Design Engineer Folio..... help please!


I’m a Product Design Engineer, and I made a short ‘teaser’ portfolio to send out to companies to show some examples of my work, and my breadth and experience.

I really need some feedback. My friends are all being way too nice and I’m not really getting anything constructive from them… so please let me know what you think… even if it’s something small (layout, font, images)…

I am not a ‘Designer’… my sketching is really basic, and whilst I love designing things, I have the most fun working with product development, working to make ideas real, geeking out about the technical things (that’s why I spent so long getting a masters in engineering)… but I’m particularly worried that this doesn’t come across. I got a reply from a big design consultancy saying they thought I was a frustrated designer in an engineer’s body, and they said I should show more ‘engineering evidence’… but product development is so hard to represent visually so I would also love to hear your ideas on how I could show more engineering evidence.

Thanks so much for your help, and your time…

I’ve always wondered what engineers show when getting a job, and had the impression that for many engineers there wasn’t really a portfolio, so it’s interesting to see what you have here.

As a disclaimer I am not a manager who has hired someone like you or a fellow design engineer (though I often pretend to be), so I can’t talk from experience with design engineer portfolios. However, my first impression is that it looks very similar to an ID portfolio, and I don’t know readily know whether the fleshed out version of these projects (in a non-tease portfolio) is going be full of ID content or engineering content. Part of this comes from the overall graphic design, which is more of a design aesthetic than an engineering one, but I wouldn’t change that much. It’s really the content. I see more shots of finished products and closeups showing off how pretty things are than I do engineering looking things like charts, diagrams, calculations and FEAs. And the text often talks about aesthetics or functions or user interaction, all of which are more generally associated with ID than engineering. I know engineers think about function and user interaction too, and a design engineer doesn’t often, if ever, break out into calculus, but on the whole the content that you’ve picked for the tease is more associated with ID than engineering. I think you want to show you are an excellent engineer who can talk the language of ID and even do it in a pinch, but instead it comes across a little like you’re somewhere in between the two worlds lacking a core competency.

A few specifics: You start off with an ID project. This page itself might be fine, but don’t put it first. Better to surprise them later with design abilities than confuse them because they thought you were an engineer but are clearly seeing ID.

I’m not sure the full page triumph motorcycle page does much for you that can’t be put in a resume, so I’m not sure it’s necessary in its current incarnation. Looks like an ad.

The Jux Lamp looks like an ID project and has text like an ID project. if you engineered it, have maybe one money shot and the rest demonstrating the engineering work you did. Make up a graphic if your engineering work was never manifested into a graphic during the project.

The biogas plant looks like it could be a concept from an industrial designer. If you really made it work, emphasize that. And the diagram is friendly and accessible, but does not demonstrate deep knowledge. This diagram may be appropriate in other contexts, but I’d make another that demonstrates solid, deep, technical knowledge of the process and doesn’t look like a loose concept.

The city bags looks like a good project, but again there isn’t anything that waves a flag and says you’re an engineer. Even just an exploded view from CAD might say that you know how it was constructed.

Overall, don’t be afraid to get geeky, even if it makes the portfolio a little less pretty and eye-catching (in the typical sense, like an advertisement). And this is just my lowly opinion (again, I’ve never been on the hiring side of the table), but it’d be better for a manager to think “this engineering diagram is over my head, I’d better make sure I have a good engineer in on the interview” than “half of my ID staff has enough technical ability to do this, did she really need a masters in engineering?”

I really like your Portfolio, but I’ve never seen an Engineering Designer’s portfolio…

But I have a quick question,
What did you think of Umea? Would it be easy for a non-Swedish-speaking person to go there?

A huge thanks to anyone who took a look at my portfolio… it has already been reincarnated, and hopefully improved, so fingers crossed that version 2 lands me a shiney new job.
(Thanks again for all your time and the very helpful and comprehensive feedback seurban… I hope you got my pm of thanks!)

Harkaan… Umea was awesome! Seriously, one of the best decisions I ever made. The school is mostly international students, and everyone there speaks english… in fact, almost everyone in Sweden speaks english! The language barrier really is not an issue. It’s a lot of fun because the school is quite small (a little over 100 students) and everyone pretty much lives there (yes, you will work crazily long hours, like most design schools) so it becomes like one massive family. Umea itself is a pretty small university town in the middle of nowhere in northern Sweden and a lot of the time it can feel like nothing ever happens there (which can be welcome when you’re working so hard) but expect long snowy winters and incredibly beautiful natural surroundings most of the year. The best thing by a long way is the people though… you’ll be surrounded by fun, talented people who you can learn a lot from, and no doubt make some awesome friends.

If you want to know more, I can put you in touch with someone from the program you’re interested in, or I can answer most questions you have, just drop me a message… and good luck with everything!

Thanks again,


I really like what you have done. I actually think your product styling is quite strong apart from the obviously well done engineering part. You show a lot of versatility which of course is essential in any consultancy environment.

Actually, I think I go to school (ID Masters, Konsfack) with some of your former class mates from Umea. I noticed John in one of your pictures.
You should come by some time and check out the school.

Best of luck!

Hey Bengt,

Thanks for the feedback!

It’s so funny you say that… I actually was there back at the beginning of November to visit John and Mreza and Li and Nils-Johan, and Rohan and Olof… your class is full of ex-Umea students, haha, I couldn’t believe it when I saw just how many there were in your little area in the studio. I was also there back in April to see the degree show… there was some very inspirational work coming from the story telling and illustration particularly. I really enjoyed it, and I’m sure I’ll be back over to visit sometime soon… it will be really nice to meet you… and I’ll definitely be there for your degree show to support the Umea boys!

Good luck with everything, and thanks again,

beginning of October, not November… sorry, my brain has stopped working tonight… :slight_smile: