Drop-Shadow Comments: A Drop-Dead Sign

A safe critique stemming from uncertainty about providing more comprehensive feedback.


May 20, 2024


Steve Berry

Drop-Shadow Comments: A Drop-Dead Sign

Critiquing and discussing design elements is second nature to me, a skill honed over years of experience. This ability to articulate feedback is crucial in evolving as a professional, especially when addressing a diverse audience.

However, I've observed an intriguing pattern, a heuristic, that resurfaces in design presentations. I unveil a design—perhaps a new logo or a homepage that epitomizes a company's digital storefront. Amidst the myriad of new elements, the first remark zeroes in on something seemingly trivial: the drop shadow.

This frequent fixation on the drop shadow isn't just a random observation; it's a window into the commenter's comfort level with design. It's less about the shadow and more about the individual's struggle to articulate their broader thoughts on the design. Why the drop shadow, you might wonder?

The answer lies in our innate familiarity with shadows. From birth, we're exposed to the natural cycle of light and dark, making us all, in a sense, experts on how shadows should look and behave.

So, when someone comments on a drop shadow during a design presentation, it's often because it's the aspect they feel most confident discussing. It's a safe critique, one that doesn't require a deep dive into the nuances of design. It's their way of contributing to the conversation without stepping too far out of their comfort zone.

Next time you encounter a drop-shadow comment, take a moment to empathize. It might stem from uncertainty or nervousness about providing more comprehensive feedback. This insight can transform how you perceive and respond to feedback, fostering a more supportive and understanding environment for sharing and discussing design ideas.

Steve Berry
Principal, Thought Merchants

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