Porfolio Feedback/General Design Advice

Hi everyone,

I’m looking for advice on direction and my portfolio.

I’ve been working in architectural and sheet metal for the past 5 years, working at one very small company (less than 10 employees) and one medium company (around 50 employees). Late last year I felt like I had finally plateaued in metalwork and wasn’t learning anything new, so I’ve taken some time to consider my direction and am looking to move into consumer electronics in the short term (next 5 or so years and ideally at a larger company), and would like to work at a consultancy in the long term. I’d currently place myself as a mid-level designer with a developing (but not there yet) interest in branding/strategy.

My ‘in-the-wild’ products are all sheet metal based, and I can’t show the development process for any of them, but can use them as evidence of designs in production. I’m currently working on a few personal electronic projects to show technical capability (sketch, cad, render etc.) and join the dots as proof that I can apply a design process across different areas. The sterilisation sinks and packing table are the most recent products that I do have permission to show (without process) and had a heavy focus on design for manufacture to get the production price competitive for the market. I also built in a couple of ergonomic features to reduce repetitive strain injuries of workers and it had to pass infection control testing by the client.

-Without being allowed to show actual DFM details or show production drawings, is it adequate to show images of the products and to have a conversation about the business case and how the challenges of the project were overcome?

-What do you think of the general presentation of my folio? It is currently lacking process but the personal projects should fill this gap. Do you think I need to do more than 2 more personal projects to expand out of metalwork into electronics? My concern is that I can’t show process for real products, and that I don’t have any ‘sexy’ products to show. Are sinks and tables perceived as really boring?

-How much depth do I show for a personal project? Do I need to have full research etc or can it be used just to show technical skillset and use the real projects to demonstrate deeper research and development?

-Do people still bring a pdf to an interview? I was thinking of bringing some big A3/A2 prints of products and concepts and then doing a storytelling session about them.

All feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Hi Andy, I took a look through your website and appreciate how image-heavy it is. For your first response, I’ll touch on some initial impressions that would be easy tweaks so that other viewers can have an improved experience of your portfolio. I’m viewing this on a MacBook Pro set on maximum brightness.

  1. Body text is too light. Either make it the same color as the INDUSTRIAL DESIGN header or increase the font weight. It needs to have stronger contrast from the background. The tracking could also be a tad tighter for smoother readability.

  2. Project involvement. With the Sterilization Sink, I only see final renders and action shots. Can you talk more about what you contributed to the process? Like ideation/brainstorming, primary or secondary research, market analysis, etc. Just noting these areas helps inform the viewer of your involvement with each project. Being too nondescript can be detrimental.

  3. Call-outs. With the Surgical Packing Table, can you highlight your experience by detailing important features or mechanisms? What makes your designs competitive?

Maybe it’ll help to think of your projects like a brochure or package design. You’re helping the viewer understand why this is a great product (only through final imagery) and why they should buy it or learn more about it. It’s especially important if you’re transitioning into consumer electronics and you don’t want someone to unfortunately think “this is all just sheet metal.” Feed their mind with storytelling and information so that they see your work and your process as something much more. What are the similarities between consumer electronics and your metalwork projects? Brand language, usability, ergonomics, etc.

Also, I looked at your about section and found this quote:

As an Industrial Designer, my work focuses on the emotional connection between humans and objects. Through observation of behaviours and interactions, we can provide innovative solutions as useful, meaningful and culturally-relevant products and experiences that really impact and improve quality of life.

How can you communicate your projects to reflect this quote? Good luck!

Andy, what is there is strong. What would had me back is that all of the projects shown demonstrate folded solutions (maybe the Teppi one isn’t folded, but aesthetically it is still very planar). I’d like to see 2 more projects in this portfolio that show a different use of form.

Hi Linda,
Thanks for taking the time to look through it.

  1. I’ll make the body text more readable with a darker colour.
  2. I can talk about it but I’m not allowed to show any work other than final shots. I’m planning to fill these gaps with personal projects.
  3. Good point! I could probably get away with comparing it this design to competitor products without much of an issue to more solidly outline the problem statement.

Hi Michael,
Thanks for the feedback. I completely agree on the planar nature (they’re all stainless steel as well), which was one of my main concerns with my folio. I’m building up a project now to show form exploration, and a second soon to demonstrate more complicated surfacing.

I really appreciate the help everyone.