Portfolio Critique!


I am a recent design graduate looking for my first full-time job! Currently aiming for junior graphic design positions at more prominent international branding/advertising agencies. Looking for some critique to push it further :slight_smile: Some of the details in my designs are censored for privacy! Link below

Portfolio here: /tinyurl.com/4a4tynec

remove the slash before tinyurl!

I couldn’t get it to load, waited 15 minutes and it was still loading. Either the server is very bogged down or your files are so large that it takes a very long time to load.

Here are my thoughts.

The title slide and closing slide, at least in my opinion, does not give off a professional vibe. They look like you were just playing around with Illustrator’s gradients and blending modes and decided to go with it. Also, I am assuming the title slide and closing side are generic because you’re posting it on the forum. Otherwise, there is nothing there to identify who you are, where you are, what your goal is (looking for a job, looking for freelance work, looking for client work), and how to reach you.

Eggsalt Flour … this is tough, and I’ve been going back and forth on what to say about this. I feel like you’re on the cusp of having something really nice but the presentation is getting in the way. On page 2, the background photos and nice looking images, and I’ve used background images myself when presenting work, but I feel like they are distracting from the logo. What if you put a layer of black over the photos and set the opacity back to 75%? You’d still see the photos and get the vibe, but they’d be much less distracting. Page 3, just seems a little random. Is it a title slide? Is this part of the portfolio? On the envelope and letterhead page, the “letterhead” title is running way to close to the address on the envelope. Why are the eggs and salt so crisp and without texture here? This creates a disconnect from the other pieces. The packaging slide is nice. I really don’t have a problem there. On the print advertising, I feel like it needs the logo. It doesn’t have to be screaming big, maybe just as a signature on the bottom. Also on the ads, I would have liked to see the egg/salt/flour be varied from ad to ad. Right now, the three ads look a little static. On the social media, I feel like it’s visually appealing but it misses the mark on marketing. For example, on the Grand Opening and Honest & Ethical images, there is no clue what they’re for or who the company is. I like the logo you created, and I feel like the germ for a nice project is there, but it could be a home run if you put some more work into it.

Somewhat similar with uoi. It’s visually appealing. You show some nice type and color theory, but it fails to communicate. This could be a language or cultural thing. On the out-of-home ad, my eye is drawn to the yubari king melon. That’s the first thing I read. If I am walking by this in the real world, and I going to stop and do the work of figuring out why you’re talking about a melon, why I should care, who the ad is for, and then how to act upon the information? Probably not. Again, it’s visually appealing and I think you have a good eye, but it is lacking in the real-world selling department.

I’m sort of lukewarm at best on the typography posters, but I think the vector illustration work is nice.

I have to say this, I have not looked at a lot of portfolios of recent grads recently. Maybe what you are showing is par for the course (in terms of the work feeling a bit experimental and theoretical). Again, I think you have a good eye and show potential, but the projects and presentation needs some work before I’m going to say I’d hire you. The good news is that with the right work, you could have a much stronger presentation.

I hope this helps. It was meant to.

1 Like

This helps a lot! Most of what you said is spot on. I finished these projects a few years back, when I was still a junior in university so the conceptual basis behind the project was weak. I only spruced it up and corrected the visuals for portfolio purposes so your critique on its marketing/concept is valid.

Will definitely work on the first project, since it seems like it has potential! In addition, I think I will possibly create one more project just so I have a project with stronger conceptual thinking behind me. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Picking up on what @Steve_O wrote, I like the overall look. However, the work focuses almost exclusively on aesthetics rather than the aesthetics being subordinate to and in support of whatever marketing goals the work might have been intended to achieve.

In other words, it looks like excellent student work that shows much potential if nurtured and mentored in the right environment by more senior designers.

However, you’ve already told us this is pretty much the case. I’d be very interested in seeing your recent work and how far you’ve come since your university days.

The work is obviously very Asian, with lots of colorful Japanese influence blended with the Swiss/International Style — sort of a Singapore style, I suppose. Perhaps I’m a little biased because I’ve always loved this kind of look, which isn’t especially common here in the United States.

However, my pickiness spotted a few things that I imediately noticed. For example, on the first page (the cover page), the t in Portfolio lets a tiny sliver of the pink background show on the left side of the letter. Similarly, the f is mispositioned slightly to the right, slipping ever-so-slightly into the green. On page 2, you didn’t capitalize the first letter in the first paragraph. There are other similar styles, punctuation, and capitalization errors throughout most of the text on several pages. Designers aren’t copy editors, but in a personal portfolio, good creative and art directors will notice these things.

Finally, the PDF file is unnecessarily large. It weighs in at over 28 megabytes. The PDF would take forever to load over slower internet connections and exceed many email limits. If it were me, I’d downsample it in Acrobat to a third of that size or less. I’m reasonably certain that doing this would produce almost no noticeable loss of image quality.

By the way, welcome to the forum. I’m glad you found us, and I hope you stick around. I’ve also increased your posting privileges by a notch, which enables you to post hypertext links.

Just tagging you in this new update, B! :slight_smile:

I don’t see a link to the revised portfolio.

Ah, i was reuploading the pdf, so I edited my comment to remove the link for the time being

Hey Steve and B,

When I posted on this forum, I had just put together my portfolio. Your comments were immensely useful and they pushed me to think more about what I want to show in my portfolio. I totally reworked it, and I hope I addressed the things that you all pointed out!

For me, I decided to devote more time to developing an entirely new project that focuses more on strategy and concept. For my old projects, I decided not to revisit them, but to write more of my thinking and process that I documented in my initial design process. Hopefully, it will give more context to my aesthetic decisions! Finally, I added my final year BA project which was less of a portfolio piece and more of a showcase of who I am as a person who loves design. This is just to add a lil bit of me into my portfolio :slight_smile:

Here is the new portfolio: PDF Host - Edit

Give me your comments! :partying_face: Much appreciated! :slight_smile:

I am pretty jammed today, but I will take a look and offer feedback.

Good job making significant improvements to your portfolio. I’d only offer a few comments.

On slides 10, 11, and 12 the capitalization seems odd. It seems like it should be “Growing Together, For Each Other” or “Growing together, for each other.” Either way, having “Together” capitalized and “each other” lower case seems off to my eye.

I really like your illustrations on pages 38, 39, and 40. The illustrations on 41 and 42 don’t resonate as much with me. That could be a cultural issue. So I will trust you that they should be there.

On slide 43, putting a question mark after “CONNECT WITH ME?” seems wishy-washy. I think you could take it off. Or maybe change the headline altogether to something like “LET’S CONNECT!”

Again, good job on the changes.

I’m curious about why you’re relying on a PDF for your portfolio. Do you also have a website?

I could be mistaken, but the large typography makes me think you optimized the layout for smartphones. If so, the large file size, 41.6 megabytes, is way too large. For that matter, 41.6 megabytes is too large in any case. As I mentioned in my first message, you could easily squeeze the size down by half with Adobe Acrobat with no readily perceptible loss of quality.

I like the boldness of the layout, but I also liked your first version. I like the ultra-compressed typeface you’ve chosen for the big headlines. Still, I’m less impressed by the typeface used for your body copy — it’s too average, as in a less-than-inspired Helvetica or Arial copy.

I love the calendars!

Is the inconsistent second-line spacing of the large headlines intentional? The inconsistency strikes me as a mistake.

Thanks for taking a look at my portfolio, Steve! Though you mentioned that your time was short, I appreciated that you gave me a bit of it to look at what I have. Will totally take you up on all of your suggestions, I think they make sense! :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hey B, thanks for taking a second look at what I have! I chose a PDF portfolio just cause I wanted to have a document handy to email over to people and also cause I haven’t had time to do up a portfolio site that I like. Noted on the Adobe PDF size, will definitely reduce the size of it when I send it out.

The spacing of the large headlines was intentional, wanted to have a bit of variation in the layouts but I guess it doesn’t add much. I will change it and keep it standardised/flushed left.

For the body copy, I will probably consider changing it! I was using basier circle from https://www.atipofoundry.com, one of my fav foundries for affordable and usable typefaces. A lovely foundry with some of my fav display types. :slight_smile:

Thanks so much for taking the time to look at my work! Made me feel much better, to get second opinions on what I have! Cheers! :slight_smile: