What is a Crit-ism?

During a critique, those participating can say some really obscure things. Sometimes it is lack of sleep or ego, other times the piece of art in discussion is so outrageous and edgy a normal comment or descriptive word just wouldn't do. This page of "crit-isms" hopes to capture those art and design school moments.


Profound statements made during critiques from professors, students, guest critics, and others.


Design lingo used in critiques so often that you begin to forget the definition.
Type * CritQuote CritCode
Entry *
Name * (first name, last initial)
College *
  * denotes required fields

I would also like to join the Fan(ny) Club!

E-mail me at

Submitted CritQuotes

"Less is more - mess is bore."
Helder A. (ESE Setubal - Portugal)
"You need to...rethink...your future. What the hell is this."
Joshua G. (FSU)
"The only criticism I have, is that there is nothing wrong with your design." a UC Berkeley Prof. said in the last studio I took at CCAC before I left for RISD.
Jennifer B. (CCAC)
"I wanted to like it, but really it just made me feel incredibly sleepy and sick."
Mignon P. (U of Montana)
"This is less good. (Tutor who can't criticize)"
Matt W. (Sheffield Hallam)
"That is almost an idea!"
Chris M. (RISD)
"The Egyptian darkness is impenetrable."
Bill D. (Ecole No. 7, Versailles)
"It's the spirit that perspires."
Bill D. (Ecole No. 7, Versailles)
"Where did you pick 95% percentile from? Why not 97%? Or 3%? You should be designing for 100% of the population. That means you should be making a one handed device that can be used by someone with no hands. Back to the drawing board."
Jonathan L. (Northwestern University)
"Don't get bitter, get better."
Julian F. (RMIT Melbourne)
"What colour will it be?"
A:"It will be available in a range of colours."
Sam B. (Massey University NZ)
"When the entire room descends into giggling, it is always fun to be the one to break the news: 'That looks like a penis'"
Sam T. (Syracuse)
"I don't even have enough time to talk about all the things that are wrong with this."
Alan L. (WMU)
"Let me get this strait...You're left handed, but after looking at these sketches I'm guessing you've been using you're right???"
Chris W. (SCAD)
"Everyone's drawings are simply awful. Except for YOU! You...I ought to beat you to death right now because yours is the manifestation of all abominable sins in art and design! You are forcing me to turn to physical violence as a form of negative reinforcement in order to get you to remember you use a ruler for straight lines!"
Anne B. (SVA)
"That's a phallic symbol, no?"
Nathan K. (RISD)
"No amount of rhetoric is going to make this good."
Kevin J. (Pratt)
"Your magazine layout really just looks like a word document to me. (Said by the biggest jackass in the class, who ended up failing the course anyway.)"
Brenda G. (OCAD)
"Call your mom and tell her you're going to stop wasting her money and drop out of architecture school. (overheard, glad to be entirely uninvolved in that ass-whipping)"
Emily U. (Harvard GSD)
"These design critics wouldn't know their ass from their elbow."
Solarday A. (University of Life, GMT)
"If I were you right now, I'd be extremely embarassed."
John G. (Parsons)
"Make it more special"
Jane H. (MCCC)
"I don't like it. It reminds me of the 90's."
Luke R. (Norwich University College of the Arts)
"This looks like it was drawn by a cat with a crayon."
Tony M. (California College of the Arts, SF)
Personally, I think it's bang out of order!"
Dom C. (Oxford Brookes)
"You're exceptionally attractive, so I'm going to talk some bullshit about how wonderful your creative vision is, but will fail to mention that you completely ripped off everything you saw in the Tate Modern on your semester abroad in London. Please don't read between the lines, but your art sucks - you'll still probably go far."
Josh M. (Skidmore)
"Those flanges look like shit."
Raj A. (UC Berkeley)
"How it is, what it is, is what it is."
Joe G. (RISD)
"This is a caricature of an emerging idiocy in humans."
Donald P. (Seneca College Toronto)
"Your color sense is raw."
Patt W. (GSU)
"Designer's are here to just draw smooth edges of our products."
Brian C. (MIT)
"I've worked with a bench pin that's more of a designer than you are."
Nyein C. (University of Technology Sydney)
"You should burn this [pause] I mean I don't want to see this reincarnated. I don't want to see this brought back to life. Just burn it."
Kelly B. (West Virginia University)
"I wish I had a dog so I could go home and kick it." (Said by Graphic Design prof. after being upset with students work)
Jeff D. (Old Dominion University)
"That color palette is so dark, it makes me want to slit my wrists."
Mitch P. (ECU SOaD)
"You are a god [pause] a goddamn idiot."
Tom D. (MIAD)
"This is basiclly the worst application of paint I have ever seen on paper..."
Tyler W. (Rochester Institute of Technology)
"You think that looks appetizing? Maybe you should take up a job in drycleaning!"
Meredith W. (SCAD)
"Nostalgia is a liar."
Dietmar W. (University of Illinois)
"Looks like a serial killer's crawlspace". (In reference to a student's still life)
Carolyn C. (UCLArts)
"You should be a writer" - said to me after my freshman drawing teacher did my numerology chart.
Geoffrey N. (RISD)
"Your work is really conceptually shallow." (this followed a one hour discussion on the concept of, yes, hot sauce)
Kelly S. (SCAD)
"I don't want to imply anything, or burst your bubble. But there is a very obvious vagina in the center of your composition and I think everyone sees it but you."
Loren W. (RISD)
"You could have blown your nose on this and it would have looked better."
Ash A. (SCAD)
"This isn't worth the paper it's printed on."
Henry J. (Carnegie Mellon School of Design)
"I cut myself with the x-acto while doing this, and I decided to incorporate my blood into the design. I think it turned out well."
Maristella G. (SCAD)
"Now we are going to burn all the work you did all summer; you will learn to detach from your art... say what!!!???"
Marivi G. (RISD)
"There is a difference between plagerism and appropriation...who can tell me the difference?"
Corinne M. (RISD)
"So what drugs made this alright?"
Joe G. (RISD) 2-D Design

Submitted CritCode

Kevin J. (Pratt)
Tony M. (California College of the Arts, SF)
Anne B. (SVA)
Dan D. (Auburn University)
Tour de force
Raquel R. (Virginia Tech)
Kim M. (UC Berkeley)
Andrew T. (RISD)
Cynthia P. (Mills College)
Jennifer B. (CCAC & RISD)
Alizabeth B. (UBC)
Renata F. (Royal College of Art)
Nathan K. (RISD)
Julian F. (RMIT, Melbourne)
Angela S. (U of Colorado at Boulder)
Erin W. (USC)
Andrew T. (RISD)
Emily F. (West Virginia University)
Andy H. (Kansas City Art Institute)
Josh M. (Skidmore)
Ian H. (Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee)
Patt W. (GSU)
Nathalie W. (MICA)
Whitney W. (University of N. Texas)
Jason Q. (Georgia Tech)
Luis A. (RISD)
Joe G. (RISD)