PDF Portfolio

Hey all,

I’ve been working on a dynamic interchangeable PDF portfolio, and I am starting to get a little frustrated. Can anyone give some advice?


Thanks for your help

(The below is my opinion and should be taken with a grain of salt)

First, what does “dynamic interchangeable PDF portfolio” mean?

Second, I would really take a step back and look at the overall impression your portfolio gives. Right now, many of the pages feel like magazine ads. I think you could do with a quick look at other portfolios in the industry to set your standards. Your typography choices are really making your designs feel cheap. Your logo also does that (faiz3? what is that? Why does it look like bling?). Your drop shadow on “The Clam” also really makes it difficult for me to take the project seriously. I feel like the work you do is probably solid, and you have good experience with sketching, design, and CAD, but your portfolio’s aesthetics and visual design are REALLY distracting from everything. I can’t take this seriously.

I’d also take off the copyright sign from the bottom of those pages, or at least format it to be less distracting.And the last page with Firestone looks like a Firestone ad from a magazine. Some of your projects have no explanation and just have a corny question like “What do you do with new technology?” What new tech? What did you do? Looks like a flying skateboard.

For some inspiration on graphic and visual design, go to http://dribbble.com/.

I totally understand what you’re saying. I guess I am not clear how much of my print portfolio should be included in a PDF. That’s where I get lost. I want to show my process, but I run out of space and risk quality. So at this point I am getting a mash of incoherent thought. I will work on making it more cohesive to my print and go from there.

Thanks for the advice, it’s just what I needed.

Anyone else?

I think you could do with fewer projects and more in depth explanation on each project and the process.

I second Julius on this one, the graphic choices in your portfolio baffle me so much that it becomes really hard to take anything in it seriously.

My advice is pretty specific:

  • Don’t use 8"x11" portrait layout. It cheapens the whole thing from the start. 11"x17" landscape is much more professional and standard and you can fit a lot more information on that size.
  • Get rid of your logo. It means nothing and makes you look like you’re an auto detailing company. Just write your name and contact info simply and say that you are an industrial designer.
  • On your website (not portfolio) add an ‘about me’ section. I’m really confused as to whether you’re a freelancer or not and whether Markam & Co is an actual corporation, or just you doing design work.
  • (back to your portfolio) I need a lot more back story as to why you’re doing these projects and what makes your solution important. For me “how do you free up desk space with style?” is not a problem statement. Who were you working for? What were the constraints? What are the end materials?
  • Your headers don’t need to be that big. You’re using up a lot of space where you could add more content. Also, there should probably be some type of consistent layout you’re using for the beginning of each new project. Right now it’s melding into one.
  • I’d choose another typeface other than century gothic for headers. Inherently, it wastes a lot of space, reminds me of a 90’s power-point presentation, and has one of the most distracting question marks.

I agree with a lot of the above. What will add though is that it depend on what area of ID you want to go into. At the moment your portfolio comes off very childish. This meaning that you uses a lot of bright colors, kid like fonts, and cartoonish illustrations. This is fine if you view yourself as being a toy designer, or working in a juvenile field. If this is the case then you need to put some toy design projects in your portfolio. If not then you need to bring the play value down. Having your own style is great, but you need to remember who you are presenting to.


I have always thought that landscape portfolios read much better that portrait. Portrait portfolios read too much like a magazine.