In a design environment it is of most importance to know how to manage critique. In my opinion, the best way is by grabbing onto it and using it as an advantage.

Today’s designers seek global approval. Receiving solid critique on a Behance post is non-existing. If the public likes it, they press like. If the public doesn’t like it, they scroll. This is definitely another form of critique, but not the deep, piece by piece critique I’m referring to.

Myself and my business partner / sister have both studied at the University of Stellenbosch. This was where we were first acquainted with the value of critique. Due to us understanding this, our way of working together is smooth sailing. The Pepperplane team talks openly about what we think of each other’s designs. This enhances the pace and generates a much better solution. Working together and being able to speak freely and receiving critique in an appreciative manner is of most value.   

Critique can be misunderstood and, in some cases, taken as negative remarks. Receiving criticism shouldn’t be from a personal point of view. Criticism is based on what the design represents and supports. Does the design have the target audience in mind? Does the design cater for the main purpose of the product or service?

Designers take their work to heart and develop a strong bond. Being proud of your work is important but being content and placing your client’s needs before your personal guard is even more important.

Self-critique is step number one. If there is an ounce of doubt in your end result, go back to the drawing board. Practice self-critique and refine the design until it’s curated and developed to showcase and support the product or service perfectly. It’s not always up to the client or team to spoon feed you the answer. Take the time and make the effort to evaluate your own work first. After this step, showcase your designs internally. Your deliverable would be much sounder and more appreciated by the client as an end result.

Do you want to grow as a designer? Swallow your pride and start using critique as inspiration and motivation. Kick ass!

Written by: Annette Schuman – 20 July 2020

Get in touch with your creative wing

Designing a brand or website takes time. Illustrating or animating for a new campaign takes time. Developing a new product or service takes time. Time is relative to how passionate you are in succeeding at the highest standard. Time is usually the first excuse that’s used to not complete a task or to not take part in an activity. As we all know, the brilliant Elon Musk or Bill Gates don’t have an extra few hours per day. We’re all circling the same sun.

Do the grunt work.

If you’ve signed up for success, the biggest element that could hinder it is dedicating too little time or effort. The grunt work is the most important part. Once you have one solid recipe and template that succeeds every time, move on to the next piece of grunt work to develop the next success. Success isn’t achieved by waiting for it. It’s achieved by working for it.

Logos are designed by following a long and thorough process. First is the evaluation and research of the business. After that comes the hundreds of sketches from which only one is carefully selected to be refined and used as the company’s brand mark. Following this process makes for a guaranteed end result. The grunt is used to shape and polish that one successful winner.

Use tools and resources to save time.

It’s important to know how to delegate, ask for help and find tools to support your goal. This does not mean someone else will reach your success for you. Sitting back is not the answer. You might have the perfect support system, but that does not mean you can get comfortable. A comfortable mind is high risk for you and your company’s success. Stay on top of all your successes as they will need to grow and adapt.


Developing a website takes time. We have done the grunt work by learning and working with clean html/css. Not only has this improved our design but also provided us with a solid knowledge base in the development of a website. Moving on to finding and using the correct tools and resources to save time, was the next step. The only way to identify which tools to use is due to the deep understanding of what’s needed to achieve the goal.

Be prepared.

Being stuck in a difficult situation can be time consuming. Walk away. Clear your mind. Do something completely different and give your brain time to find the solution. Design is the process of creatively solving problems. It’s the designer’s role to identify the specific problems, plan how to solve them within the businesses’ needs and using the correct methods to complete the tasks.

Save time by rather giving yourself a 10-minute break than continuing in the same rut. Spending hours on a specific design or solution might seem productive but is in fact the complete opposite if there is no concrete result. Keep the ball rolling by setting scheduled planned slots. Always be prepared for the difficult times.


Be a successful designer. Make the most of your time by growing and nurturing your talent and continuously reaching your next goal. Make circling the sun fun!

Written by: Annette Schuman – 15 July 2020

Get in touch with your creative wing