- What can I improve?

Hi to all the nice people here,

I’m Phil. I’ll keep things brief - I need your fresh perspectives!

That’s my portfolio.

  • I’ve had it up for a year now, and been adding new projects to it since.
  • Give me your honest feedback! What did you love, despise, and every reaction in between - and why?
    - How do I get this in the right hands?
    What I’m shooting for:
  • I’m 22, a recent grad @ Carleton University.
  • Worked at White Box Design and Ballistic Arts Media over the past 4 years (summers)
  • Looking for the next step in my career, wherever it may be.
  • I can chip in with practical skills, but want to eventually work with design strategy/vision.
  • To work somewhere where I’m challenged, relied upon, and accountable for the successes and mistakes.

Appreciate it! Really!


I have to say, I really enjoyed your portfolio and how feasible and real your projects feel. It had a pleasant “down-to-earthness”, if there is such a word. In a time where literally anything can be drawn in CAD, rendered out or 3D printed, a hands-on portfolio like yours is refreshing to see.
Especially the bird house impressed me in presentation and execution and made me wish I could see some outdoor gear or active wear projects from you.
I think for the right place, it’s the perfect portfolio.

Depending on where you want to go, it might not be a bad idea to have an appliance or consumer electronic project in there. Just to show that you could handle it, Unless I missed it, you are only showing this in the “skills” section.

Over all though, a really nicely presented portfolio with lots of process and a positive, engaging tone.

I am going to keep a closer eye on Carleton University…

Very nice work, and great presentation. I only had time to skim through a few projects but overall, it’s definitely of the caliber that makes me want to come back again and dig deeper.

My only questions (unless I’m missing something) is where are all the larger projects? As a CUSID grad myself, I know you must have had more in-depth, large project for 4th year major, minor, 3rd year studio, etc…


Bengt: Appreciate your positive comments, especially from a talented designer like yourself. Good tip on the addition of a consumer electronic product - some past work at White Box Design fits that exactly. I’ll have to dig it up and make a post out of it. I agree, it’ll make for a more balanced and versatile portfolio.

Matthew: Hah, glad to hear it. There are some very talented grads I’ve had the pleasure of working with who can vouch too.

Richard: Yes, I remember seeing you teach the shoe design minor when I was in 2nd or 3rd year - it’s great to connect with you here.

To address your question, my 4th year entrepreneurial project is currently under wraps (it seems to have potential and I’m considering developing it further). Minor this year focused on skills/experimentation rather than single projects. My 3rd year semester project is the toy design (Tinka-tune) where I’ve simplified the depth you’re talking about, with more details shared during interviews or when asked.

I think I know where you’re coming from, though. I think I show my perspective and story in enough of these projects - my next upload should focus more on delving deep into the details. Interesting.

Really cool site. I love the way you present each project, very professional. Great job!

I dunno what you can do, but I would really like to see some more meaty projects. Maybe you just did too good a job at distilling them down, or the presentation is too nice and easy to skim, but I feel there could be more depth shown. I trust that you have depth based on the quality of what I do see, but it doesn’t come across as well as it could.

Looking through again, part of it I think is that you show the beauty final product up front, and don’t have that much of the “messy” process. For example in the Tinka-Tune, there is only one sketch. This makes it feel like a one day project. Same for the soap dispenser . Only 3 sketches.

The overall balance of process to final is off. The longer/bigger the project, the more process there should be. Also, the process I think is too “clean”. Your process models in Tinka-Tune are shot like final beauty shots. The exploration of different tuning configuration is in a sketch style and color that reads like a nice cartoon illustration, not a working “figuring things out” sketch.

Hope this helps.


Richard, really great points and I appreciate you bringing light to this.

I think I’ve subconsciously put an emphasis on the story/experience/explanation of the products (which I think works), but may have pasteurized the gritty details in the process.

I’ll start digging through my archives for those rough sketches and ugly mock-ups to give these projects some more substance. Thanks again.

Hi Phil, excellent site! I love the quick and easy navigation, nothing fancy, just gives you the work straight up and I like that a lot. I agree with previous suggestions, because of the way you’ve simplified and told the story they feel like quick projects. I think it would be good to show just one project really in depth (Maybe the toy or birdhouse?)- lots of sketches and rough foam models and the whole ‘messy’ side of the design work so potential employers can see how you approached and solved the mini problems that came up along the way.
And then just show the other projects how you have them now and that’ll show off the rest of the process without hitting people over the head with it.
Keep up the good work and good luck!

Thanks again for everyone’s advice - I’ve been looking at it from other perspectives and I’m seeing areas to improve.

And so, I’ve been working on an update!

I felt the portfolio had enough strength in the storytelling/concepts/ideas. But for more practical reasons (eg. getting a job) I wanted to exhibit some of nuts-and-bolts stuff that goes into a design process too. So to start, I visited my office and took examples of the work I’ve done as a junior industrial designer while I was there. Things like Ai mockups, CAD models, Keyshot renderings, etc.

I think it complements the other projects well, and definitely is more convincing than saying ‘I have practical experience’ in any cover letter.

P.S. Coming soon, I’ve dug up plenty of preliminary sketches of the toy design and will soon scan and add those to the project too. I shoulda done it earlier, I think it’ll look great.

Great work and the GIF idea is also good to explain scenario/usage/concept quickly !
All the best !