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Portfolio - Where Am I Going Wrong?


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#1 BFresh

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 06:10 PM

Please take a look at my portfolio website and be as critical as possible.

I've got a first class honours degree in Design Technology BSc plus other useful qualifications, good experience considering I graduated in 2009, a natural understanding and flair for design - I consider myself to be an above average and strong all rounder for my career level.

Despite this, I'm really struggling to even get interviews.

I would be grateful for any useful criticism of my personal website/portfolio, especially anything glaringly obvious which you as a designer would be put off by.

Visit my site here - Fresh Design Works

Thanks,

Ben

#2 JoeMattley

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 06:40 PM

Website is a nice layout, and the projects on there look good.

However, to really aid you do you have a version of your portfolio that you send to employers to get an interview? And do you send your CV to them as well? I've found that many people fail to remember that the CV is just as important as the portfolio, and you need to make your skills jump out, if you have 10 years of experience but have to make the person hiring you work to find the skills you've gained, then you won't get the interview.

If you post the PDF verision/portfolio you send in the format they see it. That will help more! :)

#3 Cyberdemon

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 10:02 PM

If you want as critical as possible I'd highly recommend looking at the portfolios of other recent grads throughout the world on sites like Coroflot and Core77.

-Your projects are very furniture focused. A lot of the details are very mechanical in nature which might be applicable for certain companies, but in terms of where contemporary furniture is, those designs aren't very relevant and that's really all you're showing.

-Your dirtbike is nicely considered mechanically, but again - not a lot of industrial design or styling. It's good you understand the mechanics - but it seems like your portfolio is more focused on the engineering and less focused on the design.

-If your course was 4 years, it does not come off as 4 years worth of work. There's no real show of sketching to resolve ideas, research, human factors, rendering, etc. The stuff in your misc products section come off as craft projects, not design work. I would not put things like a shelf that you built in your portfolio.

If you are having trouble getting a job I would look into how can you really revamp or update the projects, and frankly I would do several new interdependent projects that show creative thinking, work heavily on your sketching and show that you can create 100 ideas around 1 concept, improve your rendering and 3D techniques, etc.

Remember - graduating with honors just means you fulfilled your course requirements with exception, but it does not mean that you will be at the same level of other graduates. You need to broaden your scope and see what people are doing. I'll be honest that for the work you've shown in your portfolio, I would have expected that out of most students coming out of their 2nd year of design school. Your portfolio shows me you can develop a single concept, but no indication of why that concept was the best one or the dozens you threw out because they weren't good enough.

Hopefully this is helpful. Cheers.
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#4 BFresh

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 10:12 PM

Thanks for the tips.

I usually send prospective employers a CV and link to my website. Putting together a PDF portfolio to send as well sounds like a good idea too.

My way of design thinking is quite mechanical and detail focused, I guess that's my style and what makes me different. My course was more mechanically focused that traditional BA courses. I will try to get that across more on my site.

I was aiming for quality rather than quantity, hence why it doesn't look like 4 years of work, but I will add more work as and when. There are mixed opinions about how much work to show.

What do you think of my blog? good idea? I use it to show current projects, review things, and share links.

Cyberdemon, I noticed that you are from NY. The impression that I get is that NY is the capital for Industrial Design (in the US), and that Industrial Design is better known and understood by industries in the US. Here in the UK, it feels like product design, which I see as one of the many ID specialist areas, is barely understood, let alone ID. When I tell people I'm a designer they immediately say graphic, web, or interior, or if I say Industrial Designer they think engineering. Most of the ID websites I look at seem to be from the US.
Do you think there is a difference between ID in the US and UK? Are the standards of graduates different in the US and UK?

#5 Cyberdemon

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 04:20 PM

It's OK to be mechanically focused and I've noticed that many of the UK programs are oriented more that way. That's OK - but in a super competitive market you should be able to show that you are able to resolve mechanical details in a beautiful and purposeful fashion, and I think some of that is still missing.

Don't think of things in terms of quality vs quantity. 1: Everything you show should be of quality, even if they are ideation sketches. Sketching is still very important if you want a proper ID job because it shows how you think through a problem and why you've made and evolved decisions. If you draw a sketch and say "This is my idea, now I'm going to build it in CAD and I'm done" then it doesn't tell a story about how you've identified problems, looked for alternative designs and approaches, and selected a path forward.

I would ditch the blog entirely - if your website purpose is to get a job then no one cares about the Blog. If you want to share current projects, put them in your portfolio. Outside of that ditch it - there are a ton of blogs out there already and unless you want a job as a blog editor, it won't help.

I wouldn't say NY is the capital of design in the US. There's actually much less product design here then you would think, and ID is still only understood in fields that need it. But if an employer is hiring ID grads, then they know what that means.

I think there are differences between schools and program regardless of the location. There are schools in Europe that are very art focused, and some that are much more tech/engineering focused, and that is OK. But you really want to go on a site like Coroflot and spend a few hours browsing through portfolios. Look at what other grads are putting out from every other college out there. That ultimately ends up being your competition. ID is a super competitive field and you need to push all of your skills forward in your portfolio to land a job.

#6 GonzoInventor

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 03:41 PM

Remember - graduating with honors just means you fulfilled your course requirements with exception, but it does not mean that you will be at the same level of other graduates. You need to broaden your scope and see what people are doing.


Took me 12 months to work this out.

Hi, I'm Duncan. I run a small creative studio in Haarlem where I design things.


#7 jj-mo

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 01:02 AM

Why would a pit bike need a drive shaft?

#8 jj-mo

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 01:11 AM

I think some reasoning behind your designs would be beneficial. The sustainabike probably has the most innovation behind it but it seems you havent followed through with that project. I think you have too many rough sketches on there as well, some sketches are meant for yourself only and should never be shown to people critiquing your work. I think tackling some smaller projects and doing them very well would be beneficial for your portfolio, my advise would be to branch out a bit more than bikes and furniture, i feel like your limiting yourself.




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