We characterized and compared first-year engineering students' and engineering educators' written feedback on sample students' design work. To do so, we created a coding scheme including two domains: Focus and Substance of feedback. Educators made more and longer comments than the students. Both students and educators (though, to a lesser extent) focused on negative aspects of the design work. Students and educators' feedback was significantly different within some of the coding categories for both Focus and Substance of feedback. Students focused on giving specific directions in their feedback, while educators asked thought provoking questions and expressed doubts about the design work to encourage the students to re-evaluate their design decisions. Students' comments were more related to the communication aspect of the design work while educators made more comments about design ideas and design concepts. The coding scheme can be used as a framework to analyse feedback in other contexts.