Behance Portfolio Critique

Skill Level: New Graduate
Aims: Hoping to discover the strengths, weaknesses, and ways to improve my current portfolio
Portfolio Link: https://www.behance.net/nhatminhly

Greetings!

At the moment, I’m on the final year at my university and I’m looking to apply for a graphic designer position at certain agencies in Japan. I’m a self-taught designer and have never taken classes or courses at art universities (my current major is in Engineering and Robotics). However, I’ve long developed interest in designing and has participated (and won some prizes) in a few design competitions for high school students.

Without a proper certificate/qualification in art and design, I fully understand how important it is to present a good quality and understanding in this field through my portfolio. Unfortunately, there are no designers in my surrounding environment who could provide me with advice on how to improve it. Objectively, I feel that the current portfolio I have is still lacking in certain areas but cannot correctly pinpoint on what exactly I should improve on. As a result, I would like to ask for everyone here for your critiques and feedback on my project.

You can find the link to my portfolio on the top of the post. Thank you in advance for your time and kind efforts!

The address comes up as invalid when I paste it into a window.

I wonder if it was because of the text format? I’m still new to the forum so there might be some embedding problems which I might not aware. If so, please excuse me for my lacking.

https://www.behance.net/nhatminhly/projects

Could you please kindly try again with this link?

Working now. The first URL is working, too. I was on my iPad before. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Your work shows that you have an eye for design and some ability – perhaps more than what I’d expect from a self-taught student. That said, there is room to grow and improve your skills. Everything you’ve shown could be improved. It would take too long to offer an individual critique on all of the different pieces.

If I can give you a bit of life advice instead of design advice, I’d suggest you hit the pause button on design for a bit and figure out your best path forward. I say this in light of you saying you’re in your final year at university in an engineering and robotics program.

You really need to do some research and talk to career counselors. What sort of a salary would you be making taking a job in the engineering / robotics field? What is the potential for growth in that field – both in terms of professional growth and salary? What could you be making in 10, 20, 30 years? Compare that to what you could be making as a graphic designer. Also, what is the job market like in the engineering field vs. the design field?

In the U.S., at least in my part of the U.S., engineers get out of college and move directly into well-paying jobs with good benefits. I know this because I have quite a few friends whose kids have graduated university with engineering degrees. None of them are looking for work. Compare that to a job market that is saturated with graphic designers that are competing for a slim number of jobs.

It’s up to you, of course, but I’d think long and hard before abandoning the engineering field for graphic design.

1 Like

One more comment on the actual presentation of your work, and this same comment was made to someone else not too long ago, your use of Photoshop mockups to present your work is pretty heavy handed. To the point that it makes it hard to see the actual work and is distracting. You need to simplify the presentation a bit.

Thank you for your kind advice.

Regarding choosing which path to take, I believe there is a vast difference between Japan and the U.S. In the U.S, I believe engineers have broader chances to improve themselves and are not constrained to the hierarchy built by companies and organization. In Japan however, what turned me off from actually taking the engineering path are the constraints implored by companies and job restrictions. Companies do not have high hope in newly graduated students and, according to many seniors’ experiences, newly students may be forced to do jobs irrelevant to their major (it’s not rare to see students hoping to work in Department A to be put into an odd position in Department B or C, since companies do not recruit for a specific position and instead, recruit to fill in whatever positions that are open).

Compared to many others, my criteria in job choosing is vastly different. I believe I still have further rooms to grow and I should choose a job where I can fly further ahead instead of being constrained to a certain path. Therefore, at the moment, I do not put too much weights on salary and the like, and instead, I put more weight on whether I have the freedom and opportunities to grow to the heights I hope to reach. I also like it more when companies accept my applications for my experience and knowledge, instead of certifications, qualifications, or school names (this is common in Japan. You can apply for an developing job at an IT software even without any prior experiences or knowledge to actual application development.). As such, I found the job of a graphic designer more suitable to what I want to do. Also, I believe the market for graphic designer is wider in Japan compared to that of engineer. There are thousands, perhaps hundred of thousand students graduating from the engineering department each year while there are only a small fraction of students graduating from design or art schools.

As for your advice on the presentation of the designs, I’ve also noticed that I’m making very heavy usage of mockups and have proceeded to try and reduce the number of mockups per project as seen in the latest project. I will try my best to simplify it! Truly thank you for your kind advice.

Also, I’m very happy to hear that I was, to some extent, able to exceed your expectation for a self-taught student. As stated before, I’m a self-taught designer and am currently living in an environment where I couldn’t correctly identify where my skills are standing and on what I could improve as there are no other peers I could find. I can only compare my works to works published on platforms such as Dribbble or Behance, however, some of the works are actually designed by professional agencies, making it very hard for me to get a more accurate grasp. As a result, I would be more than happy if I could identify correctly my weaknesses and strengths to improve myself, not only for job hunting but also for the longer run.

Again, thank you for your kind advice and efforts.

I think you can add more details, It’s incomplete in my opinion. You should add your work experience too!

Thank you for having a look through my portfolio.

May I ask in particular, what details do you think are missing?

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