James Hance - Portfolio Feedback

Hello I am James,

I’ve just finished my second year at university and am now about to apply for internships for the summer with my 2nd year portfolio. I would be very grateful for any feedback you could give me to let me know if I’m on the right track (or not).

Portfolio - James Hance in London, United Kingdom

Thank you!

Hi James,

What type of placement are you after ideally, I appreciate that any placement is better than none but I imagine you have an ideal in your head? Are you aiming for the seymour powell’s, PDD, Kinneir Dufort top notch consultancy type or more furniture orientated etc… I only say this because the more artsy pieces felt a little like filler.

I’m assuming this is your mailshot folio and not the complete interview portfolio. Big thing is gotta work on those sketch visualisation skills, working on these will help your form development as well.

The best project in there is definately the toilet door handle but more from an insight perspective. I think the solution is kinda booring and redundant though, mainly because your first port of call after going to the loo and opening the germ ridden handle is to wash your hands. At which point most entrances to loo “blocks” (if thats that they’re called) are generally open in public areas or swing doors… i.e dont have handles so you can open them with your shoulder. Even if the loo blocks dont have soap I think having a large disk could also provided a greater surface area for point of interaction, the current solution is based on assumption that everyone will move to opening the door with their elbow. I was gagging to see some sort of evidence to how many germs can be found on door handles was kinda hoping there were going to be some petri dishes and swabs. If you have time maybe revisit this and give it another shot think bigger.

hope that helps a little bit and best of luck with seeking a placement.

Hello clam, thank you for the feedback.

I would say that I am aiming for the ‘seymour powell’ type of consultancies. The arty stuff (assuming you mean the interlocking object and the water timer) were both first years projects and do feel like filler, so should I expand on them or remove them completely?

Important point regarding the complete interview portfolio; this shown folio contains all of the reworked content that I have done for all of the projects, apart from a sponsored project that I can show in an interview. But should a complete folio be a more dense, thorough and consequently longer version of my shown folio or should it involve showing sketchbooks, research material, basically much of the stuff I chose to omit in the coroflot portfolio? Just a little worried as I feel as if I have basically shown all I have got to offer in the current state.

Thanks for the point on the sketching visualisation skills, I am far from where I should be but shall start from linework, perspective and then marker rendering.

I’ve re-read your last paragraph about the door project a few times, I am under the impression that you believe the door project is about the re-design of the main toilet ‘block’ entrance, but it is intended as a re-design of the individual toilet cubicle latches (or lock/indicator bolt). Perhaps I have not clearly shown the intention of this project?


I understand that it’s the cubicle door. My point being that yes you touch a dirty door latch once you have gone and done your business in the loo but the next step is to then wash your hands. I could kinda see more of a point if it was applied to the entrance door (because after you have washed your hands you don’t want to touch a dirty door) but then as mentioned those entrances tend to not have doors or they have doors without latches.

I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s an interesting door handle… but then its preceisely that a door handle. What are the bigger issues surrounding restroom sanitation. Could the toilets water tank be used in someway as a wash hand basin? is there a way of picking up and putting down the toilet seat without having to touch it? Could a sanitising material be used for all touch points… I don’t know but your time as a student is a great time to be pushing the boundaries. The person reviewing your portfolio will look at it for a grand total of 30 seconds to a minute before its either kept or discarded so ideas that provoke a wow reaction are really important.

There are lots of posts on here on what a portfolio should be (I recommend doing a search for them). My personal opinion is your mail shot is a teaser your just trying to get a bite. So 4-6 pages is enough, 1 page per project showing a a sh*t hot cad or photo 3\4 view and followed by sweet sketches and one or two lines suporting the product proposition. Then show the full process in a larger portfolio. It will not go down well if when it comes to interview your using your mailshot as your interview folio. I would also think about putting your sponsored studio in your mailshot. I would also dont send out a link to your corofolot as trying to get an interview. Coroflot is horrible to navigate I recommend putting together a PDF.

Thank you for your information about the interview portfolio/mailshot teaser, you have saved me from simply sending the entire bunch as a pdf and I will look up the posts regarding portfolios so as to not waste your time.

Regarding the door project, I have re-read what I have written on the 1st page of the door project and It appears that I have explained the project incorrectly. As it currently reads, it would appear as if I am concerned with the germs on our hands after we immediately exit a cubicle, which are eliminated by hand washing anyway.

What it is meant to explain, is that I am concerned with the aspect that a typical cubicle lock is a forced interaction that we have to make when we lock the cubicle for the first time. Therefore we will be touching a psychologically ‘dirty’ and a likely physically ‘dirty’ component (yes some germ tests would appear to be a good addition to this project) and so spreading germs to ourselves and clothes. The proposed solution essentially keeps the germs on our hands to ourselves when we make the exit and the next person does not pick any up to spread onto themselves.
I thought that there may be some validity to this project as there are various designs for touchless flushes, touchless toilet roll despencers, automatic toilet seat lifters all concerned with reducing the spead of germs (and psychological perception of ‘dirtiness’) through forced hand-interaction.
Sorry if I have gone on a bit, but your feedback it good and it is making me realise what a viewer of my work will see.


Hello James_

Thanks for posting. Overall, not bad for a second year student. I’m gong to go through one of your projects, hopefully this will be helpful.

This slide is not really telling me much. The pink shapes are very distracting and don’t relate to anything. The logo for the project is very small and fuzzy. Looks more like it belongs with an elder care product and not with a bike accessory. See this for graphical and image art direction inspiration: http://www.rapha.cc/

I think it is very cool that you did an EE breadboard. Not necessary for an Industrial Designer, but cool. The pink shapes are super distracting here. I’d love to see this breadboard on a workbench with EE plans and a soldering iron… really get credit for making this with a beautiful image.

These sketches are simply not good enough. Not much of an exploration here. There is no variety in attachment mechanism, nor placement on the bike, nor any detailing outside of a very rough overall shape. More, and better is needed here.

Nice that you made a cleaner working model. Very cool. Again, pink shapes are distracting. Maybe show it on a bike and being tested? Make one image larger than another so their is a hierarchy on the page. Choose more informative perspectives to photograph from. It helps to move away from the object and then zoom in to eliminate some of the lens distortion and forced perspective.

This image is titled form development, but I don’t see any form development. Rough overall outlines. this slide needs variety and detailing. The image of the bike is almost unreadable.

Very dark image, it is difficult to distinguish the product from the bike. Why is the logo in that position and not facing the rider? Again, logo needs re-doing. Is that purple block a power switch? If so why does it not relate to the form of the object in anyway.

These are the things I would expect to be a bit more sorted out in an intern candidate. I love seeing “extras” like the EE breadboard, but it is not an extra if the design is lacking. Make sure your cart doesn’t get before your horse. Remember, in a real life experience, you will be collaborating with a team of people who can do some of those other tasks, but no one else will help push the design. That is our job.

Thank you Yo for the analysis of a particular project. I am going to redo the page graphics first; I always had a suspicion that I was trying too hard with the graphics and here I guess they are a bit redundent. I’ve read that a simple border or minimal graphics is ideal so I shall work alone the lines of that.

In regards to your other points, I am going to take them seriously and redo the content as required. Its good to here this, It is difficult to get good feedback when the college year has ended. Hopefully I can post it ASAP.

Thank you!


James, great. Glad you found that useful. Openness to feedback is key. One key piece of advice on the graphics, don’t reinvent the wheel. The viewer should remember you industrial design, not your layout. Helvetica in a white box usually does the trick. It is about sensitivity and placement, not about a crazy shape.

Yes, please take off all that glitter. I hate when product design students put that kind of techy/futuristic border. I see it all the time. It means nothing and really doesn’t look that cool. Clean it up nice. Another thing to fix would be your text. Right now, you are limiting yourself to that one paragraph block each page. Why not spread out the text into locations that actually correspond with the imagery? When you talk about the open/closed state of the door knob, do it next to the pictures. It makes more sense.

You don’t really explain much of the images shown. Like what yo said, what exactly are you ideating in each of those sketches? This one is exploring a thinner profile… this one is exploring mechanisms… show us! Okay, you tested the wind cyclone thing, and you show us the models… what did you learn from them that translated into the final design?

I think it’s a good idea to have a couple key points that you relate each project to. In your bio, you mention human factors and technical feasibility. I see a bit of technical feasibility, but very little of human factors. Be very clear on how each project demonstrates your skills in each arena.

Other than that, you just need better visuals: sketches, renderings, photos… right now, they are fairly underwhelming. Wouldn’t hurt to redo some money shots/context shots, too.

Hello Yo and tarngerine, thank you for your expert critique, I needed a kick up the rear to knock me out of the tunnel vision. I’ve attached a revised page scheme sample to show you that I have pared down the crud.

As for the quality of the images, renders and sketches I need to redo these but I am running out of time to apply for internships. So I shall attempt to redo at least some sketches/renders but I am going to have to make the most of what content I already have.

Thank you again! I shall remember your valuable advice.


You still have residual graphics left… I honestly would get rid of them. What should separate your portfolio from others is your content and way of thinking, not your graphics!

Yo, Tarngerine and others have already given you some great feedback. Very cool of them.

But I have one more thing that I would like to comment on with your recent image… there is a lot of potential for it to be a call out diagram. The text (if it is important information) could be nicely integrated (making me actually wanting to read it).

Blocks of text I think are a bit of a hard sell (we are all largely in ‘the image business’). It is always great to see work that is able to fluidly synthesize word and image. As Tarngerine was saying- pick out the key points.

I have pared the layout down to a minimal level. I didn’t realise how wrong my attempts were intially; I have alot to learn!

Thank you rachelkroft for the suggestions about call out diagrams and text, I will be actively thinking about the text now and so I hopefully won’t be making any more bad choices.


My pleasure.

It is all just practice and borrowing other people’s good presentation ideas + tips.

Looking forward to seeing more,