Reworking your design portfolio can be a frustrating pull-your-hair-out kind of time… but it doesn’t have to be!
Before you even start your design portfolio you should do some research and planning. Ask yourself these 7 questions as you start piecing your portfolio together.
These questions will help ensure your portfolio is optimized for landing that internship or design job that you have your eye on!
1. Do I Know Where I Want to Work?
The first thing you should always do is research companies that you actually want to work for.
Make a list of 5 to 10 companies you actually want to work for. Then figure out how they approach design and what they look for in prospective employees. It seems so simple, yet most people don’t take the time to do it.
Often times consultancies need a well-rounded person where a corporation may be hiring someone for a very niche skill set, such as being a CAD designer. Ultimately, it really depends on the company itself, so set yourself up for success by doing some initial research and planning.
2. Did I Show my Process?
A portfolio screams “design student” when it focuses solely on the end product and omits the design process itself. All of your portfolio pieces should include the nitty-gritty details of your design process.
Take as many photos as possible (even if it’s on your smartphone) throughout your process. This will add a ton of value to your portfolio piece and help reinforce the steps you’ve taken to get your end result.
3. How are the Graphics that Make Up My Portfolio?
Sometimes the only difference between a good portfolio and an excellent portfolio is the graphics that make it up. Be sure to use a grid and pay close attention to your typography and other graphically related elements.
Try taking a day or two off if you spend many consecutive days working on your portfolio. This will help you get a fresh look. Often times you’ll notice graphical details that need more attention.
4. Are my Projects Applicable to the Industry?
If you’re looking to get hired for a furniture design job then your portfolio better have furniture designs in it. If you’re looking to get hired for a toy design job then your portfolio better have at least one toy design projectProjects the body silhouette, edges, work geometries and sketch curves into the active sketch plane. Use the selection filter to project a specific type of geometry or the body silhouette. More in it. You get the pointCreates a sketch point. More.
The projects (at least one) in your portfolio should be applicable to the type of job you’re applying to. Your portfolio should adapt based on the job you are applying to.
When you apply to a company and don’t have any relevant projects they will toss it out (most of the time). Whether it’s true or not you’ll look like you’re desperate. They’ll think you’re trying to land any job that you can.
5. Is my Portfolio Consistent?
Sometimes it’s hard to really decipher the true skill set of a designer based on their portfolio. Often times this is due to the inconsistency of skills showcased throughout their projects.
For example, the viewer of your portfolio will be very confused if one project showcases really good sketching and another project showcases terrible sketching.
When you are building your portfolio be sure to strive for consistency when showcasing your skill set. Review your portfolio as a whole and analyze each project, making sure they all have a consistent feel.
6. Does my Portfolio Highlight my Skills?
Your portfolio is meant to get you a job, right?
If so, your portfolio should really showcase or highlight your skills. Review your portfolio and be sure it’s not highlighting any of your weaknesses.
Nothing is more disappointing than being brought into a portfolio with an eye-catching CAD rendering, sketch, or mockup, only to not find any more of it throughout the portfolio.
7. Does my Picture Really Represent Who I Am?
There’s an English language-idiom that you’ve likely heard, and it goes like this…
A picture is worth a thousand words.”
There’s no doubt it’s true. That’s why it’s important to be very critical of the photo you include in your “about you” section of your portfolio.
Here are some things to consider:
- Does it emphasize my personality?
- Does it look professional?
- Does it stimulate any emotion?
- Does it put forth a sense of trust
? Doesit show my creativity?
Pro Tip: Ask your design mentor for feedback on your portfolio.
If you don’t have a design mentor yet then check out “How to Find Your Design Mentor.“
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