And the goal isn't trying to make your reloaded rounds "look" the same as factory cartridges
yes how they "look" should be your guide. if they "look" obviously deformed then your doing something wrong. if you "look" and see the crimp ring circling your bullet where it shouldn't then your doing something wrong, if you "look" and see the crimp biting into the bullet your doing something wrong.
you can tell alot by simpling things down and taking a "look" first, but i guess not everyone gets that and it should be spelled out.
your first step should be to "look" first for obvious abnormalities (compared to say a factory round)