I was interested to see how thoughts on being a novice in critique seem to align quite closely to ideas that are becoming more common in design pedagogy about the role of a novice designer. In both cases, it seems, a more informed view of what have traditionally been called “novices” leads to a more nuanced view of what a “normal” novice looks like. In fact, in design education, a design “novice” has actually become an unhelpful differentiator, mostly because of the increased role of the designer’s background in understanding how they think about design.

So bringing the context back closer to critique, do designers and critics actually share a lot of underlying thought processes and patterns of critique? Even while the designer might use a significantly more internalized critique process than an explicit critic (although this is context-dependent as well). I think there is definitely a correlation between critique and design education, mostly in the development of design judgement (which seems to be a largely critique-oriented attribute), but I’d like to see where other people feel connections might exist. Another divide, which might play into this situation as well is the differentiation in the past century or so between high art and low art, with low art (craft-based disciplines like product design) seen as less important or worthy of respect than high art (fine art). I wonder if this differentiation also plays into what elements are most important in the critique process, at least internally. For “low art,” the cultural perspective (in terms of designing things that are seen by others as culturally valuable) is foregrounded, while in “high art,” structural or formal properties, along with a distinct sliver of the historical-cultural context is foregrounded. No complete thoughts here…just throwing this out there.

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