Please review my portfolio and be honest!

Hey guys I have my current portfolio here:

My WIP website is here:

Please note:
John Black is my “artist name”
KREDO is the “One man Agency” I am running. (Fake it, till you make it they said…)

I am working on both sites, just haven’t had much free time with my day job… Thanks in advance, be frank and raw, I can take it!

I like what I see, but I wish there was more so it was easier to get a grasp of your style and ambitions. It’s not clear what type of business would be an obvious match for your style.

IMO, the Moodboards and Appreciations are a distraction. There’s a lot of content there, and not so much in the portfolio. The portfolio is thin, and 2 of the projects are for the same client. In the bio it says you’ve worked with clients like Nintendo, Sony, MTV, Microsoft. Where’s that work? If you say things like that without visually backing it up, it looks amateurish.

Lack of a brand can be a brand. You want to do brand work, but you have a weak identity for yourself, and that’s going to cause potential clients to question your judgement, experience and commitment. That’s a deep hole to climb out of.

I’m a one-person op too. I look at it this way. My first job, the most important job, is to take care of marketing, sales and customer service. If I do that, then maybe I get to make some money doing graphic design. But the first three things are the real job.


Need to delete this - too early and not enough coffee.

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I may be jumping the gun here.
I do see that it is credited to Leo.

I am just asking what’s real and what’s not on the portfolio.

Are they all real clients - that way we can actually critique the work.

The only work I can find is the Savon Bartley one - and I can’t find any info about who or when it was created. doesn’t exist - according to the internet.

The portfolio looks genuinely sparse.
I cannot find any info on most of the work portrayed.

I can only assume it’s speculative.

As you say - fake it til you make it.

Sorry I haven’t been terribly helpful this morning.

Hey Mojo, ok so changelist so far:

• Removed all the Moodboards
• Cannot change Appreciations thats the “like” system of behance

Notes so far:
I removed a lot of what I had posted before as I am in the course of recreating those case studies. The biggest problem I have is I don’t know who my ideal client is, I have been struggling to figure out what I would be good at doing, I don’t have any formal training other than self lessons and some shitty online college I graduated from. So its hard for me to imagine being: “A gaming platform ID designer” or a “grafitti logo specialist”

I don’t really know how to niche down as I am more a jack of trades kind of person. Basically I want to make brand identities for people with money to pay. Makes for a poor branding I know…

Will update you on here as soon as I update the portfolio thanks so far!

I make spec work to show what I can do as per advice that its the only way to get better clients to see what you can do. I have not had the opportunity to work with these decent types of clients that see the value in branding.

If I should you all my actual work it would look like a pile of asses and its completely without reason or leadership outside of menus with overcrowded images and line items and crappy logos as that is what people have paid for. I made a hand drawn mascot the other day with an entire branding project to match, I mean menu, video for their screens in the restaurant, signage and business cards.

They cancelled the order and said they were happy with their Microsoft Paint logo and random colors. Thats why I originally posted here looking for advice, my current clients locally are bottom of the barrel.

Got it, need to show more data like who its for and time completed. Will note this

I respect that

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Are you sure about that?

One thing I noticed about your work is its focused personality. I don’t want to mischaracterize it, but to me, the work is gritty, earthy, urban, tough, and consistent with a hip-hop sort of look.

You might disagree with that characterization and define it differently. However, my point is that the style of your work has a niche flavor that can work to your advantage assuming there’s good-paying work to be found in that niche. However, if you’re aiming for something broader, you’ll need a style that matches up with the needs of the types of clients you’re trying to land.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s much there to admire in your work, and you obviously have talent. I’m just saying that it seems you’ve already decided on the audience you’re going after — whether intentionally or unintentionally.

One thing I noticed about your work is its focused personality. I don’t want to mischaracterize it, but to me, the work is gritty, earthy, urban, tough, and consistent with a hip-hop sort of look.

It makes me emotional to even read some of these comments I thank God I found this place, you all have been absolutely inspiring. Seriously this is the community I have been seeking for most of my adult life.

So lets talk real talk… Why you notice this niche in my work is because I grew up in the project buildings of New York City. I grew up around Hip hop culture, the music the 80’s were the pinnacle of it and I was there learning to walk as dancers spun on cardboards and played their boomboxes loudly.

The reason my passion is design, is because I grew up loving graffiti culture, in its raw artistic forms. The train stations and busways were mixed between the dripping paint of the lost child and Helvetica’s beautiful clean cut forms dancing together on signs and walls. That is why that is my favorite font as well. It showed discipline amongst chaos. 2 opposing forces in typographic war for viewer space.

I am a child of the streets whom turned it all around, from chaos and gangs, guns and drugs all around me, to moving to Miami Florida and trying my hand at my hobby. I never got a shot to go to a real school or work at a real agency, but it didn’t stop me from trying to learn and find clients.

I will follow your mentorship and double down on what is obviously (To you) my niche. God bless you for that insight!

Ok I removed the dual SB profile post and made a new one with all the content within it. Thank you for the advice.

Just finished posting a real client i was sitting on, I am trying to bang out as many as possible today. Stay tunded:

You’re trying to bang out as many what today? Just curious in what area you’re shooting for quantity over quality.

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Okay, I just took a look at your portfolio. Turns out my previous smart a#$ comment was perhaps a little more accurate than I anticipated. You show some promise, but I get the distinct feeling that you’re so enamored with making mockups and presentations that you’re rushing through the real work. You need to slow down. Work on the basics of good, solid design. A great design shouldn’t depend on mockups to prop it up.

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I like the jiu-jitsu mark. Not only does it use the AON initials, but it also looks vaguely East Asian and, better still, the intertwined glyphs are indicative of the grappling techniques used in jiu-jitsu. Nice — three separate ideas visually working together as a single, visually unified mark.

It’s not bad. There’s the mat element with the diamond shape, there’s the letters intertwining… It works but I think it could use even further refinement.

The Gi, not sure if you’re aware, this is usually made of a very thick material. Due to the constant grabbing, throwing, pulling etc, it stops wear and tear.

As such, they aren’t really printed on, they can be of course, but I don’t think you could get that pattern on the legs easily or cheaply.

It’s a nice idea. But generally you buy from a supplier whether it’s black, white, blue, red etc.

The best I had personally was a green and white striped bottoms that the club found in a catalog.

But to actually get a woven, stitched or printed logo wrapped around the bottoms, mega money, and mega complicated.

Now it’s a few years since I’ve done any of this so things probably are different now.

But back then I was the printer, embroider, designer and the client.

You have to be careful supplying mockups that the design can be achieved.

I can’t tell you how many times we got mock-up and ideas thrown at us and in the real world it’s impossible to produce.

Other than that, it’s neat, effective and well presented.

I would tone down the amount of logo iterations, show 3 that are close to each other and one of them the final.

People don’t want the process, they want the finish.

Next time maybe ask whoever it is you’re doing the work with for the printer’s contact details. Talking to the printer’s could eliminate any great designs you might dream of, but focused on the things that are possible.

Run the designs by them to ensure what you propose is doable.

Besides, in jiu jitsu competitions they might be restricted to a traditional gi that is just plain. Or in sports jiu jitsu they might be allowed something a bit more stylish.

I will say, I once have printed a full color logo on the back of a GI, it turned out really nice. It was done with flock release barrier screen printing. But these need to be ironed on, and you can’t go around folds or over stitching.

You could get custom made, but the order volume would be huge.

I just hope that what you propose is doable for the client.

Again, I could be wrong. It’s over twenty years since I did embroidery and screen printing. And at least 10 years since I set foot in a dojo.

Steve, I currently have 5 case studies up on the behance as of last night. 2 clothing lines in the middle of being worked on, whose models are mocked because their respective owners haven’t launched yet.

1 case study is a Winery that closed permantly due to covid losses and stopped mid project.

1 case study is the AON which actually has no mockups those are real pictures of the place and GI, (thats one of the owners shooting).

1 case is of an artist whom has been slowly launching his branding online but aside from the models, eveything is actual social media posts templates I created for him.

So when I say “bang out” I mean I have very little free time with 2 jobs other than design and have to put out what I can quickly. I don’t make much with design so I have to do what I can… :nerd_face:

Right on the money, “be relevant, but not obvious”
-Sagi Haviv

Damn Smurf, super in depth experience in the game if you know that much about GI’s, yeah in the case study, it shows a man wearing the real GI it was dumbed down a lot from the original precicely because of that.

I nornally use 4over for my printing as they do quality work for less than Miami prices, and Miami (Designers, printers, etc.) vendors are absolute trash. They are always late, we need to reprint 90% of the time due to errors, and the clothing comes out low quality.

I literally bought a cricut and a heat press to do some smaller runs with vinyl and screen print transfers. 4over doesn’t focus on clothing.

That mockup was a 3d model I wrapped and was super proud as I don’t know diddly about 3d work yet lol. Had to show it off.

But I will listen to your advice. Maybe I can make 1 out of 3 iterations larger and the other 2 greyed out so it shows which was chosen? Brainstorming here.

Lastly the mark on AON was affected by the client. As always they make choices that can water down your final design. They are paying after all…