Good examples of ID portfolios


Does anyone have any links to a few really well thought out ID portfolios and why you think they are well crafted?


Coroflot is a good place to start. My view of what makes a good portfolio shifts dramatically based on the experience of the hire and a skillset that I would be most looking for in that candidate.

But in general my mental priorities looking at any portfolio: 1 Sketching (Ability to ideate on a brief), 2 Process (How did the idea mature, further showing iteration and convergence), 3 Results (Is the final thing beautiful? Functional? Unique vs derivative? In line with the branding or brief it was trying to solve?) 4 Clean UI (Some people spend more time working on the format of the portfolio than the content, and it’s immediately obvious).

Just a thought here, as Mike eluded to a bit, it might be good to step back to define what makes a “good” ID portfolio. Our field is pretty broad, and ever growing in scope. So what kinds of “good” are we looking for needs to be asked. Every candidate has his or her strengths, and when building a team it is good to get diverse designers on board to tackle problems from different perspectives. Here are just a few types of designers I have worked with:

Innovators: Really good at the front end innovation process. More concerned with coming up with something totally new/distruptive. Often good with running workshops, brainstorms, always wants to get people to pull back and think about the larger context. Often good at defining problems. Might also be good at design research.

Ideators: Loves working with those innovators. Typically great visualization skills, form giving. Good understanding of semantics. The ability to work with developers and engineers to start bringing things to life. Might partially be an innovator personality or a development personality. Might be great with “design” level CAD.

Development: Loves solving the many design problems that pop up once an idea has been approved. Might have an ME background or more of an ME leaning. Typically loves to learn about manufacturing techniques. Usually great at communicating directly with factory and sourcing people. Might also be good at doing really tight, almost production level CAD. Loves finding the design opportunities on the product that the innovators and ideates missed.

Utility: This is your all rounder, jack of all trades, master of none. In my experience building teams this is usually the first hire. You need people who love the entire process and who’s enthusiasm and willingness to help maybe eclipses ability in any one area.

As you could imagine, the portfolios for these archetypes might vary quite a bit. For innovators I would expect to see pictures from research trips, workshops, except. Innovation pipeline docs, concept sheets showing ideas and the evaluation metrics created to prioritize them. Where an ideates I’d expect to see hot sketches and CAD renders. For more development minded designers I’d expect to see spec sheets, red lines of factory blueprints, things like that.

Also, I made those categories up just to creat some generalizations for the sake of discussion. Don’t take them too literally :slight_smile:

Thanks. I appreciate the feedback.


Any advice on how to go about getting more experience designing for real world problems more in the consumer product space? The situation I’m in now, is I’m currently freelancing, the client I do most of my work for now is in the packaging / retail store design space. I’ve done some consumer product work while freelancing but its been just sort of bits and pieces of projects that I can’t really draw out into a full beginning to end product story in my portfolio.

I’d really like to move more towards consumer product design with much more focus on user research and building product solutions off of that research. I’m just not sure how to go about moving more towards that when my background hasn’t thus far been heavily invloved in consumer product. I want to add some totally new projects to my portfolio more in line with this, but I feel like the problems that I’m looking to solve need to be sort of grounded in real life rather than more of an undergrad “solve a made up problem” type approach.

Pick a consumer product and design next years model or the design a family of products with the same design language to be released 5 years from now.
Small kitchen appliance, power tools, CE, etc.
I often see “blue-sky” projects with tons of research, charts and graphs but not enough designing. The past few years I’ve been telling students & new grads to design their own products as a personal project. Buy a coffee maker and improve on it. Take it apart and try to re-use as many of it’s internal components. Take a look at the molded parts and how it comes together, etc. Then maybe you can do the coffee maker, blender & toaster following your new design language. If done right and complete it will show your research, ideation, refinement, cad, prototyping?, etc. It will also show your level of ideation & design sensibility.
Good luck

Thanks! Excellent idea…

The best product design I see is a balance between remaining sensitive to the client’s and consumer’s wishes and daring to establish radically new concepts from the designer’s own perspective. You want to be positively realistic but also make an impact with iconic design work taking into account the numerous opportunities of new markets, human needs, and technologies.

I always like it when people show a T model of development - being exceptionally good at certain qualities, but being able to handle and oversee the entire process from ideation to production level as well. That to me is what the industrial designer does. So in your portfolio, lead us through your design approach in a few minutes, of course with a well-crafted presentation.