How many pages/how to narrow down?

I’m currently finishing up my first portfolio and was wondering how many projects and pages should be in there, I’ve seen a lot of different answers. Should I include less because I am only a second year student? Also any tips on how to decide which projects to include because I have some that are kind of “ties”.

There isn’t a “right answer” for # of pages and projects, but from my personal preference and what I’ve observed in others, keep it extremely light on text. I might be on the extreme side, but I like to see an average of 2-3 pages per project. This way it can be (Page 1 - intro and early stuff), (Page 2 - process, iterations, etc.), (Page 3 - money shot, photos, etc.). Thinner less-developed projects can have two pages or even one page, and massive multi-year undertakings can have five or more.

Really consider what’s necessary. E.g. do not provide a front, side, top, bottom, isometric, frog, and perspective view of your final render. It is also not necessary to have a page dedicated to “alternate color options” where you copy+paste a view of your toothbrush in 12 different color overlays. Also three pages of personas and mood boards just starts to get tedious.

This is all just IMHO.

As a fresh-out-of-school prospect you might want to stick with a simple, clean portfolio.

Less is more, I’d narrow down to 3 projects and limit each to 1-2 pages that tell a story. If your school body of work is well balanced make sure one emphasizes aesthetics and form (lots of sketches), one emphasizes background reason-for-being/research (a logical process; defining a problem, learning about current solutions and designing a truly better solution) and one that emphasizes commercial or passionate value (this would be successful because…).

From your other work, take the 2-3 next best projects and develop 1-2 pagers to fill in as you get interviews where that additional subject matter would be valuable to show, but keep them separate and offer to show the additional projects if the flow and interest seems to be there during the interview.

It’s as much about you as it is your work, so half of many interviews might be casual discussions about your personality, tendencies, demeanor, etc - so don’t rely on your work to speak for you.

Good luck!

From your other work, take the 2-3 next best projects and develop 1-2 pagers

This is good advice. If a project isn’t “complete” in the traditional I.D. portfolio sense, it doesn’t mean it’s worthless. What if you’re a brilliant metalworker and you spontaneously made a table one day, without the usual “design process,” and you’ve got some great photos of it? Might as well have it on hand.