Recent Grad Who Would LOVE Some Portfolio Feedback


As stated above, I’m a very recent graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Industrial Design Program and am on the job hunt. So far I have had a miniscule amount of luck with the applications I’ve sent out and it has led me to reassess my work.

My portfolio can be accessed at
My portfolio site and entire breadth of work can be viewed at

I’m looking for feedback on
-clarity of products, is it understandable what problem I was trying to address?
-level of skill, do you see areas that I need to work up, sketch, rendering, CAD form
-graphics, what is the first response, is it boring, ugly, gr8, meh?
-gaps, do you think I’m missing a type of product
-any first reactions or thoughts that pop up

Thank you very much for your time!!!

Nina Zheng

Hey Nina,

Welcome to the boards, I hope you get a lot of good feedback here!

  1. You may want to edit your link to the website, it seems to be incorrect :slight_smile:
  2. Where are you sending your portfolio to? What are your goal companies/industries to work for? This will help us give you more direct feedback! (First read would be furniture/housewares is this correct?)

Everyone is going to have a different opinion on this, so take what you can get and distill it down to what the common consensus is! Here’s some of my initial thoughts that I think you can improve on:

  • Resume is a bit misleading under the experience category. Experience typically refers to professional experience (we want to see where you’ve worked previously) and then maybe add some sort of misc. category for the other opportunities you’ve participated in. Both are valuable, but very different. Ultimately, splitting your student and professional experiences will make it easier for your viewer to comprehend at a quick glance. On a side note, I think your interests show your personality and sense of humor, which you should inject more into your “about” section.

  • I like that you physically made a lot of things, prototypes, models, etc.

  • It seems like you made a lot of things, but left out the story, and the reason for them to exist. For example, what lead you to make the furniture.craft project? Were you at a cafe and found a problem? Were you inspired by a certain decor? Throughout your first 4 projects I mostly wanted to know why you made these things and why they look and function the way they do. I’m missing a connection to you, and to a potential consumer, in some cases I’m even missing the problems you’re trying to solve.

  • From a skill standpoint I think you’re close, it seems like your strengths are in hands-on making vs. sketching, you may want to highlight this more and explain what solutions you’re exploring. For example, in your bottle project did you explore how you might keep the coffee from heating up the water compartment? In your mockups did you try filling up the compartments with two liquids or how intuitive your mechanism is in order to switch between the two liquids?

  • Overall I’m left with a lot of questions by the end of your projects and I’m wondering if you solved them. From a presentation perspective I think it’s important that you anticipate what someone may question about your project and then answer it preemptively in the next slide.

I hope that’s helpful,


Thank you so much for the response!

I fixed that broken link, great catch! I have been sending my portfolio to a multitude of consultancies. I worked in a product development firm over last summer and love being able to work in a variety of areas. I really love furniture and housewares and hope to get there at some point. I’m worried about starting off in an area that is too narrow and have the impression that by working in a consultancy, I would be able to have more exposure to different projects, skill, and designers.

I have been sending out the portfolio to a few furniture and lighting companies with little success. The response I usually get is that someone with more manufacturing experience is desired.

The resume feedback is awesome! I see now how unclearly it all may read, will clear that up. I’ll find a way to be more descriptive. It’s been a struggle for me to showcasing enough personality without adding so much that it’s exhausting. I do agree that I really need to flush all that out and get a stronger sense of how to showcase my design philosophy.

The biggest problem I have is the lack of clarity of projects when I’m not able to pitch it! I’m frustrated to find that once again this is the case, but I am very appreciative of the advice you gave. I’ll have to look at them and patch them all up. I really focused on the story of Clamp, Adjust, and Radiant, but the feedback is that the problem is not clear in these cases?

Thank you once again for your time Aaron!



I only looked at your website. Overall I thought you had some strong work. As mentioned before I like that you are physical prototyping a lot, and I find your solutions tend to be thoughtful, like the adjusting table for example. Personally I’d like to see a bit more form exploration. It seems like once you have the idea you lock in quickly (at least that is the impression the site gives me I should say). I’d like to see a projected with a diverge and explore>converge> diverge and iterate>converge and refine type path. I think the Radiant final render could be much better.


Hi Nina,

Your portfolio is of decent quality. The renders work but you can improve them in terms of product presentation. For example the hero shot of the clamp does not really communicate much. Your materials work well and overall your presentations are elegant.

Your product ideas are good, I would like to see more exploration so you can move towards truly clever solutions from multiple perspectives.
For example your table for Umbra is nice in form and proportion, but then you are interrupting the work surface and it can be much more clever and fit to the Umbra brand if you integrate smart features towards an expansion of functionality, making it more surprising.

Also I think your dish clamp is an example of a good design project but leaving the concept phase too soon to make a truly clever product.

With the running harness I don’t think you have a product because 1. The market is saturated by other brands 2. Those harnesses have more body core coverage providing what the additional value of such a product is: weatherproofing and 3. Some shirts have retroreflective films on the arm patches which provide more visibility anyway simply because they move much more. Also you need to work on your sewing skills and see to work with more high-tech solutions such as sewfree or seamless construction and other bonding methods if you can.

We can’t really see what you are or where you are going in the design world, but your presentations work.

BTW there is one precious spelling mistake on p.2 of your portfolio.