Hi and welcome.
Thank you for your comprehensive post. I had a look through your letter and portfolio and the first thing that stuck me was that you said you had a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. Now this could be a UK / US thing, but this side of the pond, it would be just a Bachelor of Arts (with or without honours status). I also didn’t recognise the name of your university. I am assuming this is a private institute? Anyway, no matter. I am basing my comments as if I had received your letter and CV (resumé) as a potential employer. The first thing I would be doing is sifting through for any alarm bells. As I say, this could be a UK vs. US thing, but that made me sit up a little. Nothing huge, just one of this little things. and nothing you can do anything about. Let’s put it down to me being a Limey pedant.
Right, on to the work itself. Remember what I say is intended to be constructive, rather than damning or negative. My first impression was that it all looked a bit formulaic and ‘jobbing’. Nothing felt particularly tailored to the personality client. It all had a bit of a ‘direct marketing’ feel.
I would suggest putting some more time into understanding typography and hierarchy, kerning, etc – along with white space. In many of the pieces, there is little focus and the eye jumps all over the place. It is your job to guide the reader through the information, not just throw it all at them in one go.
Don’t get me wrong, I have seen a lot, lot worse. It is all passable. However, in a way, that is its problem. It’s passable (in both senses of the word) and not particularly memorable. There are a couple of nice bits, but your portfolio has to make you stand out from the crowd. You need to showcase your strengths.
Most of your logos don’t really work on either a practical or an aesthetic level. Practically, many have too many fine lines which would begin to disappear on smaller sizes. Some are bordering on illegible, such as the Worldwide properties one.
The more successful ones are things like the Concept one is cleaner (if a little uninspiring) and the Astondoa one. This second one is typographically a little better than some of the others (though kerning needs attention), but it feels like you just haven’t gone far enough and just slapped two As together, then stopped (works better in the flat colour than the embossed, shiny version). With a bit more work, this one could be made to look beautiful and elegant, hint at the the bow of a yacht more and have the feel of luxury which you need to appeal to people shelling out a few mill on toys. Currently that Double-A icon just looks awkward. Just feels like with all of them you haven’t gone the extra mile.
As a potential employer that would be one of those big alarm bells for me. OK and competent would not cut it. I want someone who’s work displays enough passion to push an idea through and turn OK into inspiring.
Currently it looks all a bit middle-weight, rather than senior designer level.
Again, I am not trying to be cruel or hurtful. Just honest (if a little brutal). I nearly didn’t respond at all (‘I really wish you hadn’t!’), as I knew if I did and were to be truthful (well, my version of it), you might not like what I had to say. For what it’s worth, I would never have spent the time to respond at this length for one of the legion of ‘I wanna be a designer ’cos its cool’ brigade. No point. Personally, I think you need more experience in different areas before going for senior roles. How many years’ experience do you have? You mentioned that perhaps your portfolio doesn’t reflect the diversity of your experience. Why not? It should.
The competition is tough out there. My advice would be study typography more. Learn from the best of the best. These days all the information you need is out there. That is the big differentiator. When I see a portfolio if someone who really ‘gets’ type and someone who can place it on a page, the difference is immense.
Good luck. Hope this helps.