Graphic Design for Industrial Designers ???

Hey Core77

Ive been out of UNI for 3 years now and have been a CAD monkey for much of that time I’ve getting my material together to re doing my portfolio. However I have more less forgotten all of my previously learned Graphic design skills. So I need a solid brush up not so much on the
Adobe suite but more the layout, type face, colour selection, etc…

I was wondering is this a problem for others IDers, jumping back into a ‘2D’ space after being in the ‘3D’ world for so long?

Do ID studios really look to deeply into the graphic design side of thing when looking for an industrial designer.

Where can I brush up on this skills, which youtube and the like often glosses over?

I work primarily in the UX world after working at an ID firm for 3 years. During that transition, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I was going to put together an exciting portfolio. However, I found that while specific skills in graphic design are helpful—and it’s always helpful to read up on color theory, basic layouts, typography—most of what I needed to do was in translating the creative thinking ability that I used in the 3D world into a 2d portfolio medium. Asking the ‘why’ before delving into the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ of the portfolio helped.

So that might mean asking yourself what kind of work you want to offer your future clients. In your portfolio, what do you need to communicate and what skillset do you need to showcase for that to come true? Once the ‘why’ is figured out, the ‘how’ and 'what’s are easier to determine.

Most of the industrial design portfolios I see aren’t examples of great graphic design, or how to lay out a page. Its definitely important in a portfolio as its essential to clear communication and story telling. Additionally I’m also using the portfolio evaluating how well a designer can use ‘graphic’ techniques from inserting a brand logo on a product, to doing supplementary labels and printed material, to the odd corporate t-shirt project.

I think the most important thing is to let the work speak. Be tasteful and restrained with your layouts. Bench mark other great portfolios and integrate what is working.

I second the idea that the work should be centre stage. My current portfolio is just a nice render or photo on a white background with the client logo in a corner. I’ve never sent my portfolio away, so I stopped putting explanations as I’ll be there to explain it myself.

However, a good place to check on is this small book: Notes on Graphic Design and Visual Communication by Gregg Berryman. It’s the best text book I’ve ever used.

I’m mobile so can’t find the link, but the Portfolio handbook done a few years ago by some CMU students was great. Graphic design is still design. If your portfolio graphics sucks and you can’t work in 2D, why would I higher you to work in 3D? Form, color, pattern, detail, spacing and all the general rules apply in any number of dimensions. I may not expect you to have the experience and workflow of a graphic designer, but I’d hope you have the eye for good design.


Just seen enough terrible portfolios. Though I’ve maybe only seen 1-2 ever good ID portfolios with poor graphics, I’ve seen lots of poor ID with good graphics…


I’ve noticed that too. So disappointing. I think alot of IDer’s passion is graphic design, but they get into ID because of the better job prospects.

The worst that I’ve seen is when people try to do too much graphic design, which is why I encourage keeping it simple.