Mark Howe Portfolio surgery

When I was signing up for this, I was pretty nervous because all I could think about was that I didn't have enough work...or enough Good work in my portfolio.

I chose to speak to Mark because I has previously been to his talk that he'd done back in November and in addition to the fact that his design practice was kind of close to mine, he was also really enthusiastic and knowledgable.

When it came to the actual portfolio surgery, I wasn't too disappointed in my portfolio but I was aware that it needed some work and hoped that Mark could give me some direction.

One of the key things I noted from his talk in November was to never say 'What's wrong with it?' say, 'Where can I improve?' and although I thought i'd drilled this into my head - as soon as I sat down and he asked what I wanted to get out of the talk, I said 'Advice on...where I'm going wrong.' Duh? Thankfully, I corrected myself straight away!

Issues raised/discussed:

- My billionaire, lyrics as type piece - he suggested that I could actually Make it into a real thing - take it off the paper so to speak. He liked it as it was, but it is just done on photoshop so to actually make it out of a gold material would give it a much more tangible, aesthetic quality.

- On the whole, presentation needs some work. It wasn't awful but I could do relatively simple things to make it a lot better. Mark suggested I look at other peoples portfolios - go on the websites of the designers that I am inspired by and look at how they present their work - what works and what doesn't? He showed me some of the techniques he used and gave me some 'cheats/tricks'.
The presentation needs to compliment the work but not overpower it...or in my instance underpower it (by just putting a flat image on basic printer paper.

- Give the pieces a context relevant to the content i.e. the 150 pens piece that I showed him, he said looked like it would go on the wall of a design studio so put it in that context (or make it look like its in that context) but in contrast with that, the cockpit poster that I did should be on a more relevant context like the wall of a venue or flyposts.

- Photograph products (such as my cassette bag) Really really well. He really liked the bag, but I can't really take that to all interviews etc. so it needs to be photographed so well that it looks as good as the real thing, including texture etc.

- The identity that I had applied to the portfolio - doesn't reflect my design practice - comparing it with the portfolio I took along with me, I totally agree as it was all hand-drawn pieces and the identity was vectorised SO this needs addressing.
He mentioned how he felt that my line quality was a strong, consistant part of my work so my identity should reflect that - to the extent that I could just handwrite all of my business cards (time consuming but cheap...maybe)


At the end of it...I was extremely happy that I chose to sign up for one and it showed me how useful they can be. It gave me confidence in my work and highlighted areas that I could improve.


I understand how successful Indexhibit is...and I can see why, because it does look good but I just couldn't work it out on my own!

So I went for the next best thing that I could think of - blogger. You can edit it so much to make it not look like a blog I thought I would have a go, so below is my first attempt.

The main things I want to change are:

- The 'favicon' - so that its not the blogger sign, as that makes it obvious that its blogger
- The layout of the images - I think it needs some work but at the moment its not too awful.

New Identity

After the initial business cards that I'd designed...I altered it slightly by adding the paint drip - looking back, I'm not sure why I thought that was a good idea because I don't use spray paint?

So before we came back after Christmas and before the portfolio review week - I needed a 're-think' of the identity. I wanted to focus mainly on the type design and I'm really happy with how the final shaded/3d ones looks.

Below is the business card of which I printed a few out to take along to the portfolio review - and as I'm still using the A3 clear plastic folder we were given as an initial portfolio, I re-arranged it to fit in the side panel of the folder.