Portfolio critique needed

Hey there,

I’m a recent graduate looking for work or an internship in a consultancy. If any of you could spare a bit of your time to have a look at my portfolio, I’d love to hear your critique. I don’t doubt it could improve leaps and bounds with your help.

Many thanks,


Hi Sara,

From what I see you have good potential to be a professional designer. This is very much a designer’s portfolio and to gear it more to being a consultant you need to show more understanding of design process, methodology and strategy. To make a design a success there needs to be a careful understanding and balancing of many factors with multiple stakeholders as well as a strong idea or vision and if you can link your projects to such an understanding better it will help you in preparing a story for becoming a design consultant.

I see your sensitivity and care for design in your projects - yet you don’t have a flagship project that stands out.
Current lamps fitting SAD-therapy can be much approved in design and usefulness so your approach is very refreshing. The controls and timer are beautifully integrated. Having an integrated control may make it more natural - with vertical sliding over the frame mapped to the intensity, and rotating to snap the control into on/off/pause position or a simple squeeze button. Next to the results I also want to know about your design thinking and analytic insights gathered from research - your descriptions are too minimal to give me an understanding. For example, you have to explain that OLED fits the light requirements for SAD therapy, you have to explain why you use light, as well as why you chose for this aesthetic. I like how it functions as a wake-up light but I find the aesthetic not very fitting for home interiors. Also you can go much deeper in user research to find underlying causes to the symptoms, rather than medicalizing it as SAD. It leads to very different and often surprising results.

I like your design for the eyeglasses but I wonder if this form fits the idea of having customization determine the appeal of a product rather than a predefined ‘designer signature’ shape. The project lacks a clear brief and the result is a bit unrefined so this is presented more an exercise than an actual project.

PP is a nice material for indoor lights if used well. Your approach to saddle shapes is nice though they will work better when used more subtly, for example introducing asymmetry and shape variations into the single sheet would have made the design much more interesting. I like your hands-on approach - take care to make all objects and sketches you make as presentable as possible from the start. It is good that you picked a strong idea and stuck with it, then the task is to develop and refine it. I am missing an in-context visualization of your lamp - the only way to truly show the quality of your design.

I love the laptop sleeve project - very nice process and result. How many hours did you put into it?

Then a few general remarks are to be careful with spelling, and adding a title page and page numbering, especially if you would hand or send it out.

Thank you, ralphzoontjens!

Your feedback is much appreciated and illuminating. Some of it addresses issues that I’m aware myself but have been unsure how to address optimally. For example including the right amount of process and methodology without making the portfolio too longwinded. It’s good to hear that there’s room to include more of that so that I can explain my design choices better.

Could you elaborate a bit more on why you think the aesthetic of the lamp isn’t very fitting for home interiors? It was one of my goals to move away from the medical aesthetic often used for SAD lamps and to create something that integrates better with a range of home interior styles. If I’ve failed to achieve that I’d love to understand better why and how.
I am aware that the underlying factors influencing SAD can be quite complex, ranging from psychological wellbeing, and all that that entails, to things like diet and exercise. Yet light therapy has proven itself to be one of the best interventions according to a great deal of scientific research as well as the most influential underlying causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is the reason I specified light therapy in my brief as it was felt by me and my mentor that the scope of the project would become too large if I tried to address all the other factors influencing SAD. However, I agree that perhaps I should try to communicate all of this in my portfolio better and give the reader some idea of the complexity of the issue.

I very much agree with your comments on the glasses. The assignment itself was somewhat unstructured, which is reflected in the lack of a clear brief but I’ll do my best to try to tighten that up. I have myself wondered if I should redesign the final form while keeping the idea of an adjustable nose bridge.

The PP light was my first design assignment on the course and at the time I did feel like I could do with more time to explore and refine the form. I suppose I have the chance to do that now.

The laptop sleeve was a 2 month project, my best guess is that I put in between 20 - 30 hours to come up with the concept and maybe that much again just for the sewing. It was suggested I should put it on Kickstarter. I need to figure out what kind of industrial process could replace the manual sewing that I did but my first priority has been my portfolio and getting an internship so the project’s been on the backburner.

link is broken for me.

Sorry to hear that. It works okay for me but here’s another one: