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Ferris State DSGN Portfolio Critique and Review

A branding system/user experience for the Ferris State Graphic Design Program 2017 Portfolio Review Event and Critique.

Branding/Web Design/UX


For years, Ferris’ graphic design program has held a portfolio event. What was originally meant to be a professional critique of student work to prepare them for the industry quickly became a competitive job fair.


Create two different events: one for professional critique, the other a more casual job fair and event that prospective students, family, and alumni can attend. Differentiate the events from each other, but unite them with a branding system to reflect the values of the Ferris State University design program.

Target User

Design Professional

An influencer in the design industry. He's looking for fresh new talent, and also wants to give back to the design community by prepping students for a future in the industry.


Concepts were brainstormed for the events. They had to work with each other to be cohesive, be able to differentiate between the two events, and overall show what makes Ferris a unique graphic design program.

Mind For Design: A focus on process. Ferris emphasizes the path to the final product, separating it from other design programs in the country.

Where Are We Headed?: Are we ready for the design industry? A concept playing off the fact that the portfolio review has moved “up north.” It asks industry professionals, "has Ferris done a good job preparing its students for the real world?"

Final Concept

The “Where Are We Headed?” concept was chosen as it was the most flexible and cohesive concept of the two. The outdoor theme tied in with “moving up north”, and the “packing” of tangible and intangible design items related to the graphic design program.

Save The Date/Invite/Reminder

For the portfolio review a save-the-date email, invitation, and reminder were sent out. For the critique, as it is more personal, a physical mail invitation in the form of a map was sent out, along with an email reminder.

Physical Invite

Each map invite was personalized based on the guest. The invite prompts them to “help us find our way”, and opens up to an illustrated map. The map was tailored to each guest’s workplace. The red dot symbolizes where the guest currently is, and the green pin shows where the critique is being held (Bar Divani in downtown Grand Rapids.)

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Critique Website

The critique site is a scrolling one-page website that has basic event information, social media links, and a link to RSVP to the exclusive event.

Portfolio Review Website

The portfolio site features event information, links to student portfolios, directions on how to get to the event, a link for feedback, and social media links.

The social media includes Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Guests can learn more about the program and “meet” the students involved.

The Critique

The critique is a professional event for industry leaders to critique Ferris design seniors’ work. The event was held this year at Gallery Divani in downtown Grand Rapids for a more classy, personal feeling.

At this event, the graphic design program can receive feedback to better prepare its students for the real world, and students get advice to improve their portfolios for interviews.

Portfolio Review

The review is the same event it has always been, but in a different place. This time, the event is held at the University Center in Big Rapids. Here, professionals can take the time to review student portfolios and search for new talent.

Later in the evening, prospective students are welcome to look at portfolios, friends and family can congratulate their loved ones in the program, and alumni can catch up. There is also a tour so that prospective students can see what its like to take graphic design at Ferris.