Portfolio feedback please!

Hi all,

I’m an industrial designer that graduated in 2017 from the UK. I’m currently nearing the end of my current contract at my current place in Denmark, and need to start looking for new places. I know it’s a super difficult time and people aren’t really hiring, but I’ve seen some super cool positions in studios in the EU so I’d like to apply there.

My website is https://emilios.co.uk, and you can find my PDF folio at https://emilios.co.uk/portfolio.pdf

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Do the projects make sense? Is there anything obvious that is missing?

Thanks!
Emilios

Skillsets are solid, but I don’t see any CAD animations. Front end design process is exceptionally solid, but I don’t see any interface with Mechanical Engineering leading to production. Mood-boarding is solid, but I don’t see any user demographics pairing with object design languages. UX/UI appears well art directed, but need more flow charting to better understand more of larger picture UX logic and flows. Although you show some raw electronics prototyping, your portfolio does not have any of the evidence of the messiness inherent in advanced hardware development (i.e. working with other hard disciplines to eliminate the messiness and display empathy for the user).

Most of the projects/clients in your portfolio slant towards organizations that collect data (Maptic, Calm Case, Waterstone). In a post Covid world it would be nice to see your ability to be sensitive to designing for the other side of the emerging market. Easier more accessible encryption, less permissions oriented, privatization of personal data etc. The Grippy Sippy needs to address safety/cleanability and sterilization to be a viable child’s product in the USA.

Your portfolio and experience will sell well in Silicon Valley, Seoul, Singapore and Hong Kong. Your generation of designers is entering a world market fraught with tribalism, lack of trust and hostility.

Good Luck and be careful…!

I too think your skills are showing quite well. You show great diversity—sketching, to rough, but well constructed mockups using a few mediums, slick graphics, basic UI, and a variety of renderings. Generally I had really positive reactions to your work, seems nicely polished and intelligently thought through.

I did have the exact same question on the design language pages though—they tend to appear after your development work, which seemed backwards. Shouldn’t the mood/language fuel the design? I didn’t see any information on why you chose those specific aesthetic categories either. Who is the user and why does that style fit them?

The only other “complaint” I had is just that it’s long! It’s a lot of information to navigate and digest as an outsider. I waffle a little on that since someone can always skim or just look at a portion of the work, but you want to curate the impression you give of yourself. I think it’s good to at least have a summary/teaser portfolio where you can knock someone’s socks off quickly and leave more for them to see later. The pdf is 42 pages of 11x17 and the website is even bigger! Maybe a 15-20 page teaser could be the hook and the website can be available for someone to dig deeper. Bring the bigger pdf portfolio to an interview. Reducing the page count will also open the door for a higher resolution pdf—the graininess was detracting from your sketches and renders.

Aside from a little clean up work I think you can spend your time working on your sales pitch, good luck!

Hey guys,

Thanks for such insightful replies!

Stephen, I really appreciate you going in detail about skills and content, and where to further show work. I have some content already (CAD animations, flow-charting) that I can clean up and include, but the remainder of what you suggested is fantastic to document for projects moving forward. I didn’t register officially about data collection - I know that I like to use it to improve the user’s experience, but you’re totally right about a post-COVID world changing the game here. Quite excited to design for the other side.

Chris, thanks for the positive feedback. You’re totally on the money about the design language pages. I’ll rework this to include my decisions here (important!) and to better flow in the storytelling of the project. In the case of the website, I let the format of the site/page dictate the flow of the project in some respects, which is why the dev work is where it is. You’re right about it being long - would you suggest leaving the website roughly the length it is, and the PDF being much shorter and a taster? I always worry about not showing all my skills fully in the PDF, which I guess is why it’s so big.

Thanks again guys, much appreciated!

At the end of the day, it’s your portfolio, so it’s whatever you’re comfortable with. I just know that I tend to give pdfs a pretty quick scroll through when I get emailed because I don’t always have time to dig deep—and I don’t think I’m in the minority there. I feel like you can usually get an okay sense of where someone’s skills are just on first impressions and then if I were really vetting a particular candidate I’d go back to read more.

When I was job hunting I had a shorter ~5-8MB pdf that I could email around and then for an in-person (or Zoom now I guess?) I had a 60 or 80 page behemoth that I would drag along. I could flip and talk through it fast, but if something interested someone I could flip back to it because more of the process was documented. In person you don’t have to show every page you bring with you either… As long as you feel like you can represent what you’re capable of in the email version, hopefully it would be enough to get somebody’s attention. I can’t speak to how everyone looks at portfolios though.

A portfolio to me, is like an investor pitch for hiring a designer. The key object that tips the employer/investor over into making the decision.
It has to be short, powerful, and show that the designer is realistically capable of achieving what he/she is presenting.
True, your PDF folio is long, but it is still very bite-sized in terms of information and browses quickly. If this is your extended/annotated portfolio it would be a good idea to have a compact version without all the extra visual material to send over email.

All in all I love the work and it is representative of what a 2021 designer ‘should’ be doing. You obviously excel at the conceptual front end and your sketching style is iconic as is your design output. Even though you haven’t shown a fit to a particular target group or user testing results, especially in the project for the Snapchat glasses you are presenting a very powerful design that captures the essence of what a wearable should be: high-fashion yet smart, and visibly more than an accessory. In some cases a strong design will speak for itself without needing all the quantitative data to back it up, even though that results in more risk for the business. But that is the leap to make into new territory. In other projects, I do miss some more thorough research leading to a conclusive proof of concept. For example in the case of the visual aid, does this tool prove to be enough or will the user still rely on physical augmentations. In the photo coasters, what will an actual scenario look like and what is the benefit. What are the risks, how about privacy?

Definitely one of the better portfolios I have seen lately.