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Thoughts on Portfolios

We just did an episode on how to create a portfolio and I figured I'd throw some of my thoughts on here in written form. The topics/ideas always become clearer for us after we do the recording.

  1. The Portfolio is NOT (just) a book; it's a slideshow presentation. I see many designers trying to create a nice book/magazine/publication as if they're creating a gift for a relative or to be sold in a bookstore when the portfolio's main function is to get the applicant interviewed and hired.
  2. Project/work selection - The work displayed should NOT only be buildings or be used only to showcase only design and building expertise. There are many other human-qualities that make up a desirable candidate. Work should be chosen to exhibit these skills also (teamwork, responsibility, self-motivation, leadership, etc). This is especially true since the portfolio will be used as a talking point list for the interview presentation.
  3. Packaging/Exterior Design - Personally, I dislike over-designed books. When I see a portfolio with a hyper-custom cover made of found beach wood or some other nonsense, I just think, "How much time did this 'kid' waste doing the cover?" I find it distracting from the interior (the work we should actually be talking about). To me, over-designed books scream a lack of professional experience.
  4. Viewing - Portfolios are viewed at different speeds. They need to work for a 1-second viewing, a 5-second viewing and a longer 5 min viewing 9 (at the interview). 
  5. Labeling Projects - Lose the fancy esoteric names and go with simple ones, even if they're obvious or banal. Create markers and labels for any accolades. E.g. If the project was an entry or winner in a competition, this should be stated in large bold text. 

There are many other things we discussed in the recording, but I'll type those up another day. What are your thoughts?

 
May 23, 19 8:45 pm
Anon_grad2.0

1. The portfolio is the culmination of your education. Years of hard work, I would think showing some pride in how the work is presented would go without saying. 


2. I agree, but most of this stuff also goes in a cover letter/resume. I’ve never sent out a portfolio for work, only work samples. Hasn’t failed yet. 


3. Maybe a good balance of designing not just the content, but the presentation as well. See point 1


4. WORK SAMPLES, not portfolios to get the interview. I’ve had 30-40 min interviews were the interviewer was interested in talking about my work. Definitely more than 9 min. 


5. I prefer esoteric, instead of “house”. Idk though...I have reviewed portfolios at a “prestigious” school. 

May 23, 19 10:18 pm

​4. Should have read 5min per project. For sure Interviews go on for an hour or so

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