code can be reviewed for any number of finite ways to accomplish an end goal. Design is completely ambiguous and almost never has a single finite solution let alone several. Therefore "Design Review" would be nothing more than an opinion-based SE site... Are those ever considered?

In short... post your review question here following the Critique Guidelines. An entirely new SE site, at this time, is not warranted.

I do realize these are the very 2 reasons you accepted your answer in disagreement. But agree or not, the community here seems to have come to a consensus that these are two very valid reasons why your proposal is not needed. Your comparisons to StackOverflow are completely unwarranted. SO is a beast of a site. It has thousands of questions per day and a huge user base. Code Review was a valid suggestion for SO to actually split the traffic up and make things more manageable. GD.SE is nowhere near SO numbers and there's no need (or apparent desire beyond yours) to split up the small user base we have at this point.

  • Well, no, A few others, it appears, also want Design Review. I also disagree with your point about code having a finite number of solutions, there are an infinite number of ways of efficiently achieving even the most basic of output with any given language. I do, however, agree with the common point that there are simply not enough design users in the SE community to support GD. Lots of people have made this point, and it's a valid one. Apr 28, 2014 at 8:29
  • We're just have to disagree.. code does have finite solutions because in the end, the code must function and complete a goal. Code, no matter how it's written either works or it does not immediately. Design, while it may have a goal, never has a solid, set, determinable, solution which either works or not.
    – Scott
    Apr 28, 2014 at 8:33
  • Disagreement is healthy. If we all agreed, we'd end up making the wrong decision a h*ll of a lot more often. In this case, you're right, and I am.. wrong? Somehow or the other. Apr 28, 2014 at 8:38
  • Also, "Code either works or does not" - That's only half true, and there's more to it: I could write ten different acceptable versions of a function, and each one of them provide a different benchmark. Beyond that, the way that user organizes his code and writes it in a readable way is something that is often taken into account as well. There's more to it than either working or not working. Writing creative, beautiful code solutions can be an art in itself. Apr 28, 2014 at 20:11
  • :) The point is... Code has a definitive, quantifiable goal. If you need a function to calculate 2+2=4. No matter how the code is written, the result must be 4. You can get to 4 in very creative ways, but 4 is the final goal. Design solutions simply can not be quantified by a hard, set, end result. There may be a goal to get the highest ROI with design, but "highest" is hardly as definitive as "4".
    – Scott
    Apr 28, 2014 at 20:25
  • Ok, now that, I can agree with. That's the difference. I do still think, as the selected answer says, DR isn't a bad idea in future context. I'm disagreeing not on the grounds that you're wrong about it not being good right now, because that's certainly true, I see now. I'm disagreeing that it;s inherently a bad idea, based on this topic right here. Apr 28, 2014 at 20:29

Two primary points made against Design Review that I disagree with.

I see very good points in response here and on my Area 51 post, however two points that have been made a few times are: [1] "It will take away traffic from Graphic Design, so no thanks", and [2] "Reviewing code and reviewing design are different".

I like and accept all the points beyond these two. In response to the first point:

I truly disagree with the assumption that Design Review will take away from the traffic of Graphic Design. The two host conceptually different types of questions. This is a fully objective Q&A site. Questions are expected to be answerable. The type of question expected by Design Review is a matter of expert opinion, a completely different concept.

And the second point:

I walk through this concept very, very fully, and objectively, to explain that the two (reviewing code and reviewing design) are exactly the same, if handled as intended. Please have a close look at the article linked in this question for that.

The Issue of Userbase

All in all, I think after discussion, most people do agree that this site's main opponent is a user-base to support it. Stack Overflow is globally known by all developers, being the most popular place in the world for code questions. Stack Exchange, however, is not known for being the best place in the world for other things, such as graphic design.

I think it's important to point out that the necessary user base is out there, but the majority of designers are simply not aware of great Design Q&A on Stack Exchange. I think that if Graphic Design community will support the idea of Design Review, we can spread its popularity to other large graphic design communities who will use this instead of their badly formatted forum sites.

While Graphic Design Q&A is needed and popular, I think that the GD community will be able to expand its attractiveness and reach faster if combined with a partner Design Review site.

To expand the design community of SE, we need to share it.

Artists LOVE to share, and receive feedback. We live on feedback. We want people to see our work. If the artists of the huge graphic design forums out there, and above all, the artists of Deviant Art were exposed to these two resources, they would certainly use them.

The format of SE is simply great, and people enjoy the constructive answers and content (reviews, comments, suggestions) provided by the communities within it.

We just need to share it somehow.

  • @Dominic That was an error, I meant to write GD not, code review, I've fixed it. Apr 27, 2014 at 19:34
  • Thanks for letting me know, that's a pretty bad typo. Apr 27, 2014 at 19:35
  • And Dominic, the reason is that this site, being an objective Q&A site named Graphic Design, fundamentally will not bring in traffic from people looking for a site to have their design reviewed. If you search "Review for code" you literally get Stack Exchange Code Review as the first result. When you search "Review site for Design", this site is nowhere to be found. This is because GD isn't a review site, it's a Q&A site. The two are designed to attract different traffic, with different intent. @Dominic Apr 27, 2014 at 19:42
  • You don't add to your community based on the policies written in the fine print ("Review questions are deemed acceptable here"), you get new users based on Google search results and people knowing that the site offers what they want: Design Review. @Dominic Apr 27, 2014 at 19:42
  • For it to be Design review, it would pretty much consist of graphic designers at all levels. Why would we make a sudden push to promote a brand new site with a single focus instead of bringing them to this site that covers so much more, thus making it far more enticing for them to join and contribute? It may be a better course of action to go for Art review instead because that would not share the exact same target market as GD, and would encourage a much wider user base. It's just a suggestion, not a well thought out proposal.
    – Dom
    Apr 27, 2014 at 21:11
  • @Dominic That doesn't make sense. The name isn't "Art Review" - it's "Design Review" - A review site for designers, not a place for people to determine what features art is limited to. Could you elaborate on that? Apr 27, 2014 at 21:24

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