Design Resources: 11 Things I Learned About Portfolios

Having been through a few interview processes and read quite a bit of information (aka case study upon case study) about Portfolios. Because I’m a designer, and a starving artists (much like yourselves), I’ve decided to be nice and tell you my findings from my reasearch.  There are 11 things I learned about job/ internship seeking:

 

  1.  The process of applying: e-mail first, call second, and wait for final contact last. Case studies show that potential employers expect and are more comfortable with this process. Also, never send an empty e-mail…links to online work or a PDF of a teaser portfolio should be included.
  2.  Most people don’t use print versions of portfolios unless getting face time with the potential employer. However, it is important you have a printed version that varies slightly from any digital or online portfolio.
  3. Make portfolios, short, sweet, simple and flexible (adaptable). Nothing worse than a long winded, crazy unorganized, hard to change/update portfolio.
  4. Let the work speak, not the cover or your mouth (too much). Show THEN tell.
  5. Articulate concisely and well. Also known as: Learn when to shut up. Say only what you need to.
  6. Keep the work current. Don’t have ancient projects in you portfolio. Remember, a portfolio is never perfect or complete.
  7.  3 portfolio types: PDF, Online, and Printed. Have each with the same style, but slightly different content.
  8. Don’t send files over 10MB to potential employers. Annoying.
  9. Portfolio’s should be personal, but not too personal. Don’t tell your life story, and don’t over decorate. It’s not a scrap book of your life. It’s the content of your career.
  10. Keep things organized. Loose leaf portfolio papers or bound books doesn’t matter, as long as it’s neat.
  11. 8-10 is a solid number of projects to show. Usually keep 8 in online and digital, and 10 (certainly no more than 12 projects) in printed versions.

For more information and resources check out underconsideration.com for more case studies and insights.

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