Would love some critques on my Portfolio before I update it.

Title pretty much sums it up, I have some free time this summer and I am toying with the idea of a complete portfolio overhaul, or at least a soild update. Anyway heres what I have as of end of winter quarter Sophomore year. I have an indepth powertool project to add and hopefully something from my current internship (confidentiality agreements and what not). Anyway comments on my portfolio and skills in general would be great.

my portfolio


22 pages? there is alot of white space, think about your order get rid of the poor footwear rendering on the front page, keep it to you best work, have a look around on coroflot for what your peers have in there portfolios.

Thanks for the reply. Shoe rendering is out, I’m not really sure why that was there in the first place its not very good. I will probably take at least two projects out. Shorten it up, but I think as far as pages per project, It would be hard to condense without making it difficult for a reader to quickly understand my process.

do you really need a whole page for some text to define the problem?

Man I kinda feel like an ass asking for advice than defending what I did, but I guess thats a crit?

I think I do need to the page. What do you do in your portfolio, how should I set up the problem?

It seems like clearly explaining what I started out trying to do and showing what I did (first and last page) are the most important. I could maybe condense the middle on a few projects.

I guess I dont understand why 22 pages is too much. If someone has a limited amount of time to look at your portfolio you would want to make it as clear as possible and condensing to onto a page would make them miss a lot of information.

Maybe I have the completely wrong approach.

Could you post your portfolio so I could see a different approach? Or maybe just suggest a way to condense without loosing information.

22 pages on its own is not the issue. its how you use the space.

ill comment most on the layout and organization, and leave the content for others to get further into.

i agree that there’s lots of wasted space. and it doesnt come off “minimalist” if that’s your intent. ive said it before (someone else made up the quote, i just use it lots)-

“there’s a fine line between minimalism and boring-ism”.

your layout to me, honestly says boring with not much thought in deisgn.

the page titles are all over the place. im not sure if the project title is supposed to be the main title and the text to the left at the top the subheading, but nothing in layout, or weight gives the heirarchy i think you intend. not to mention that when flipping through, the pages titles overall get lost so i dont really know what im looking at…

you have a least 3 different fonts going on, for no reason. choose one font, and different weights, sizes and it will instantly help make a more cohesive look.

rearrange so at least the second page is something interesting to make a big hit. your first 4 pages are boring cv stuff, intro, problem statement, etc. most people would put it down before even getting to the good stuff (sketches, design work).

process pics are good to show, put just arranged on a page as you have them (soap proj) , it looks like a powerpoint slide. play with arrangement, size of pics, crop them, give titles so i know what im seeing.

get rid of the problem statement pages (have it on the same page as the design), get rid of the thank you page, consolidate other pages. your work will look stronger with more going on.

here’s some of mine to show what im trying to communicate. the problem statement is up top, what i did is on the left, with nice big pics, and still lots of white space (on the main project pages, sketch pages are self-explanatory and fill the page).

first step you’ve taken in asking for advice is a big one. too many people fall in love with their own portfolio and dont even think about how others see it. best test i suggest is to give it to a non-designer. your mom, a friend in another program…etc. do they know what’s going on? do they find it interesting?


Sorry to change subject…

rkuchinsky - Is your portfolio a3 or a4? There’s probably another topic about this somewhere else but what do you guys prefer?

each page is a4. each spread is a3.


what year are you?

So many replies, I sort of forgot I posted this (does core77 have a setting so you can be emailed when people respond to a thread you post in/start?), but I was looking over the portfolio forum to take a break as I continue to work on mine. I really really want to thank everyone for posting advice. Its rather difficult to come by (especially by people that are do look at portfolios as employers).

I would agree that my portfolio is definitely leaning toward boring-ism than minimalism. I was just trying to do something clean and simple (and easy there was definitely a time crunch to get it out), but neglected any kind of wow factor. I think I took for granted the fact that because I am only a Sophomore any work I got would basically be charity, and just spent my time trying to present my work in a clear manner. I feel like it is easier to breeze through a portfolio if there is just a little bit of info on each page, the viewer is not hunting around for project statement while already getting distracted by sketches or other information.

Professors always stress showing process, and I was just trying to force the viewer to see my process a step at a time since some of my skills are not yet what I would like them to be. I guess I over did it.

As I said before I have started reworking my portfolio and I am trying to improve the graphics and layout a lot as well as taking out a few things adding one or two new ones etc. that kind of thing. I’m starting to think I play it too safe all the time and as a student now is the time to mess around and test limits. I need to have more fun with my work.

Oh and Yo to answer your question I finished my Sophomore year and have a few more weeks of work in Boston before I head back for my third year.

Thanks again for all the responses I hope I can get a few more as this gets bumped back to the top.

edit: forgot to say those pages posted up by rkuchinsky are very cool, especially the first one.

Continued work on my portfolio lay out. This is what I think I’m going with for the cover.

whoa way pixelated, well you get the idea, I thnk you can actually read the part in yellow the illustrator file.

I would give it a rethink…its doesn’t really suit the purpose of a front cover. I would stay clear of yellow and the green/white combo as they do not provide enough contrast. what’s with the rainbow too?

There is nothing wrong with simplicity but it’s not as easy to achieve as some people think. It is much easier to add clutter than to edit what does not need to be there. It is a noble goal but it is apparent that you are not very comfortable with type and graphic layout so that is why it ultimately fails. The dead give away that someone is not comfortable with graphics is that the type is usually too large and arbitrarily placed on a page. I would first and foremost encourage you to look at other examples of graphic design. Borrow some graphic design award year books from the school library and look at: scale, proportion, type and relation. How does some graphic designers use these qualities? Nothing on the page should be left to chance. The more work you look at the more you will understand what makes a good layout. You might think to yourself, What do I need to know this for, I’m not a graphic designer. Well, neither am I but these skills (a sense of scale, proportion and relation) can just as well be applied to product design.

Some other comments: loose the artistic (hand studies) drawings and place the CV in the back, if you need to have it in there at all. Also, loose the rainbow, it is confusing. I have a problem with problem statements. Often it appears as an artificial way for a designer to create a problem that really doesn’t exist. Chess has been around since the 15th century and it has gradually evolved and been refined since. There is no problem to solve there. You’re just making another, nice looking, chess set. Be honest about it.

Ok back to the drawing board on the rainbow thing.

Wolfman: I was thinking I could do a bunch of lines and each would translate to a different project like whats below (quick photoshop to show concept). I like the idea, but I agree about the problem with the yellow/green and white.

I definitely struggle with graphic design, being dynamic and simple is very difficult.

Silentstar: Can you recommend any particular books? I have looked at a few “how to make a great portfolio” graphic design books, but they seemed so cheesy.

By the time I apply for a winter quarter job, I will have almost all new work in my portfolio, work that I am proud of, but all the layouts I come up with are still balls.

My ID work is getting so much better every day, and I want to show it, but I’m worried its going to get lost in my awful layout.

Thanks for all the replies, I’m going to figure this out yet.


best advice i can give to develop your graphics skills is - copy.

copy a layout that you like from a magazine, book, website, catalog, etc.

look at the fonts, layout, colors, proportions, spacing, text…

Once you put in your info, change the format, etc, very little of it will be similar, and it will become your own and help your learn what makes it work.

try it and you’ll see how the different elements in graphic design go together. once you are comfortable, you can start combining different features from different layouts, etc and make your own.


My new layout revolves around something like this


Specifically the bent white thing running around. Giant has been using it in all their 07 stuff.

Its funny that you mentioned copying something, because I have been working/thinking on this for a while, and I’m worried it screams, “I think the Giants ad’s are awesome” and to complicate things more, many companies I plan to apply to are bike/cycling related.

As an employer looking at portfolios would it be that bad or just something where you see the connection and more on?

the bent white thing is nice, but maybe a bit distinctive perhaps to copy. still, try it out and see where it takes you. might turn out different after you adjust it to your use. if the companies are in the same industry though and familiar with it, it might certainly work against you.

since you arent that comfortable with graphics, i’d suggest looking at something less distinctive, and more straightforward. with a portfolio, especially, you dont want something that will overshadow your work (if its so awsome in graphics), or bring it down (if not executed well). also better IMHO to keep it less “trendy” and more to the point and clean.

I tend to look at mostly magazine layout for inspiration for portfolio design. The layout is usually very functional (as your portfolio should be), and is not that “memorable” so comparions wont be as obvious. usually just a good combo of type, pics, color, and heirarchy of information (title, pull quotes, text, bylines, etc.).


Thanks for sticking with the topic for so long. I’m getting a ton out of this little discussion.

I think I’m going with something simple that can be easily executed to leave more time for some glossy beautiful photographs of my work.

I am going to try to get my portfolio updated in the next two weeks (ha, one can hope). I just saw crank brothers http://crankbrothers.com/ new stuff and I must work for them. My skills might not be the greatest, but talk about enthusiasm. I love that effing company so much.

Anyway thanks again and back to work.