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Please critique: my Portfolio/Website Portfolio

Oct 2 '13 15 Last Comment
Haris AyoubHaris Ayoub
Oct 2, 13 9:33 pm

Hey all!

I have been applying for jobs lately...with little success :( lol

Just wanted to get some general feedback from others. It would be helpful for me.

 

Please click the following link:

http://issuu.com/harisayoub/docs/haris_ayoub_architecture_design_por

and the website:

http://www.harisayoub.com

 

 

Thank you in advance!!

Any input is greatly appreciated.

 

Sagar ChitrakarSagar Chitrakar
Oct 2, 13 10:43 pm

Hey Harish

Here are some feedbacks from my side

  1. You may want to work on a little bit on the very first page. It looks a little bit narcissistic in my view with your portrait (I don't know if you're trying to show your sketching skills by this means though),but it doesn't go along. Moreover, those random blue boxes alongside the icons of the softwares that you know, is not a fit. Making a cleaner, minimal CV look alike would be a wiser choice and yes your portrait may fit along there since you won't have too many things for distractions.
  2. If I were you, I would remove the blue boxes overplay around the page numbers. They're distracting from the whole spread.
  3. I really love how the project starts, even though the render looks a bit "raw". Then the interest fades away as the renders doesn't looked polished. And there's no breathing space in the spread. I wish you would only put few images rather than your entire thing. 
  4. You may want to put captions in every possible relevant images. As you can see on page 14, as a viewer I don't even a clue on what I'm looking at. I know it's a sectional axonometric and you're trying to show how it looks like when you remove an exterior wall but then putting a caption and some label will really help on what you're trying to convey


You still need a lot of editing and filtering out for a viewer to grab his attention even reach the middle of the spread. I'm sorry if I sound a little bit harsh but then that's my viewpoint.

Best of luck

natematt
Oct 3, 13 12:23 am

A few quick comments…
1. I think the cover does a disservice to the rest of the portfolio, which has some decent content but could still use a lot of work.
2. Agreed with Sagar on all his points.
3. I might recommend trying to put the same portfolio together, but use 1/4 -1/3 of the content.
Good luck! Keep working!

shangtsung
Oct 3, 13 10:58 am

Hey thanks for the feedback and advice fellas!

@sagar:

I appreciate the detailed critique, thank you. I completely agree with all your point. That self portrait i had in that first page really was meant to illustrate my drawing skills but it does seem to come across as narcissism lol  ill take care of it!

the captions was something i didn't think about, glad you pointed that out.

@natematt

I like the idea of chopping it down some, does feel crammed! lol would you please elaborate on how the cover disservices the portfolio? 

Roshi
Oct 3, 13 12:00 pm

Haris,

Very nice portfolio. A couple small things:

In your "about me" paragraph, it looks like the text is cut off (maybe my screen didnt load it properly). You should be able to tell if you try to read it through.

For your full-spreads (most title pages for each project), I would consider making the page-number boxes a little transparent. That light-blue stands out very strong in some cases, particularly on page 1, 7, 15, 25, etc, and takes attention away from the drawing. Keep the blue and the page number, but make the blue box a little transparent (50ish %?), so as to put less emphasis on the number and make the spread more whole.

Content wise - Take it for what its worth, and I'm sure you've thought about it a lot more than I did, but on page 11 and 12, when you list program as "shared" vs "semi-shared" and "private" vs "semi-private", it actually confused me at first glance. Generally, a space is either private or public. Semi-something will probably mean its public (or if you prefer the term shared). Just my opinion, though.

Lastly, I would consider thinking about renaming your last section, "creative work", to maybe "other work" or "other media" or something of that nature - the reason is, ALL your work is creative, and when I read that, it almost tell me that your previous work shown didn't qualify as creative. I may be wrong on this one though, just thinking out loud.

I like page 17 the most. That is a beautiful drawing.

Good luck with your search! Remember that when looking for jobs, the portfolio doesn't take as much of an importance as when you are applying to graduate school. Companies will focus more on your resume (experience + software capabilities) + cover letter + approach vs your student work. At least that is what my personal experience was, and what my boss told me after he hired me.

J5LO
Oct 3, 13 12:21 pm

Very nice work - I think it represents a wide skill set.

You need to cut down on a lot of this content though - many of your pages are overwhelming and take away from your drawings and renderings. You need to limit the amount of content per page - let your best images stand on their own and give them some space to breath!

Given
Oct 3, 13 12:25 pm

Too many unimportant renderings. When you are an architect presenting to a client, that rendering of a bed in a bedroom might be useful (or something like that), but as a portfolio piece its not something a potential employer cares about. Take all your projects and pick 3-4 of the best renderings (per project) and then dump the rest and replace them with actual drawings and diagrams. I was a little distressed to see that hotel project with extremely conceptual plans that dont even include stairs, while the rendering model is so highly detailed. Cant you just take some cuts from that model to have a much more detailed set of drawings?

Also its a little strange to see you not using your digital painting talents in the renderings themselves, which would be much more interesting than just the standard out of the box renders. Though I am highly reluctant to suggest a rework of renderings in a portfolio, because they are only the hook, not the meat of architecture. Fancy renderings in a portfolio will make an employer say something like "oooh nice rendering" in an interview, but the reality is that most firms outsource their renderings anyways. They aren't hiring you for that unless you specifically want to be that guy in the office.

All that said, I should also say I feel like maybe you are in this stage of applying for jobs when you are not hearing back from people and you start to second guess yourself (Ive been there each and every time I switch jobs). Just because you dont hear back from a firm doesnt mean that it has anything to do with you, it probably doesnt. And really you could spend weeks perfecting your portfolio when that time could be better spent trying to leveraging an alumni connection or other connection into a job, which is much more nervewracking but carries so much more potential.

Paul van den BerghPaul van den Bergh
Oct 3, 13 3:34 pm

I think you should limit your digital portfolio to 5 - 10 pages of your best work, that show the kind of work you want to do and that you're good at. Every page must blow their minds, be it one big render or one big drawing, section, detail, whatever. Offices don't even bother to go through such a huge portfolio. Just make sure that when you get invited for an interview you have everything with you, hardcopy, and with these comments worked out. And as far as I know offices don't care for photography, and most of them don't care about sketches, so you might want to think twice for adding them to the digital portfolio.

Caitlin CopelandCaitlin Copeland
Oct 3, 13 3:52 pm

All good points here.

I want to see more white of the page, let your images breathe! And don't use so much "other" graphic, like the blue boxes, etc, I feel like it detracts from your actual work.

As far as the sketches comment above - I think it's important to show how you think when presenting your work as well. I like the project sketches. I think sketching included in the portfolio should show how to arrive at your design rather than that you can draw a person or whatever.

Paul van den BerghPaul van den Bergh
Oct 3, 13 4:20 pm

Ow yes excuse me let me elaborate: the random sketches at the back of the portfolio nobody really cares about. Sketches belonging to a specific project showing not only sketching skills but telling a story: Yes, include them, definitely!

And I just checked your site, and think back why you made the index/frontpage the way you did (because it's exactly what I said in my previous post ;) )

carlo88
Oct 3, 13 5:24 pm

I really like the portfolio, some nice projects in there, but some good advice in this this thread too. I will add that you should watch out for spelling, what particularly caught my eye was "lazer" in your CV. It made me want to put things in my eyes :)

Paul van den BerghPaul van den Bergh
Oct 3, 13 5:30 pm

@Carlo: Lasers are a perfect for that.

natematt
Oct 3, 13 7:01 pm

My previous comment about the cover.... I don't think that a vague black and white silhouette is a strong way to start, and i don't think it says anything about anything we see in the rest of the portfolio.

I am also not fond of the way the various elements of the cover go together, I think they clash.

Haris AyoubHaris Ayoub
Oct 4, 13 8:11 am

Thanks again for all the comments guys! lots of very useful tips here

@Roshi

Thank you for the all the details! The blue squares around the page numbers was bugging me too, and reducing the opacity does seem like the way to go. And you're right, all the working in the portfolio is technically "creative work" haha, I'll have to change that too

@J5LO

Thanks, Breathing space is something ill have to work on this time. A WHOLE lot of trimming needs to be done haha

@Given

Hey you hit the nail right on the head. Like some other people said, i would definitely benefit from having less content, especially the renderings. And i don't exactly know if i want to be "that guy" in the office only there for renderings lol

that last part about your post man...It does get pretty tough applying to hundreds of places and not hearing back. You really cant pin point the problem. And unfortunately, networking is challenging, at least for me SMH

@Paul van den Bergh and Caitlin Copeland

Thanks you two! I know some sketches i have especially towards the end are non related to architecture but I just wanted to show depth in skills. I listed "freelance Illustrator" on my CV so it was only right to show some drawing i have done for some clients. My assumption would be that firms looking at the portfolio would view it as versatility but I guess these sketches would be a double edge sword lol. You never know!

@carlo88

Glad you like it :) and I cant believe i didn't catch that! Would have gone unnoticed if you hadn't pointed that out, thank you!

@natematt

ill have to look into that, always helps to have another person's insight

natematt
Oct 5, 13 12:59 am

Btw, the need for reduction of content isn't just about breathing space, you also need to build a hierarchy of elements to help explain the project.

will gallowaywill galloway
Oct 5, 13 1:44 am

front pages for each project are nice and simple.  following pages tend to be cluttered and unclear. I like the former better, but don't find the mismatch so offputting - but the work itself is not communicating very much about you, which is more of an issue.  The renderings are relatively normal, so you wouldn't be the render guy in most offices anyway.  But it is hard to see that you have an opinion about your own work, or any kind of intention.  So it is hard to imagine what work you would be good at and where you might fit in.

In my office we mostly look for intention. The work doesn't need to be great, but getting some kind of vibe about what sort of work inspires the people who apply to us is really the heart of things when we discuss who we might hire. If you can find a way to make a statement you might stand out more.  Currently you seem to be technically proficient but slightly distant from what you are doing. I am sure that is not the case, but it is what I am seeing at first glance.

I find the entire portfolio is concluded quite perfectly with a section called creative work, which is cool enough, but seems to suggest that everything before it was not not part of your creative output. I guess that is not your intention, but I don't find myself disagreeing with the sentiment. 

None of the above is about white space or even design content, its about pure communication.  In times like we live in, being good at expressing who you are, and what you want to be doing, is pretty important. Wanting a job is not so inspiring for us.

schmoozing is also good. But I'll be honest, only one of our current staff were introduced to us. They otherwise came to us by the inter-tubes and we chose them based on portfolio.  Doesn't mean schmoozing isn't important, just not a solution without some goods to back things up with...

those are my pennies worth of advice anyway.

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