Portfolio Feedback

Hi guys, I have just been introduced to this site by a colleague over at my internship company. I am currently a final year student taking a Diploma in Product and Industrial Design in a polytechnic here in Singapore. This is my current portfolio which I used to enter my internship company and it would be great if I could be given advice on how to improve on it such that i can get a placement in University. Shawn Ng Product Design Porfolio 2014 by Shawn Ng - Issuu

I am open to harsh critics so please feel free to give your feedback. Thanks in advance!

Shawn, my first impression of your portfolio was that it seemed too busy visually. I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of text in your portfolio. When I view a portfolio for the first time I am primarily looking at the imagery. I tend to think that some of the best portfolios have imagery that speaks for itself and only needs the minimal amount of text to explain the intent of the design. If I am intrigued I will dig a little deeper into the project and read to understand more.

I liked the title page that you developed for each project. Those title pages were very clean and easy to digest and read. After those title pages however your portfolio seemed to incorporate too much text and graphics that seemed to overshadow the work. At first I didn’t even see the sketch development. I had to look much closer to find the small sketch images for each project. Overall I think that you are trying to compress too much on to each page. I would try to lengthen the portfolio by adding several pages, increase the amount of space given to your sketch and development work, reduce the amount of text and tone down the graphics overall.

Thank you very much for your feedback! I have been looking around the portfolios in this forum hoping to see how others present their work, will definitely try to reduce the words etc. to improve on my own.

You wanted harsh…

When I’m looking at portfolios for prospective employees and I get a Issuu link, I feel a sinking feeling in my stomach while I mentally gird myself to flip virtual pages. I can’t stand Issuu - maybe for other things its OK, like cute slideshows of vacations, but not for design portfolios.

Same here. I’d rather look at a real PDF. Easier and faster to flip through.

I agree that the portfolio is visually very cluttered. If people are going to literally flip through your work (and they likely will), they probably do not want to sit and read through all that data/research. I think you may have devoted too much space for the renderings/money shots. The writing for many pages needs to go on a diet or somehow be changed to a more visually catching way (I think it was done pretty well with the bike component section). Concept development sections need work as well, all the sketches are roughly the same size and they seemed packed/hidden away. Also quality of sketches seems a little inconsistent. It is a little hard to see where the sketches led to certain ideas right away. Your strong suits are research and 3D modeling

On page, 18, do not let “Portafier/Go” cross over the other page. This sort of works okay digitally for readability, but if it were ever printed it would be hidden away in a spine.

Page 17, I do not see the point of all the observation pictures. Some seem redundant.

Also, spell check.

Also there seems to be quite a bit of negative response to Issuu, a lot of it is founded, but if I wanted to present my work I would not mind having it shown literally how it would be done with a physical copy. Granted if you have a more fully designed website, that will attract more attention of course. But like SlippyFish said, maybe it is too cutesy/skeumorphic. Issuu is a really quick and dirty way to present a portfolio, which has its merits. I use Issuu admittedly because it is soo simple to just upload your portfolio then link it into an email on really short notice without having to do major reductions in quality. And as Sain just pointed out it would be also easier to just upload a straight PDF, but again playing with file size. However, I do plan on making a more legitimate website or at least utilize Behance/Core to present projects.

I ran into this problem a bit as a student, But I soon realized that theres a difference between the portfolio you email out and the portfolio your present in person. The email/web portfolio should have enough detail and presence to get the person viewing it to want more detail. Strive to present the highlights and key points. Leave the middle and nitty gritty to the in person presentation.

(not universal but a good way to think about that 20mb - 65 page portfolio your trying to compress)

Thanks all for your advice, will work on my presentation and definite post them on behance instead. Im currently doing some touch up for all of my projects and will definitely try to improve on my portfolio. :slight_smile:

Also watch the size of the different items on your page

The description of Ducati should not be larger than your sketches! Whats more important to the interviewer, a cut info from Wikipedia or your actual design sketches? On every page in your portfolio you need to think. What are you going to get hired to do and how does this page in your portfolio address that.

Shawn, in regards to the above advice, here’s a challenge that might be fun and push you in the right direction

No words in your portfolio except logos and project titles and subtitles.

It took me 6 revisions to have the courage to do that, but it is really worth it. A picture is worth a thousand words. =)

Thank you everyone for your advice, I have recently updated my portfolio after learning a great deal from my internship experience in a local design consultancy. I am looking to enter a University to further my design studies, what are my chances of getting into a good school? Please give me some feedback and critiques are more than welcome. :slight_smile:


Great improvement Shawn! I see a lot of new work from the older Issuu that you posted and a much nicer presentation. Do you mean Masters or transfer to another school? It says you are in your current school from 2012-present.

Some things:

  • The Doub headphones could definitely use some process and setup. I’m sure you had some different ideas and then came to the current detachable bluetooth headphones idea – what were these ideas? Who / what market is it for?

  • On the headphones and Tochi torch, I think the “color options” coauld be condensed to one page. They are good to see but aren’t worth almost half of the slides.

  • Like the headphones, it would help to show that you explored more before CADing the bike. This is even more so with bikes, since so much of transportation is 2D exploration before 3D. I liked how you did it with the SecondSkin prosthetic – organizing your work into 3 concept paths (and it can help to highlight which path you took and why) – that approach would work well for the other projects also.

  • The sketches and 3d renderings in your “sketch” section are weaker than the actual projects. I am guessing you did these before the rest. I think a separate section can be nice, but not if it is dragging the rest down. I also wanted to see what the thumbnail for that category was, but the actual sketch wasn’t in there!

  • Some models would be great. I am not a big model-maker so I understand that you are focusing on other things, and you want to show what you want to get hired for. However, some foam / cardboard / foamcore works-like models (not finished appearance models) could help validate a lot of these projects. Tochi would not be hard to do with some cardboard pipes!

  • I mainly looked at the Behance, but the “reveal” function on Wix is dangerous! What if someone glosses over that small text and thinks that you only have 3 images per project?

Good luck!

Hi and thanks for your feedback, will improve on them like from your suggestion. I am currrently taking a diploma programme and thus I am trying to apply for a degree. Really appreciate your feedback and thanks! :slight_smile: