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Will someone critique my portfolio? (and my website if you have the time?)

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  • Will someone critique my portfolio? (and my website if you have the time?)

    Hello everyone,

    I'm in serious need of a critique. Just a little background; I'm a self-taught aspiring graphic designer. I've been using photoshop for about 8 years now, and illustrator for about 4 years. I've had a few clients this past year, but I'm trying to get a full time gig as a designer. At time I feel that my lack of schooling is a handicap, but I also feel that I have what it takes to at least get my foot in the door somewhere (please burst my bubble if I'm being delusional). Any constructive criticisms will be appreciated. Thanks!
    Last edited by KitchWitch; 01-18-2017, 09:03 AM.

  • #2
    Your link does not work.

    I wouldn't hire you if you've never used InDesign.


    • #3
      Oh man, link has been updated. So sorry. And I have only a few months on InDesign.


      • #4


        • #5
          Your home page is just a pdf of various designs...this isn't ideal for a website.

          Viewing your portfolio there appeared to be more personal pieces and artwork than graphic design. I understand it can be difficult to incorporate designs when you haven't been employed yet, but you need to find a better way to build up your portfolio.

          Also why do you have a shop?


          • #6
            Yea I realize that. Thanks for the advice.
            Well I'm planning on selling prints of some of those personal pieces soon. Should that be dropped on a portfolio site?


            • #7
              My opinion: drop the shop.

              Your portfolio site should exist to show potential employers your work and thought process in order to promote your value.

              If you want to be a full-time designer as you stated in your post, then catered the website to that. A hiring manager isn't going to want to order anything from your shop.

              If you want to do the shop on the side, I would recommend something like Etsy. However you may have a difficult time selling original pieces if you are not a big name artist.

              P.S. Before I was employed as a full-time designer I tried Etsy and had no luck. I went with the whole "print out wedding invite niche" which seemed to be fairly popular at the time. But I noticed I didn't get much of any traction and Etsy kept prompting me to pay for advertising to get my store noticed.


              • #8
                I see, thank you calebninja!


                • calebninja
                  calebninja commented
                  Editing a comment
                  No prob!

              • #9
                It appears that you have some fairly good design instincts and skills, but you seem unfocused in what are of graphic design you are looking to get into.

                The lack of InDesign experience is going to be problematic, and the small amount of work shown that involves layout will be as well.

                Your presentation of the logos needs to be more clear.
                No need to put ANY mention of "Logos that didn't make the cut", and certainly there is no reason to post those versions. The sketchbook page is fine, the rest, no.

                The pages marked as "Typography": you need to decide which ones of these are strong--get rid of the weak ones. The cursive one on the lower right is illegible. and the "Kill la Ville" doesn't really say much about your typography skills.
                Real typography skills would be quite a bit more boring. I would like to see something more akin to a magazine spread, with pull quotes, maybe a table, something that shows your knowledge of when to use all caps, small caps, punctuation, justification, etc You need to show that you know kerning and leading--mostly the dull grunt work that most readers don't pick up on, but make a page engaging and easy to read at the same time.

                Instead of showing a mockup scene with your magazine spread--just post the spread itself so the employer can see how you are working the type.

                How you are laying out these portfolio pages isn't showing very good layout sensibilities. You are maintaining certain margins on some parts, but then having type run off on others. It looks to me like you are thinking you need to get really "artistic" in that regard, but what you end up doing is fighting the artwork's ability to show itself. It is getting in the way.

                The illustration work is very nice, but you really need to be careful when using other people's photographs as the basis for your art. I certainly hope you aren't selling the Jimi Hendrix piece (and others) without the photographer' s consent.
                Keep Saturn in Saturnalia.


                • spyrocc
                  spyrocc commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thank you for the critique seamas, truly appreciated. I will work on these areas.
                  The images that I used all fall in the public domain, so I should be safe, right? I haven't sold anything anyway so I don't expect a cease a desist letter anytime soon.

                  Again, I thank you for your valuable insight!

                • seamas
                  seamas commented
                  Editing a comment
                  What makes you think those images fall into public domain?

              • #10
                I moved this thread into the Student Forum, so the feedback you get will (hopefully) be more appropriate for someone still in school and learning.
                Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.


                • #11
                  Originally posted by spyrocc View Post
                  The images that I used all fall in the public domain
                  How are you defining ''public domain'' exactly? The EULA for each image will define the allowable usages and restrictions, if any
                  Sketching not only helps you work out good ideas, it helps you get past the bad ones.


                  • #12
                    Your Resume...

                    Understanding a clients needs has been a crucial skill that I have gained while freelancing. Being able to put what the client wants ahead of what I think while being able to control the creative process is an indispensable skill that will translate into future positions as a designer.
                    That is the definition of a graphic designer (with typo included.)
                    What can you do for me as an employer?
                    Typos get you binned immediately.

                    My time at Lifetouch was incredibly invaluable and the
                    skills I obtained from working there have served me to this day.
                    Great. Why? What do you do with these skills?
                    And again, what can you do for me?

                    Your resume should not be about you. It should be about how you can apply skills you have to make yourself valuable to an employer.

                    Too many hyphens. Your text handling needs some improvement.

                    Knowing how many years you have used the Adobe programs is not a helpful statistic.

                    Your portfolio…
                    At no point can I see a piece in its entirety except at a very small size. You waste a lot of browser space top and bottom. Your presentation is lacking there.

                    Do NOT lead off your portfolio with failed pieces.
                    Your portfolio should lead off with your 2nd strongest piece and end with your strongest. Or vice versa.

                    Your logo 1500Pays…. Not sure paper-in/money-out is a good image to have even if it is fairly literal in translation. Too many elements, too many ideas all in one logo.

                    What is It doesn’t seem to exist.
                    Doesn’t sound real legitimate as a course of study for logo design.

                    Your illustration work is good. Are you fast at it? If not, it is not marketable.
                    It looks like you are you copying photos that exist? And that you don't understand the term Public Domain. Just finding it on the internet is not Public Domain.

                    Starting in Illustrator then finishing in Photoshop sort of defeats the purpose of starting in Illustrator. Either you do vector art, or you don’t.

                    Photo manips are photo manips. Your composition is full center flat angle. You might want to change that up to something a little more extreme.

                    Self-portrait…I wouldn’t. Up to you, but you do seem to have some brain lesions going on there. Be aware of the image you want to portray of yourself and who your target employer might be.

                    Truth be told, without any sort of formal education you would get put to the bottom of the pile where I work. Most of the hirelings have at least a trade school education in some sort of trade that translates to signage. At other places, not having any form of college education won't even get you looked at.

                    What kind of work are you looking for?
                    Unless you know the answer to that, it is hard to tailor your portfolio toward that goal.


                    • spyrocc
                      spyrocc commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Oh man, a lot of mistakes that I missed! Firstly thank you for taking the time to write out an extensive critique. I will definitely fix all these issues.

                      The more I frequent this site, the more I realize that not having formal education is hurting my chances at making this a career. Bubble has been burst!

             was the sight, pretty bad mistake on my part.

                      I will take all these critiques and do what I need to better position myself.

                      Thank you PrintDriver!

                  • #13
                    Hi Alex,
                    " I'm trying to get a full time gig as a designer. At time I feel that my lack of schooling is a handicap"

                    Yes, I agree, I think your lack of schooling is a handicap.
                    I would strongly suggest to study if you actually want to be gainfully employed in this area.
                    Do whatever it takes if you really want to do it.

                    It’s going to be very difficult to get your foot in the door without a proper design education.

                    Speaking from experience as a former studio manager, I interviewed many people for design positions. The reality is we would typically receive hundreds of applications for just one position.

                    The only way to deal with the sheer volume of applications was to have clear-cut criteria. Just one of the criteria was: if an applicant didn’t have design qualifications their application was put in the trash pile.

                    That’s just a simple reality of the very competitive graphic design employment market. To even get to interview you would need to have completed your studies or close to completion of studies.

                    That’s not to say that you couldn’t land some position somewhere, but I think the likelihood is very low.

                    My opinion on your work:
                    Your work at this stage is ok/good for someone who hasn’t been formally trained.
                    That is, I think it’s a good prospective student portfolio. It shows that you could develop into a competent designer if you applied yourself in a committed course of study in graphic design.

                    Overall, I think there are many areas that are lacking in your work: composition, typography, layout etc

                    My opinion on your site.
                    There are a lot of problems with the site, but just a couple of main points:
                    - Overall I found it really messy and not very well thought out

                    - In my view: the self portrait illustration on the about page is totally the wrong kind of image if you want potential clients to know who you are and trust you. That pic is sure to scare off most potential clients. Use an illustration if you must, but not one that makes you look dangerous / scary.

                    -You don’t need a shop on a portfolio site, especially one that is not functioning

                    Anyway, good luck with it all, I encourage you to study.

                    p.s. A typo on your resume: You have misspelled Proficiencies
                    Last edited by Pavlo; 01-18-2017, 08:34 PM.


                    • spyrocc
                      spyrocc commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thank you Pavlo.

                      These critiques have been quite a wake up call, but they're all appreciated nonetheless.

                    • Pavlo
                      Pavlo commented
                      Editing a comment
                      No worries, I hope I didn't come across as too harsh in my critique, but I wouldn't be doing you any favours to sugarcoat anything. I hope you go and study graphic design, I think you have potential to do well.





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