Portfolio Critique

Hello to All, Thank you for taking the time to review my portfolio. I am looking for a job as a Senior Graphic Designer. I submitted quite amount of resumes and so far only gotten one interview. My background includes corporate, agency and freelance graphic design experience, with a history of leading print and digital design projects to acclaimed completion.

I have worked on nationwide and international marketing, advertising and image campaigns for global brands and companies across many industries, as well as a host of startup and mid-size businesses. Including: Healthcare, Real Estate, Retail, Education, Editorial, Luxury, Arts and Culture, Hospitality and Entertainment.

Furthermore, my expert knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite, HTML Email Marketing, and CSS will allow me to play a crucial role in the implementation of your design initiatives.

Highlights of my skills includes:

  • A Bachelor of Fine Arts Graphic Design Degree from the Art Institute.

  • Proficiency in Adobe Suite, CSS, WordPress, SiteCore CMS.

  • HTML Email Marketing (MailChimp and Campaign Logic Software).

  • Strong communication, conceptual thinking, and typography skills.

  • Experience designing for print, digital, web and social media campgains.

perhaps my resume versus my portfolio are not portraying the many different jobs I have worked in past jobs. Thank you all for taking the time to review my portfolio. I am attaching a cover letter template I have created, you will find my portfolio links. Thanks

MODERATOR NOTE — I’ve added a direct link to your portfolio below. You’ll likely get better feedback than a link hidden away in a PDF. By the way, welcome to the forum. :grinning:

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.

1 Like

I think @sprout brought up a lot of good points.

The one thing I’d add is that your website is potentially misleading. Your home / projects page shows a bunch of logos. The reasonable impression that one would have is that you designed all of those logos. Upon closer examination, it appears those are the logos of your clients that you may or may not have designed.

For example, when I click on Worldwide Properties, it pulls up a page reading “email marketing campaign” and shows screen shots of the campaign. Based on the home page alone, I’d assume you designed the logo. Based on the individual page for Worldwide, it doesn’t appear that you did.

Did you or did you not design the Worldwide logo? This same question would apply to all of the other logos shown on the projects page. I have no problem with you showing an email campaign for Worldwide that includes their logo — whether or not you designed the logo. But as it stands now, it appears that you designed all of the logos, which I don’t think is the case.

Hi, thank you for the feedback. I did not designed the logo for Worldwide nor for other companies. I worked on marketing collateral, including digital and print. I will re organize the website differently. Thank you.

Hello @Sprout, thank you so much for talking the time to review my portfolio. Most of all the pieces showing in my portfolio have been template guideline marketing collateral used by the companies I had worked for. My job it’s been to update, tweak, modify and make it work for the client needs.
About the BFA in Graphic Design, yes this how in USA it’s name, the school, yes it’s private. Thank you for reviewing. I will revisit and redo my portfolio. You@sprout and Steve_o had giving me helpful comments. Nothing to take personal in a negative way. Very constructive. Thank you.

In which case, you need to put work in your portfolio (even some good personal projects are OK – though not too many) that really showcases the best of what you can do. If you are putting in just template, jobbing work, that’s the kind of work you’ll get. However, if that is all you have been doing to date, then, I go back to my earlier comment about you perhaps not being ready for a senior design role just yet. You need a wide gamut if experience, because, as a senior designer working in a good, fast-paced studio, you never know what will be thrown at you from one day to the next.

How many years of experience do you have so far?

Good Morning @sprout. I got to put up more graphics samples that I have worked for my freelance clients. I graduated 2004, I have been working at corporate level, in-house marketing department, variety of industries. At the moment I work at an advertising agency. I am a hybrid, between working on production and yes… we go to do a lot of different jobs. Thank you for replying back, appreciated.

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