That title is a little dramatic but here's my question. I recently got hired to a team that is working on the design/development of a website. I was hired as a wordpress developer, but my main focus has been design over the past couple of years, with the last 10 or so months having experience developing a handful of wordpress sites.
The website I got hired to work on currently displays a design which was created and developed by a computer science graduate student. It does not look excellent, and no one expects it to, but on top of that, he was given no real guidance. No content strategy. No real knowledge of web design standards, etc.
I attended the first meeting today and I don't think the designer has had much experience. He is a graphic design student and he means well but he just doesn't know a lot of the basic fundamentals of designing a site. I had to explain to him what web-safe fonts were. He wasn't sure how to change the color of something that should have been an easy adjustment layer fix in like 20 seconds. The kerning and leading was inconsistent and off, padding was inconsistent, there were large blocks of text in the header above the navigation (it was inappropriate for the type of site we're working on.) These things aren't necessarily bad, as we all have to start somewhere, but he was hired on as the designer.
This is a forward-facing site meant to attract advertisers who will spend money to acquire research we are doing on the youth and college demographic.
He showed the designs today and the couple of people calling the shots were kind of eating it up. Keep in mind I'm not calling the individual a bad designer, but the design was very inappropriate and outdated for what we are trying to do which is convey freshness, youth, advertise to advertisers. And the individual simply didn't live in the web world, he hasn't acquired the knowledge to make these observations just yet. That's completely fine.
So here is my question. How do I criticize this work without sounding like an *******?! All of the things I just said is what I wanted to say when we were in the meeting, but clearly it sounded like the verbage of an *******. I have no idea what to do. What would you do? Also I was hired on as primarily a wordpress developer with design knowledge and the ability to learn Drupal programming, so I don't think they really see me as a designer. I really like all of the people I'm working with as people, they're super nice and supportive, easy to get ahold of, I don't want to hurt anyones feelings!
I've never had to give much criticism on these things. I'm not sure how to go about it. Thanks for the help.