In this article The Logo Creative discusses What To Include In a Great Graphic Design Portfolio
If you’re looking forward to securing a position with a design agency, it’s essential that you know what to include in your resume. This document speaks volumes about your suitability for the job. Your inability to provide the necessary information in this document can become the reason why employers will not even consider your application.
If you want to submit a UX designer resume that’ll gain the approval of any design agency, pay attention to how you create your graphic design portfolio. Ideally, this document should give employers an idea of your previous projects and how you can become an asset to their agency.
You can create a portfolio in any format you like – some employers might be impressed with a video and others with a simply laid out PDF document. Whatever format you decide to create it in, you should take your time to plan out how you can effectively communicate and showcase your skills and complete project work. During your planning time you will need to consider:
- How do you want to guide your prospective employer through the body of work?
- How will you communicate your design skills with the right amount of information?
- How much time and money do you have to create the portfolio?
Are you wanting to show a broad set of skills or more specific ones (the answer to this will largely depend on the job you are applying for as well as the employer’s specification?)
Once you have worked out the above issues, we advise you to go through the following processes:
- Look through your available projects you can add and try out different combinations– consider, with each combination, what this shows to your potential employer. You should ask a valued peer what they think of the different combinations as well. Asking opinions from peers can help you improve your portfolio as you’ll have someone to assess your work; the more input you can get from your peers, the better it’ll be for your portfolio. Remember, there might be a whole design team looking through your portfolio – all with their varying critiques of certain bits of work. If you keep questioning one particular piece of work then remove it! The graphic design portfolio you’ll submit to your potential employer should properly highlight your skills as a graphic designer.
- You need to think about how you want your portfolio to look – you do not want the portfolio to be more impressive than the actual work and it needs to look really smart. Think clean and simple, use white space to draw attention to the portfolio pieces, and don’t overcrowd your portfolio, its about the work!.
- As mentioned above, the design of your portfolio should not distract from the content – it should always be content driven! Think about quality over quantity–don’t bombard your employer with graphic designs that look the same. Instead, look for different pieces that highlight your diversity as a graphic designer. Doing this will provide convenience for the employer to assess your skills and determine if these skills fit their agency.
- Like a lot of good designs in your industry – the design of your portfolio needs to appear simple. Using flash to show off your skills is not a good idea. It’s about COMMUNICATION!
- You should also have your portfolio available in different formats – print and web being the main ones. They should be consistent and complementary. This is especially important if you don’t know what format your employer wants to see. It’s best if you come prepared by bringing different formats to your portfolio.
- Prepare the portfolio in the same chronological order as shown in your CV, preferably in reverse order i.e. most recent projects first then backwards from there. Aside from making sure that all of your submitted documents are coherent, this will also help the employer easily validate the information you’ve submitted.
- For any portfolio you prepare to be sent electronically, avoid creating too large a document. No more that 6 Mb, otherwise the receiving server may reject it because of its size.
We would advise that you need two types of portfolio. The first needs to be a shortened version of your main folio and be included in your CV/Portfolio combination document. This is known as a ‘teaser’ and should be designed to entice the viewer. The second portfolio type needs to be held back for face-to-face presentations and needs to be much more extensive in ‘look and feel’.
Here’s a few points on what we would look for:
- Great design portfolios need to show a compelling ‘design process’ from a project’s beginnings through to completion. This means that in every graphic design you include in your portfolio, you should indicate information on how this design was made. What tools or software did you use to create this graphic design? Where did you get your inspiration? Were there any challenges during the design process? Answering these questions will give your employers an idea of how you make graphic designs and combat challenges along the way.
- It needs to ideally show rich ‘stories’ about people. Not the ‘consumer’, but the human being. Consider the language used by the world’s greatest designers and how they attempt to improve the world through good design.
- We would prefer to see folio’s that are clear, understandable and a pleasure to go through. Certainly think about how you might present this and this could be PDF, PowerPoint, web or a movie.
Overall, we are looking for great designs which will inspire, excite and, most importantly, create interest from any prospective employer.
In the video below, Chris Do from The Futur Youtube channel answers some of the most asked questions designers have:
- How do I get a job in graphic design?
- What do employers look for in a portfolio?
- How many pieces should I include?
- What should I show in my portfolio to get a job in graphic design?
Chris explains that this is the most asked question he gets. CSUN student asks and gets a surprising response. Chris Do facilitates the answer by asking more questions to help the student discover the answer for themselves.
Also published on Medium.