After the last thread I posted on Core77 I figured it would be a prudent to give my portfolio a refresh. My 2015 version was actually started at the back end of 2014 after completing an internship and looking for a full-time job. Not only does the layout now feel a little dated, I have projects in there which were my “crowning” moments but I have now completed more work professionally that means these do not need to take such a prominent place. Also, even though it’s only been 18 months or so I feel I am in a far more mature and competent place than I was back then.
The trouble I’m having at the moment is showcasing an interesting project I worked on which I would like to talk about and don’t quite know how to tell a decent story.
I joined a small 5 person consultancy as a freelance designer mid-way through quite a large project. I was there for five months and it was a great experience, the studio definitely punched above its weight with the kind of clients we worked with and the output that is delivered. I think being on the ground there for such a short period was more hands on and beneficial than if I’d have spent a year or two in a much larger firm. Until I left for what seemed like better prospects and a more secure paycheck.
This particular project had quite a few phases and the client basically paid us to innovate and conceptualize various versions of what they make, MFP printers. When I started working on this particular phase all of the research and ideation had already been completed by the team and my task was to take the rough design language of two printers and finesse them whilst creating CAD with the correct proportions which I’d then render. My CAD data was also used by a model maker to construct full scale foam mock ups that were presented to the client.
So in terms of visuals for this project I have the renderings and pictures of the models but there isn’t much of a beginning to the design journey because the reality is it wasn’t my work. However, it was no easy task to turn the ideas from the team in to some form of reality but I just don’t know how to visually showcase this.
I know what I would like to say in an interview but it is how I translate this on a page. The trouble I have had with previous portfolios is that each project tells the same story so for this one I want it to be more about my adaptability and how I can easily fit in to a team during crunch time. There has been plenty of threads I’ve read here about people looking for a job and the response being “I’m looking for the skills but also looking for can I work with this guy at midnight the evening before deadline day” and I think this project helps show the latter part of why I’d be an asset.
The reason I bring this up is because I don’t want an interviewer to dismiss the project when they find out it wasn’t my initial design language. There are two projects in my portfolio from an internship that the end in context renderings were not done by me and done by a team of photo retouchers and photographers at the company. I do showcase my rendering skills in other projects but I have felt like once it becomes apparent this element was done by colleagues it taints the process rather than showcasing I have the ability to work cohesively on something creative with others.
I was reading the Shoapbox thread and this point from sketchstone is ringing quite true at the moment:
Here is 2015s version for those that are interested: Behance
Your portfolio is looking really strong. Nice work!
As for the printer, just tell the story honestly and simply. Put on the first slide that you were given the results of the first phases and asked to combine the research with the language. In reality this happens all the time. Not all projects have the same process. You want to point to what you did on the project.
I just took a quick peek at it and overall it looks great. Two quick comments:
It looks like your table of contents has links, because clicking on different sections takes you different places, but they don’t seem to be linking to the projects.
For the popper and the camera you show foam models, but some of them almost look like renders of foam models. Is that just the way they photograph or are some renders? If there are renders I don’t like the confusion. If they are foam models, did you CNC them? They look really precise.
I generally agree with Yo on the printers. Just be very upfront about the division of work, then include whatever imagery you can that explains what you did.
I’m not quite sure what you mean here as the current link is just my portfolio uploaded as a Behance project so there is no click through links so just keep scrolling down as if I’d emailed you it as a PDF
Yup renders and you will be happy to hear they didn’t make the cut in my updated folio. This was me thinking I was somehow being smart as for these projects I’d been developing my Solidworks skills but didn’t quite know how to show my iterations on a page so stuipidly thought if I made them look like models it would be like I was “digitally prototyping”.
As I said originally that these will be projects now taking a backseat due to better professional work (and stuff going in to production) so those faux foam models are no longer needed to highlight those projects
You’re both right about the printer, I’ve just been over thinking it… The reason being is the problem I found with this portfolio was that it opened doors and got me noticed which was good but it never seemed to tip me over the edge for someone to make me an offer. Now I know there is a lot of factors in making a hire but this next time around I just don’t want there to be any issues with my work that let’s me down and I can focus more on my interview technique. Previously I interviewed at some great places so it would be good to show a real progression if I were to contact those same people again.
I also know my sketching will be my biggest downfall but other than that I want to showcase a very strong body of work for my experience level.
Personally I think it’s a too long, maybe at some point whoever is looking at it would scroll down faster. I guess you will be sending over a shorter PDF version when you start applying.
There are 2 things I believe would help making the projects more eye catchy:
Refined 2D renderings (e.g. page 8, Popper sketches). It shouldn’t take too long to improve the reflections, highlights and shadows.
Improved renderings (Harley camera and Walkman), show the display on with a menu, write the typical lens info and show the lens reflection. You can easily find these details on google and PS them on, it really improves the overall outcome.
I’d just show the input they gave you (if this is possible) and then show the final result explaining what was your role on the development. From the original sketch to the final product there is a lot of work, including design refinement, design for manufacturing, CMF definition, prototyping, etc.