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I understand where you're coming from, and the need for critical thinking is essential in the design industry.
The problem with design culture nowadays is that we jump at any chance to criticise - and not in a positive way. Those FastCo articles, and many DN/HN/Brand New/Reddit comments just consist of people making complaints and pointing out all the flaws with zero clue as to the internal workings or ideas behind the creation of a piece.
The worst thing is that once a criticism is made, everyone else is "wrong". For example, I tend to like the London 2012 logo - it's imperfect, weird as hell and draws the eye in a way Olympic logos haven't done in recent years. However, mentioning that anywhere just results in people telling me I'm wrong and it's crap, when that's a totally subjective opinion.
Criticism is necessary. But we have a real negative culture right now, and that tends to shuts down dialogue and alienate designers from their peers. Nothing wrong with constructive criticism, as long as it reads like "hey here's some improvements" instead of "this is shit, change it".
What recent articles are really calling for is an attitude change - where we celebrate great design, where people are more thoughtful and considerate with their feedback.
We already celebrate great design. In fact, quite unfortunately, we also very often celebrate awful and harmful design. It is exactly honest but critical dialogue that's needed. More congratulatory praise is not something that needs to be invited. It's a given that it will happen. Criticism requires saying things that make people uncomfortable and is thus much less often practiced in any rigorous or meaningful way.
There are some designs that are legitimately coming from the wrong place. Nine times out of ten it's unintentional. Nonetheless, strong criticism is necessary, especially when the entire industry converges around a dark pattern.
I'm of the opinion that we don't celebrate design enough. That's not saying that we shouldn't criticise - you're absolutely right that it's important. But if you look at the comments of any Brand New article, for every positive comment there's what feels like 9 minor complaints. Some of those are valid, but most are just points made without knowledge of the business or context. Completely disregarding context when giving criticism is pretty ignorant IMO.
I genuinely don't think that congratulatory praise is a given, Dribbble notwithstanding (the lack of criticism there is scary). In some places strong criticism is necessary, but most of the time I think we all talk out of our arses and pretend we know more than we actually do.
This is excluding questioning industry-wide trends like the hamburger, share icons etc. Dark patterns/unintuitive trends definitely need to be called out. No question.
It's the trend of ganging up on specific people & designs that makes me uncomfortable. I absolutely love and relish pure constructive criticism; I think I can attribute that to my development as a designer more than anything else. But I've also had experiences with people that have been unnecessarily harsh and rude about my work without stopping to think about the context. So this is an issue that's quite personal to me.
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