My web site: let me know what you think!

Have a look and tell me what you think:

I could tell you about it, but i think it should speak for itself!

I will say that I am currently looking for a full time junior level position.

Well, you seem to have some good projects in there, altough I think you could explain some of them a bit more (what’s the hong kong stuff actually supposed to do?)

The website… it’s better than many I’ve seen, I like the simplicity. However, for a site called “” I’d expect some nice sketchwork on the frontpage. Also, more negative space please, filling the first page with big font made me unsure of what to focus on.

About typography… I think you might be a bit over conservative. There are nicer fonts than helvetica out there, and it might be worth trying out using a different font for headlines. Have a look at google webfonts. Simple is good, but adding the right amount of flair in the right places would bring it a few steps further…

So yeah, potential seems good, but I felt like I was scrolling through most projects without really getting to them. Try to work on the narrative a bit, why is the product needed and what sets it apart?

Then again, If you are looking for a full time position you are already further than I am, take my comment for what you think they are worth :wink:

Hi Carl, this is just quickly on the website itself:

I think the Helvetica is fine and I understand the look you’re going for, but it’s missing a lot of hierarchy. Making your ‘blurb’ bold instead of regular would help make it seem more header-like (it took me really off-guard the first time). Varying the font size between your categories and project links would help too. Screenshot of what I’m talking about:

It would be nice to just have “Carl Andersen” be the Home link (and bolded) since ‘Home’ seems oddly placed right now. Does having ‘IDSA’ next to your name just signify that you’re a member? If so, you could put that in your About Me section.

I would also like to see titles and a brief description to ease me into each project. A state-change for a:active would be a nice placeholder too.

Also, your sketchblog is opening up within your website creating some crazy weird issues with frames.

This is all fantastic advice! I am currently working on some better explanations of the VTech/Hong Kong and the Medical Cart. Ive changed the blurb to Bold, hopefully that will clear up some of the issues.

I’m not exactly sure how to fix the frames issues, I might have to let that one go, given that it still works.

Also, check out how it looks on your phones:

Took a look.

  1. I’d second Linda’s layout and graphics recommendations. The large text at the moment is not coming out as bold, modern and different, but more like a sight for those with bad eyesight.

  2. Overall the projects are OK, but not that interesting. I’m not seeing any story, or compelling visuals. I looked at them all, and can’t recall a single thing of note. A few in particular (VTech, Family Capture, Contextual Research), I’m even sure what I’m looking at. Overall, you need to tell the story of what you’ve done, and I’m not seeing that at all.

  3. AdeptSketch as a name I think is hurting you. I expected some awesome sketches, and the level of sketches just isn’t there. They are at best average, or below average in all honesty, for an ID grad. You are a grad, right?

  4. Skills. As above, the sketch skills in particular need to be a lot stronger. The level is OK, but not that strong, and a lot of the renders come off weak as the underlying sketch isn’t there. Formal development as well I think could be stronger. A lot of the forms in your designs seem almost random and conflict with different elements of the designs.

  5. Overall, I’m not getting a good feeling for who you are what you are about. The text you’ve added on the home page and the about page doesn’t add much. I’d like to see more of your process, which might show me more how you think and why you make the decisions you do. Maybe consider at least building one project page out to show more depth. Everything at the moment in projects, sketches, etc. feels very rushed and not that considered.


Linda hit on some visual tips, and R hit on some nice key points that I second (especially regarding your sketching skills). My personal interest is in storytelling through a portfolio: how can you express your way of thinking through a website and engage potential employers? Apologies in advance for any harshness.

  1. Organization
    Your navigation links are odd. I agree IDSA should be taken out. About is fine, but then you have a sketchblog before all your work. And the blog doesn’t have great sketches. At that moment, I would probably leave the portfolio PRIMARILY BECAUSE your URL is adeptsketch. I’d shove this link way down. Then there’s an awkward home link, which shouldn’t exist (your name should just link home), or should exist as the very first link.

Projects: okay, fairly normal. More on this later.

Highlights: I don’t understand this section at all. Why are they highlights? They seem like a collection of skills, not highlights of your work. I don’t believe these belong in a portfolio… your skills should show themselves through your projects. Great, you can render an iPod. So can thousands of other people who read a tutorial. Contextual research belongs in a project: it’s meaningless by itself. Sketches is the only thing that could be a page by itself, but you already have a sketch blog. I would just axe this whole section.

  1. Projects
    I agree with R: the projects are not that interesting. The reason is because you don’t tell a good story around them. We don’t care. They could be really interesting projects that solve important problems, but that simply isn’t communicated. It seems like a lot of fluff. Let’s take a look at one example: the home computer.

Right off the bat: really? Your project is named the “home computer”? I am already bored. Then you have these two vector tracings of photos that say “Less like a work computer, and more like reading a book”. You already hopped into a solution without showing us your problem space/how you defined it. And a computer that is more like reading a book already exists in Kindles and iPads.

Then you go into what I assume is your user research phase, with no description of what you are researchign. Why do they need to touch dots? You don’t explain the results, either. How does handed-ness factor into their decisions to use which hand? Why does this matter to your design, which seems to be only concerned with the physical styling, not with the digital interaction.

Then you suddenly have a diagram of a tilting screen: why is this here in this point in the story? What are different footprints?

Sketches: okay, you can draw screens flipping. I don’t see any development of ideas. How did you get from touching dots on a grid to this design? What were your concerns? What inspired you?

Sketch model: I love these kinds of things, but what did you discover when you made this model? Did you test it with people?

More sketches: was this inspired by a hand? Thats what it seems like. Then I have no idea what the next sketch is. You need to explain what your sketches show more, since the sketches themselves aren’t telling. Are you exploring different side profiles? Why? Are you trying to give off a certain look/feel? Are there material constraints? Are you trying to make it look thin while considering how many components it needs to house?

Final solution: This is where I have the biggest problem. How did you get this solution from your process/initial problem statement? You want to make a computer that reads more like a book. How does this read more like a book besides the fact that it flips? There are no contextual renderings: How do people use this? Consumer electronics are very heavily dependent on interactions: the software. you just slapped a screenshot of Windows on this device you designed. Windows XP was not designed for touch screens and doesn’t belong with this concept.


I could go in depth on every project, but they all share the same problem: a lack of story; a lack of why and how you came up with the solution you have. Why does this project matter? You even lack a short paragraph describing your project… we can’t understand your thought process in any of these projects. I would relook at your approach to your portfolio and spend a good month or so developing compelling stories. Good luck.

Totally agreeing with Julius’ point on storytelling.

Also for your frame issue, put _target="blank" in your link for your sketchblog. As in and that should fix things for you.


Gotta agree with everything said above. I see where you’re going with the bold stuff but the way it’s being executed is not working. This is just an aesthetic issue though and can easily be fixed.

The Content however needs a thorough rethink. Like the everyone said above, you really need to work on story telling. I want to see more enthusiasm in your work. Think of it this way, every year each design school graduates 30-100 ID grads. Now think about how many entry level jobs are out there. You really have to find a way to make your work and content stand out, not just the home page of your site.

This being said, I see more promise in your sketches geared towards Black & Decker. I see more energy and passion in these sketches and judging by your CAD skills I think you could turn some of the concepts into some promising projects. Just remember that at the professional level, everyone can draw, and everyone can sketch, and more and more, everyone is telling good stories. If you want to compete with the other designers out there you need to bring your game to that level.


For a split second there I thought I stumbled upon one of those ‘404 Page Not Found’ pages. The very first sentence you state that you have a passion for design, and yet, there’s no design anywhere on your Home page (other than typography). Maybe put some color or logo in there.

Wow, so I must say, this is a nice refreshing critique! I have been out of school for almost two years now, and I felt that I was really going soft. I have been fortunate enough to be doing a little bit of freelance here and there, but I haven’t gotten experienced feedback in a while.

From here, I am going to focus on the projects. I will leave the site nav alone for a while, until the projects are strong. (I might mess around with the bold font, though)

Judging from the critiques, I really need to revisit the projects step by step, and do a bit of video transcriptions to draw qualitative conclusions from.

I will start out with the ‘home computer’ (keeping in mind to find a new name!) I am going to re-do the touch test, but take stills of the different positions that the user would find comfortable and note what the orientation/proximity of the screen/touchpad is of them. I will be able to convey these notes in the story and segway into the concept.
From these I could design/sketch solutions that would hold and accommodate these various positions/’sweet spots’. Strictly designing function at first, and create a few sketch models that I could do more video transcription with. Here I would draw upon human factors and sketch out solutions.

This is where I will foam core the best solutions and photograph and overlay sketch more detail work.
I might post some of my design solutions for feedback, and Cad and model a final solution for glamour shots.
How does this approach sound? Anything you would change? Anything you would add?

Because I am rehashing an old project, what would you recommend I do to define the problem space? I first did this project before the Ipad came out, I will have to think of a new approach there so it isn’t in the exact same space as the iPad/Kindle.

I want to get my game beyond that level!

Sounds like a good plan of attack.

I know it hard being out of school to motivate yourself, but if you have the drive you can definitely do it. I would revisit some of your old projects but I would also encourage you to start some new ones.

Find a problem and formulate your own design project around it. This will actually be easier and allow your project to be a lot more cohesive.

I’m glad that you are motivated to do some more work! However, do a little bit of thinking before you redo any of your projects: which one are you most passionate about? I think every portfolio should have one key project that you are extremely passionate about that you can talk to every employer about. For me, it was a mobile device project I did my senior year: it showcased my skills and interests in ID, IxD, and branding, and showed my process and thinking.

If you are not passionate about any of your old projects, why not a new one? What is really interesting to you now? If you’re interested in consumer electronics, keep in mind that interaction / interface design plays a key role in any product today. If you’re not interested in that, I would steer clear of CE.

It might not show it, but the home computer was my BABY!

Have a look at the process book

I definitely want to highlight that bad boy!

Wow. That process book is a huge step up from your website. However, I still think the final solution is only halfway there. It really needs some refinement on the form, as well as the integration of the UI. Technologically, it also needs to be updated to today’s standards. Good luck!