My Portfolio Website Review

I am brand new here and I looked very hard to find a place that I can find feedback from on my design website. I’ve been a designer for a few years now and been applying for designer jobs but never seem to make the cut for an interview. I’m really at a loss on what I need to do and haven’t been able to find someone to give me honest feedback. At times I just want to give up because I feel I’m not going anywhere but being that I have a learning disability it’s really difficult for me to learn new things. So hopefully some people can offer me some tips on how to make my site better. I appreciate honesty but as with many creative individuals my skin is still not thick as it should be. Any way my website is MrJoeMinnich.com Thank you in advance for any feedback to help me develop as a designer.

Hi Joe

I will start by saying, I have just spent a fair bit of time going through your site and resume, etc. I say that just so you know I am not being off-hand or flippant in what I am about to say.

Grab a coffee, put your feet up, we’re in for a long one…!

That said, I am afraid you probably won’t like what I am about to say though, but given that you asked for honest criticism, please take this in the objective way it is intended. The last thing I want to do it be hurtful for the sake of it. So, here goes – and apologies in advance.

When I first saw your site, my initial impressions were that it was the work of a school-leaver who wants, one day, to be a graphic designer – certainly not the work of someone who has been through a formal design education system of any kind. Hence, I did a little investigating and looked into the college you obtained your qualification from. I can see exactly where your aesthetic sensibilities come from with regards web design and layout. I am more than mildly irked that some educational establishments can turn out purportedly ‘qualified’ graduates. They are quick to take their money, but don’t necessarily furnish them with the knowledge or skills they expect.

Again, please know I am not trying to be hurtful or destructive here. I only want to try and help you not come up against the same brick wall you evidently seem to keep hitting at the moment.

The deeper I looked into your site, the more I realised that you haven’t even been taught what your role as a designer is. Even without looking at a single piece of work, the first line of your resume exposes this. Your role as a designer is not to help companies achieve their design and creative goals. It is fundamentally to problem-solve and visually communicate their intended message to their intended audience, whatever that may be. You are a conduit. It is your job, through knowledge and experience and critical thinking, to visually interpret somebody else’s thoughts and ideas in a way that tells the story in the right way in order to evoke and/or invoke the intended physical and emotional responses.

Of course, at your stage of the game, you can’t possibly be expected to have the experience to be able do this, which is why you need a job in order to obtain the requisite experience. Catch 22. However, a prospective employer needs to see that you have some knowledge in order to nurture it and help you grow into a credible designer. Spoiler; it takes years.

In addition, your education seems not to have taught you the first thing about typography, hierarchy, legibility, readability, in fact any of the rudimentary principles of visual communication you need. Well, either they didn’t teach it to you, or you didn’t listen! :wink:

So, to the work itself. It looks as though it is more about you than it is about potential clients. It appears to be a bit of a self-indulgent scrapbook of personal work, in which you have learned some techniques and used them to excess,

I’d say you don’t have a natural ability to use type. However, if it helps, I didn’t for some years and I was taught by people who really knew what they were taking about. Because I had the solid grounding, one day, a few years later, something just clicked and I am now an utter, self-confessed type-geek!

I think what I am saying is that if you have an innate ability, it helps, but if there is something there, it can be taught. I think, sadly for you, it doesn’t appear to have been.

Please don’t be too disheartened by ll this. I think there is hope, but you have quite a long way to go. Ideally, what I would suggest, but I am sure it is not going to be feasible, is apply to a reputable state college, not a privately run, for profit, one. At very least that process will help you see whether a particular path is for you and if not, what path you want to, or should, take.

In the meantime (or alternatively, if a good education is beyond the purse strings), you have an opportunity, like never before in history, to learn from the best without ever leaving your chair. Research good design. Follow the best of the best. See what is regarded as the very best of successful design.

What area would you like to work in? What fires you up? This is not clear from your website, as it is so disjointed and without focus. You need to demonstrate to prospective employees and mentors what your skills and passions are – and by the way, I would avoid using phrases like, ‘I have outstanding skills in…’ Makes you look over confident, unless your work really backs this up.

I’d say, keep learning and don’t give up hope, though hope alone is not enough. You will have to work ridiculously hard as there is very stiff competition out there.

Learn, learn, learn.

This is an opening gambit. Take from this and come back with more questions. Ask for specific critiques on work. There are enough of us here who have been around the block a few times and have been doing this in all sorts of disciplines, who will usually take the time to help out.

This is just the start of the process to get you out on the open road.

And remember, this reply is just my take, based on my experience. I am sure others will throw into the pot, based on theirs. I am always learning new stuff based on other people’s journeys down the same road. That’s the beauty of this place. Stick around.

1 Like

Excellent feedback from sprout. Joe, I hope you take it to heart.

Thank you so much for your lengthy input. I wanted to respond to let you know I appreciate you taking the time to look it over my site. I’m going to take a few days to process this and think of some questions to come back with to help me grow first.

Thanks for that. Glad to see you aren’t so dejected by it all that you simply walked away and sat in a corner with a bottle of Jack Daniels. As I said in my original post, it was all meant objectively and constructively. You have ability. I just feel you have been led the wrong way, or rather, given very little guidance at all. Don’t give up. Just make sure you are paddling in the right direction and eventually you’ll get where you want to be.

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