What is my portfolio missing?

TLDR UPDATE: new portfolio here: Portfolio Sept. 2012 by Jacob Rynkiewicz - Issuu

Hi guys,
I’ve been out of school for a few years now, and I still haven’t had a lot of REAL industrial design work outside of a few freelance jobs here and there. I feel like my portfolio looks stale and still has too many student projects.

I’d like to get into consumer electronics design (or really ANY area of design at this point), but I’m not sure if my portfolio has enough ‘traditional’ design projects in it yet. What kind of skills do I still need to showcase?


I’ll cut right to it. You ideas are clever, but not necessarily shown well.

Overall, you sketching is pretty rough. Below the level I would accept, or there would have to be some other highly developed skill to offset it.

I really like the idea behind the watch, but I find the renderings very muddy and hard to read. The only thing on the renderings that popps is the chrome trim which is decorative. It takes my eye away from the cleverness of the design. Some strategically used color and some simplified graphics of how the interface works would really help here. Who wears this watch? What brand is it and why? Show me these things.

The customized keyboard design somehow does not show off the fact that you can have a variety of faceplates. I would add a page that shows a series of faceplates, colors, graphics, materials, patterns. Show how those different CMF’s relate to different people with a simple image of a person next to their personalized keyboard x 4-6. All the sketches are kind of at the same level, the first set are just not good. You need to have a few images of this project in a final state, beautifully rendered, and you need all of the graphics on the keys. It feels a little lazy otherwise.

I would axe the incense burner. You need a project with complex form, but this is not it. It doesn’t feel grounded in any relevant trends in interior design or furniture and needs to. Who is this for? Where does it sell?

The speakers are good. But why this colors? Why the sea anemone? Who is it for? Show it in context …

Miss USA crown: get a full size image of it on Miss USA’s head!

I hope some of that is helpful. I understand your situation must be frustrating.

Thanks, Yo! After looking at these projects for so long, sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s not coming across clearly. I really appreciate you taking the time to look over my work!

Not a problem, I totally understand. It is hard to work in a vacuum. Kudos for looking for feedback.

I think I may have to go back to school for my drawing. I’ve been trying to get an ID job for the last 4 years, and that always comes back as the biggest sticking point. It just seems like I’m going to be stuck pumping CAD if I can’t get better at sketching and presentation.

I did a little research last night and found this school that does both online and on-site classes for drawing, illustration and entertainment design:


Have you heard of this school, or do you have any you think I should look at?

Have you check out any of the instructional dvd’s that you can obtain from the gnome website? I believe that you can also attend class there.
also you can look at http://www.jdorr.com they have sketching workshops you can attend along with an instructional dvd as well.

Where are you located? have you thought about hooking up with a mentor?

what have you been doing to improve your sketching?

Maybe consider a Hybrid style of CAD and Sketch

Also keep in Mind that when YO says the ideas are not necessarily show well(correct me if i am wrong) it doesn’t mean its all about sketching. It is about the information and visuals you have created to convey the design and the various elements.

Chevis W

I live in Chicago now, but going to a good out-of-state school isn’t completely out of the question. The Gnomon tutorials may be a good option. Looking at their site, it looks like they have a fair amount of design-specific drawing videos. Honestly, I’m not sure how I’d pay for ANOTHER art school degree, so tutorials are probably a better option than school. I’ve been getting feedback from a few friends in the industry recently, so I feel like that’s a good start.

I think this year I’m going to really try to improve my sketching and presentation skills, and not worry so much about every individual idea. Do you have a method for getting yourself to practice your drawing skills and keep it interesting?

Hi guys,
Since I posted my portfolio back in June, I’ve cleaned out a lot of the chaff and added 1 new design project which has a lot more sketching and refinement than my other projects. Take a look and let me know what you think! Here’s a teaser of the new project:

I’ve also updated my coroflot page with the same material: Jake Rynkiewicz, Industrial Designer in Chicago, IL

Definitely makes a big difference Jake!


I like the new project that you added to the portfolio, but I feel like you are telling it’s story backwards. You have shown me all about what it is and how it works without showing me what got you to that point. And then afterwards, you show your sketches and models. Once I’ve already seen the object, how it’s made takes a definite backseat, which is what you are trying to highlight at this point in your career.

Also, the updates to the keyboard project are a little better, but I think I might consider replacing it with one of your student projects. I know that its an actual client project and so you are proud of that, but the story is weak, and you only go about 1/10th into the actual design process. You’ll learn that EVERY (a slight exaggeration) client you have will say that they want something to look apple-esque. I might consider putting your tabletop light student project back in. It’s more interesting and more complete.

Just my thoughts. I hope it’s not too harsh. Trust that it’s all in the interest of helping you get a better portfolio.

I heard from somebody that one technique to presenting a concept is to show off the final product before you give the back story. Maybe I took it a bit too far on this one? I might just have 1 nice render upfront, and then move the rest of the walkthrough to the end.

I agree that the keyboard project seems a bit incomplete. I may just scrap that project when I have something else to take its place. I actually used the flashlight as a jumping off point for the projector project. Maybe I could make both products part of a product family?

Jake- nice update!