Portfolio Advice

Just wondered if anyone had any essential tips for design portfolios.

What do I need to to do to ensure it is as professional as possible, what is the best way of arranging projects/work and how much rough sketch work do I need to include?

I am a recent graduate and so have not had the experience of presenting my portfolio to employers so any advice on portfolio and interview techniques would really be greatly appreciated.

  1. It must be neat and organized! i.e. all one size, bound, nothing loose, in good condition, and can be laid flat open. Bind it so that you can reorganize it depending on company.

  2. Show more than one project.

  3. Show applicable project to my companies’ products. i.e. don’t put first that cool chair you did if my company makes medical products. Put something of a packaging nature showing form development first, cool chair last.

  4. Show a team project and highlight your contribution to the finished design. Only slightly, and politely, diss your terrible team members.

  5. Include rough work, sketches, ideation with every finished piece. I’m much more interested in your thinking process than the finished design. And it’s proof you did the work. As per item 1, make sure there is flow and separation between projects: I don’t know your work, and can easily be confused which renderings and sketches apply to which project your talking about.

  6. Overall, I’d suggest 1 - 2 pages each of renderings/photos and sketches/ideation per project.

  7. Make sure you know your own work; what is is, why it’s there, and show interest in your own projects… Don’t ever say ‘well it’s some project the professsor made us do…’.

  8. Know some technical details about your projects: materials, processes, costs. Have the maturity to admit you don’t know something if asked a too technical question.

  9. Have more than one copy. You may be asked to leave it behind because “I’d like X to see it but he’s not here till Monday…”

Comments apply to paper based portfolio you bring to an interview. To me, all the above are obvious but in interviews I’ve had people (just graduated to 10 years experience) violate each and every one.