On Wednesdays, we look at artist statements or design philosophy statements and discuss the best vocabulary to describe an artwork or design. Today we’ll look at the statement that game designer Jay van Hutten has posted on his About page.

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This is his design philosophy statement from the About page of his portfolio website:

ABOUT ME (1989)

Twenty-seven years ago I saw the first light of day. In my early days I spent a good deal amount of time being creative; drawing and glueing all over the place. Over the years I developed a questionably healthy interest and curiosity towards computers, with video games in particular. I was always wondering how they were made, and spent more time in level editors than playing the actual games. That curiosity turned me into what I am today, a creative professional yet still eager to learn more tricks of the trade.

In 2011 I received my bachelor’s degree Game Design & Development (with honours) at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht. That was just the start as I had to keep improving myself as the industry moved forward. A very welcome challenge! After graduating I worked for several years as (level) designer at Dutch game studio Two Tribes. In 2014 I joined Sticky Studios as level designer.

I’ve learnt many things along the way, gathered new insights and different perspectives. New engines, new tools, met new people, improved my scripting abilities. In my spare time I sometimes work on personal projects, varying from commercial projects to small hobby projects – either way I’m always learning.

First, let’s look at the vocabulary this designer uses. In the first paragraph, he describes himself and his work with these words: creative, interest, curiosity, wondering, eager. All of these words give us the feeling of someone who is constantly exploring new possibilities and trying to learn more. These are good words to use if you have a bio section in your statement. It gives the feeling of a person who embraces new challenges and likes to solve problems in new ways.

In the second paragraph, he uses different kinds of words because he’s sharing resume information: received, with honours, keep improving myself, moved forward, challenge, graduating, worked, joined. These are mostly verbs sharing his accomplishments, and they give us the sense that he has worked hard to achieve success. It’s a good idea to use active voice and exciting action verbs like these when you talk about what you’ve done.

In the third paragraph, he focuses on words about learning: learnt, insights, perspectives, new, improved, learning. It’s a good idea to show that you are always willing to learn and improve yourself, especially in an industry like gaming that has new technology being developed all the time. However, this paragraph might be a little more interesting with some different synonyms since he repeats new and learn.

Now, let’s consider the type of information and the structure of this statement. He gives some background information about himself and talks about what inspires him. He shares his education and work history. Finally, he talks about his abilities and interests. This is a good structure, but he could be more specific. Many of his statements are very general. For example, he says that he learned a lot, but what did he learn? It’s not very meaningful unless we know the details.

In a design statement, you have only a few paragraphs to convince potential clients of your skills, so you want to make every word count. The more details you can give, the better. My suggestions for improving this statement are to add more specifics about the work he’s done. He has an impressive portfolio, so why not use it to provide examples of his skills? He could also talk about his goals, his process, and what makes his work unique. Those improvements would change his statement from good to great.

What do you think of this work and the design statement? Do you agree with my comments? Do you have questions about the vocabulary? Do you want to suggest a piece for me to discuss next week? Leave a comment below!

I’ve chosen 5 words or phrases for you to focus on today. They are in bold. If you don’t know them, look up the meaning, synonyms, antonyms, and other forms of these words. You can find links to Merriam-Webster dictionary sites at the bottom of this page.

To see the rest of Jay van Hutten’s portfolio, click the link below:

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