Design & Criticism

One of the hardest things when designing something within a collaborative environment is the time where you share your ideas with the group for feedback. The critique is something that often becomes a mess of diplomatic (but bland) statements by the people providing (hopefully constructive) feedback while the designer attempts to hold on to their vision and explain what they were thinking.

It usually gets messy and the results can be bad, often leaving the designer anxious and the critics frustrated. But I've always felt that the key to good collaboration is having an open mindset, and not holding on to an idea as being a personal thing from the start. It is often best to flesh out an idea within the group, but if you're the one tasked with being the designer it's you who must be the steward of the design - present your idea, listen to the feedback, take the feedback and let it help you make your idea better. There is always room for improvement and more minds are better than one; but the key here (and often a very difficult thing to avoid) is not allowing this process to dissolve into a design-by-committee muckup. 

This piece on Design Criticism and the Creative Process over at A List Apart is a great read on this, and offers some detailed insights by the author for both the designer and the critic.