Portfolio feedback please

Hello,

I have been a lurker of the core77 board for a while. I am a recent graduate and now have an online portfolio. If anyone wants to take a look and offer their thoughts, I would be grateful.

I have been looking for work since May. Since I have had no luck so far, I am deciding to change up what I have been sending out. New resume, online portfolio, new projects in the works…

Looking for:
-First impressions
-Does this work I’m showing, demonstrate everything needed in a designer at my level
-Work presented well? (most of the projects have additional storytelling pages)
-Would you hire me?

Thanks!
-Ryan

http://www.ryancavenagh.com

Looks pretty good overall. Some interesting things. I actually looked at it all which is more than I can say for most portfolio sites. I think to some extent though you’ve buried the better stuff near the bottom.

Chair project was OK but pretty straight forward and not that exciting.

Ballet shoe I want to see more about the tech and function since that is key (and I’m a footwear guy).

PUR was OK. some decent graphics, nothing too exciting.

Beer taps. Some clever stuff, pretty fun.

Landrover sketches are nice. Model not so much. Pepto idea pretty clever. Target lamp doesn’t do anything for me and the perspective is off in the in situ render.

Overall I think you have OK skills (though want to see much more sketches, and some people may want more 3D CAD), but the story and presentation is a bit lacking. Not bad, per se, but nothing too exciting.

Take a look at the portfolio handbook. Maybe redo a few sketches or process stuff from the select projects. I think you are certainly above average but still have some ways to go to really stand out.

R

Rich-

Thanks for taking the time to look it over. You made some good points, and I appreciate your feedback. I have some questions, that others reading this might benefit from as well.

Lets take the chair project as an example. What would make it “exciting” and where is it falling short, making it “boring”. Story telling not leading you from A to B? Is it better to show less, and leave only the very best?

It seems like you enjoy the snippets of projects vs the long ones like the chair. Does the chair become a bit overbearing for this Online format? As I work to grow this portfolio, would I be better served doing some little projects that show a good idea? (the pepto project for example)

Ryan,

The chair project is good, and pretty solid, it just feels pretty procedural. Maybe there is too many renderings before you get to the sketches. The sketch pages are kinda sparse and don’t have that much energy. The sketches are nice, maybe the layout of the pages is just too clean. I also would like to see more problem solving in the sketches. Working out the details, how you got from the initial sketches to the concept 2. Feels like a big gap there. Maybe it’s just me, but it reads like you have a bunch of sketches and then all of a sudden the final chair is done. Concept 2 sketch looks exactly like the final chair. Didn’t anything change?

Normally I like long projects and full process. Not sure exactly why I’m not that excited by the projects. You do have good skills as far as I can see.

R

I think that you show good abilities. I think the presentation is visually interesting as well.

Personally, I’m missing some up front research. I wonder things like: Why is there a need for this product? What problem does this solve? It’s hard to get excited about most of the concepts because I don’t see the relationship to the user. It’s hard for me to empathize with the need for your solutions.

Thanks for the replies, both of you. It’s nice to have feedback. I think I’m going to make a few changes this weekend.

After looking at your own work for so long, it’s difficult to view it objectively. I wish a few others would chime in as well, I would appreciate it!

Ryan,

Overall, your abilities are pretty strong, and I agree with most of the comments above.

For my own two cents…

Chair- You mention on the first page “classics that inspire you” , such as…? Show some details of other furniture or structures that inspired your chair. I imagine the Eames tandem seating was one?

  • Can this chair even support someone? There are some very thin and small parts that are in critical positions, and the perception for me at least is it would snap. I know it’s a concept, but it has to be realistic. Is there a chair or structure that uses similar methods?

Shoe - What’s the story behind this? It takes awhile for the actual reason for designing a new shoe comes forward, and when it does, it’s with small text and little conviction.

Pur - The first page looks like a powerpoint slide from 1990. The pages that follow look like duplicates of each other. Its a colorful Pur campaign, you obviously have some nice graphic design abilites, excite us! And please tell me you can find a better environment shot than that last one, it looks like a janitors closet.

Tap Handles - I think this is your most successful layout, everything pops, its very simple but effective because it doesn’t need to be anything more.

The Target Lamp - I like the top, but the base is gigantic compared to everything else. Perhaps a thin aluminum rod coming from a smaller base would make that top really stand out. It’s a little futuristic looking, but unique. The environment its in looks a little slanted, especially with that support beam.

Pepto - This project seems like a good one, but where is the rest of it? It’s clear the graphics on this project weren’t paid as much attention to as the others. If you have a project in your portfolio, make sure you actually want it in there and not just for fluff.

That’s all really, I hope this helps. You have a lot of talent, and I am excited to see where you go from here.

Mo,

Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate how you took the time to directly respond to each of the projects.

I think you and the rest of the people who responded have commented on the lack of flow in some of the projects. For example the shoe, where the research is at the bottom. I have been trying to put more of the “money shot” images at the top, so you dont have to scroll all the way down to get to the result. This obviously hurts the process a little, but maybe I have to go back and rethink the order a bit.

Thanks again
Ryan