(add)venturists view a storyboard.

How to improve creative work using structured critique methods

Establishing a consistent and well-structured critique method is an important part of the creative process. Not only does it help streamline reviews, but it also provides a shared language and framework for team members to use when evaluating a multitude of work.

At (add)ventures, we created a unique critique system to help our team and our clients assess and give feedback. After years of batting around critique methods and repeatedly getting caught up in the process, this system was developed to help streamline critiques. Internally referred to as “The Three C’s,” it assesses context, content and craft.

What are “The Three C’s” of critique?

Context - The where, when and why. The scenario in which a person will be exposed to the creative, along with the goals and objectives outlined in the creative brief.

In our Manhattan take-over campaign to announce CVS Pharmacy launching same-day prescription delivery service, the context was a bustling Manhattan atmosphere. We simplified the message and color scheme to hold the campaign together with floods of CVS red, making it eye-catching in such a busy space.

Free, same-day prescription delivery in Manhattan.

Content - The what. The specific message being communicated through words and imagery. Once we understood the context, we moved to content. To effectively and efficiently communicate that CVS now offers same-day prescription delivery, we used a simple animation – a CVS-branded prescription bag on wheels moving across NYC paired with “delivery and prescriptions” language.

Bright electronic CVS Health billboard.

Craft - The how. The artful decisions made around the formal elements of the creative—such as composition, color, rhythm, texture, kerning, lighting, story, voice, tone and so on—to help deliver the message in a clear and emotional way.

The craft of this campaign leveraged flat color and illustration within a clean design. Using tone-on-tone palettes to create a monochromatic yet on-brand look allowed the elements to hold together through the Gestalt principle of similarity. Additionally, every asset was unique based on location and each screen was mapped out to create the best experience.

CVS Health takeover with miniature billboards.

The CVS Pharmacy same-day prescription delivery launch made great impressions – 220 million of them – illustrating just how powerful these three C’s working together can be.

Why are critique methods important?

It can be overwhelming to select ideas during the creative process and providing a project team with a common language to critique work can streamline and clarify feedback and direction. This can be especially true when people have conflicting opinions. By applying The Three C’s of critique during our idea selection process, we help our team and clients evaluate the creative on a deeper level which allows them to make more informed decisions.

Having an established method of critique helps our clients develop a deeper sense of understanding and trust in our work. By giving them a shared vocabulary with our creative team, everyone has the tools to provide more specific, actionable feedback, helping projects move forward in a more constructive way.

Applying these not only helps to improve both our productivity and efficiency, but also strengthens our client relationships and improves the work we do for them.