Comments - good or bad - wanted

flowersandchocolate's picture

OK, so I'm setting myself up for a fall but here goes.

I'm busy creating my CV in order to get some freelance work. I want to use it to get other design agencies to use me for the specialist information design work I do, and help them understand the value in getting me involved rather than trying to blunder through it themselves.

So far I have reached what is contained in this PDF.

I have a few concerns about it, but I figure by getting some other feedback, I could see if they're founded. I would like any comments anyone has, particularly around whether the message of it is clear.

Thank you in advance


fnc_1_6.pdf31.37 KB
Kristina Drake's picture

I'm not entirely sure this fits my idea of a cv. I have always tried to keep the number of pages down to one or two.

It is written clearly and I like that you list the reasons, and I like the personal no bull**** tone, but I'm not convinced they need to be so big. Would it not be possible to do something similar but reduce the number of pages? Somehow I get the impression that by taking up so much space to say so little you are using smoke and mirrors. But that's me.

You are missing a period on page 4. The orange subheads on page 3 are not consistent in the way the others are. Page 4 has more impact.

I also would think you don't need the cover page, and your contact info should be a little more prominent and closer to the beginning.

(my two cents!)

pattyfab's picture

I agree totally with Kristina. Keep it to one or two pages. Page 2 in particular says nothing. I'm not sure as an art director I'd even get past that page. It's always been a personal pet peeve of mine when a designer - or anybody - feels the need to overexplain themselves. Show, don't tell. You spend a lot of pages telling us we should hire you because you're different and then we get to the actual c.v. (page 6!) and see nothing different at all. If the point is that you communicate information more clearly than anybody else, this resume really doesn't convey that, it feels like a lot of hot air.

AndrewSipe's picture

Is your layout a common size in the UK? I'm not as familiar with the UK standard paper sizes. I would suggest staying within a more common print size, especially if you're not sending out physical copies yourself.

I would say this CV is anything but simplistic.

HaleyFiege's picture

Where are the clever visual depictions of your skillz?

flowersandchocolate's picture

Thanks for the comments so far.

I have intentionally moved away from the more normal CV route (I have one of those as well – it looks like most of the others!) to make this more of a piece of personal marketing. The PDF stuff will be accompanied by case studies of my work which will meet the "show don't tell" point, and also (in my opinion) negate all the usual qualifications garbage.

In my experience, when I explain what I do to other designers, they don't tend to see beyond it being "a few forms and stuff" so I do feel the need to explain that the work I do is far more complex – perhaps I shouldn't be so paranoid and credit people with a little more intelligence.

No it's not a common size, but I'm printing, binding and mailing them myself so that's not really an issue.

Keep the comments coming, and thanks again.

HaleyFiege's picture

You do visual representations of data correct?

flowersandchocolate's picture

Before I answer that Haley, can I ask if you read through the PDF. That's not an agressive question, just curious if that was the impression it gave you?



pattyfab's picture

The problem - both here and on your web site (which is nicely designed btw) - is it's a lot of words describing what you do and no visual examples. This is why people are confused. You're trying to present yourself as someone who communicates clearly and I feel like I'm getting spin and no substance.

HaleyFiege's picture

Okay I understand now what you do from the pdf.
In general I think the lack of graphic is hurting you. I was very impressed by the work on your personal website but that took some hunting to find. You taked a lot about what you do, but don't show it.

And I agree it needs to be shorter, or at least the first page should get to the point quickly and entice you into reading more.

flowersandchocolate's picture

OK, here's the problem I have. My previous employers, while being a great name to have on your CV, won't let me use the work I did for them over the space of 7 years to promote my business facade in any way, hence no work on the website. It is however perfectly acceptable to use them to promote myself – it's a fine line I know!

This is part of the reason I'm looking to freelance, to have some work I can put my own name to and use to promote myself as a stand alone business in time.

The full cv can now be found at Please excuse the lack of consistency and missing fonts within the work examples, not reached that stage yet!

I'm getting the feeling that the first page could be done away with completely – it is the last page I put in after all.

aluminum's picture

"OK, here’s the problem I have. My previous employers, while being a great name to have on your CV, won’t let me use the work I did for them over the space of 7 years to promote my business facade in any way"

Get yourself to a lawyer, stat!

You should be able to circumvent that issue legally without too much trouble...the least of which is to simply call yourself a freelancer rather than a design business. Instead of saying 'we' all over your web site, say 'I'.

Mister M's picture

Hey Robert, any recommended reading for those interested in information design such as myself? Anythig will do, but would prefer a sort of 'how to' if such a thing exists. Many Thanks


Nick Cooke's picture

I'm sorry Robert, but I couldn't even be bothered to read the first five pages properly. It just seems to encapsulate everything that's wrong with Britain today: - Blah, blah, blah, all talk and obfuscation. You could try working for New Labour.

As people don't have much time to plough through CV's it's quite annoying to read a load of bull, looking for CV information, and then get to the last page to find there isn't much anyway. Prospective employers may feel cheated somehow, and dismiss you before even giving you a chance.

I wouldn't dismiss 'all the usual qualifications garbage', as this is what people are looking for in a CV.

BTW, I don't mind the format; it's unusual, but keep the info brief and relevant to yourself.

Nick Cooke

Cameron Williams's picture

I like the approach and overall design philosophy, but I'm somewhat less than thrilled about your substitution of en-dashes with word spaces on either side for properly set em-dashes with thin spaces.

That's a bit of traditionalist nit-picking, however, I do think you could make the presentation a bit shorter, which would improve it as a sales tool.

pattyfab's picture

Cameron -

I'm with you, but on the other side of the pond (the U.K.) spaced en-dashes seem to be the norm over thin-spaced em-dashes, as I learned recently in a heated debate on the subject.

Kirs10's picture

Perhaps it will have a different impact as a printed and bound piece, but as a 25 page PDF - I (an art director who hires freelance designers) loose interest by page 4. It may be cultural, CVs are kept quite short here in the States, one or two pages. Mine is 2 pages and sometimes I feel that is too long so I also designed a more succinct version. Since your specialty is organizing information in meaningful ways, why don't you design your CV including 'all the usual qualifications garbage' with the same kind of dedication and professionalism as you have with your paying clients. Your current PDF reminds me of an episode of the old Bob Newhart show, one of the characters writes a book, but he only types one word on each page. He's excited to receive feedback from the publisher because the envelope is so thick. Until he discovers that they too only typed one word on each page, and he has received a 10 page rejection form.

flowersandchocolate's picture

for anyone still following this thread - my final result was to re-order the information into:
1 What I do
2 My experince
3 get in touch
4 all the work samples
5 the other stuff

oh, and with a lot less text – but more white space!

flowersandchocolate's picture


I can probably recommend lots of things. Drop me an email with a few more specifics and I'll see what I can point you to.



timd's picture

I am confused, are these supposed to be viewed as spreads, is the wide margin on the inside?
I would look at rewriting or adjusting the layout of some of the copy to avoid orphans
On the page with this copy
There aren’t many
designers who do what
I do; using my experience
to complement yours
helps you look ever so

I would change the line breaks, maybe to this
There aren’t many
designers who do
what I do; using
my experience to
complement yours
helps you look ever
so clever


flowersandchocolate's picture

The latest version I've uploaded was very untidy. It was there to demonstrate the fact that there were word examples included in the CV as well as the text I'd put up in the first version. That said you have just made me go back and check that line break. That's the plus side of printing things myself, never too late to spot an error!

ebensorkin's picture

I think that while many of the point given to you in the thread are not wrong they have been given with a bit more of an aggressive tone that I would have.

Here is my take:

The pdf CV is wordy in a way that undermines your case. You are selling concision so arguably you should demonstrate it in the CV.

The description you give of what you do is better on the web site - and sounds more confident. I got the feeling you were in a defensive position as you wrote the CV and that you were being falsely mately or casual to compensate. Watch the tone you use and if needed find a writer even if you do that same work. Writing for yourself is an especially tough thing to do.

There is alot of clever wordplay in advertising and I see you mimiking that. But you're not in Advertising. Is Ad copy one of the skills you are selling? My impression is - no.

So I think it might be better to simply state the value of bringing you onto a project. Step into their shoes and thing of reasons they would benefit.

Pehaps you could say "As a dedicated specialist I free the creative team to go after far larger projects/clients by taking care of the ID aspect of the project. Bringing a specialist ID onto the team means higher quality ID which means superior client satifaction/retention - particularly for larger clients. And repeat business is always healthy for the bottom line."

Or some such similar thing.

No doubt an few examples of the kind of things ID is good for would be good as well - obviously not everybody gets what ID is.

Do you see what I mean?

blank's picture

Here in the US that CV would be considered one long, over-the-top cover letter and leave people wonder where the CV is.

pattyfab's picture

I agree with Eben, you're undermining your pitch. You start with the premise that you promise Simplicity and then you bombard us with extra words. Each of your examples should fit on a spread, there's no need for a title page for each one. Imagine the name of the project on the left followed by your Before and After facing the examples.

I really don't like the various samples at skewed angles, it looks messy and hard to follow what you've done. Again, simplicity.

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