critique Paper about graphic design


Write a paper three to four pages in length discussing the success or failure of a piece of graphic design that affects a public space.

Good examples include posters, advertisements, maps, menus, wayfinding signage, etc. Do not choose examples of interior design, web

sites, or civic planning.

First, visit any public space and review the different elements of graphic design found there. For example, the signage in a museum, the

menu at a restaurant, the political poster on the wall of your dorm room lobby. Washington is filled with many public spaces and you are

encouraged to explore the city in your search. Be creative when choosing a design to critique. You should feel strongly about it’s success

or failure. Once you have selected a piece of design, take a photo or otherwise obtain a copy of it.

Second, critique the chosen design. Is it successful? Why or why not? Does it communicate or solve a problem effectively? How do formal

elements affect the conveyed meaning? You must make connections and references to topics from class discussions and readings.

Finally, include at least three resources to support your comments. One of three must be found in books or periodicals. Try searching in

current design periodicals, such as Communication Arts (CA), Graphis, How, ID, Print, Eye. Visit the graphic design section of the campus

library or a bookstore. See what professional organizations have to offer on the topic by visiting their web sites, such as the AIGA web site.

If your design references another issue or topic, think about extending your research in that direction.

This is not a pure research paper, as it must include your thoughts and impressions about the subject. Tell me something that I don’t

already know about the subject or some new perspective not previously considered.

Be careful in your topic choice. Will the design still be there in a month or two? Will the museum exhibit change? If it is possible that the

design will not be there at a later date, be sure to get all needed notes and information immediately.


Two to three pages (600–800 words), typed, one-inch margins, double-spaced. No paper-lengthening trickery. Brevity will force you to

think and write with greater clarity.

Include a color photo or scan of the selected design on a separate page.

Include a sources page with your (minimum three) sources and use footnotes as needed. Document sources properly and using a citation


Submit the paper as a PDF or Word document file

grade for the assignment.

evaluation considerations

Clarity of writing

Demonstrated ability to intelligently analyze a design both formally and conceptually

Effective use of sources

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