Highlighting other products problem in your portfolio?

Hey everybody, I’m putting together a portfolio piece about a climbing backpack I made a while ago, and as part of it I want to show a couple of the problems I’ve found with the packs that are on the market today. Problem is I can’t really make up my mind if it’s a good idea or not, a big part of the problem for me I think is that the market for climbing specific packs is quite small, and I might very well end up applying for a job at one of the companies whose pack I’m “complaining” about when I’m finished with uni in one year.

So what’s your thoughts on the subject? Non issue? Absolutely don’t do it?

Competitive analysis is common - if it tells a valuable part of your process you should include it.

Ultimately you are the one who sends out portfolios, so if you are calling pack X from company Y a piece of junk and are applying for a job at company Y, you can always modify it.

Also there’s no need to be “harsh” about it - if pack X doesn’t have good access to feature Z, just call it out clearly. You won’t offend anyone that way. I’ve reviewed portfolios and projects where people have called out things on existing projects that we’ve built and while I bring a more specific set of knowledge to that project I don’t get overly critical on “Well the marketing guy insisted that button went there” or “we couldn’t get the right part to fit that area” reasons for why something may not be good.

If the “problems” are a matter of your opinion, I would not include them.

If the “problems” are derived from documented research of end users, by all means, include them.

Also, a competitive analysis should include all objective data, “good” and “bad”.

Thanks for the comments, this is a project I started because I needed a new pack but when a bunch of my friends and other people I meet on my climbing trips also wanted some packs I conducted a real end user investigation with interviews, surveys and task analysis so I do have data to back up my claims. So I’m definitely keeping that part of the presentation, but I’ll see if I can include some quotes or statistics here as well to give it more credability

I think companies love to have an input from a fresh perspective. If I would review your portfolio, I would definitely want to read that part.

It sounds like you are a student or young designer. In that situation, I would include some context to help people understand the benefits that your pack design has. You will find that all of the little design details that you make in your career will be completely invisible to people outside the industry and even many customers. Therefore, you will need to explain how your design is different and why.

Also, be visual. No one in 2014 has any time to read about your project. Knock them over the head with what a great design you did. Don’t be shy.

Hey, yes I’m a student, third year in industrial design engineering. Pretty much all the stuff we do in school is long VERY academic reports and sadly very different from the portfolios I’ve seen on Behance and Coroflot. I’ve questioned this quite a lot, and since I definitely prefer the visual approach my self I’m really trying to focus on this with my own projects. I’ll post the piece once it’s finished but I have a bunch of other reports for school that I have to focus on right now :frowning:

Totally agree, you might be surprised to find out the place(s) you are applying had similar concepts or observations at some point that fell out or weren’t embraced by all the decision makers in the process or better yet, as someone pointed out, you are actually offering a fresh perspective and caught something they did not. In any case, showing your ability to think critically and examine different solutions in context should be is important.

Allright, I put together a first version of the presentation, any comments would be great! I’m thinking about expanding the first section about research and who I’m designing for to include some basic information about the gear used in alpine climbing such as ice tools, crampons and so on…

Btw. Anybody know of any other site than issuu to use to show pdfs online?

EDIT: I throw it up on Behance instead of issuu, Behance