Last month we discussed zombie kittens but most important, how to develop a graphic design portfolio. For anyone entering the graphic design field, a portfolio is the tool that will either build your career or shatter it into a thousand tiny pieces. While we all enjoy destruction from time to time, we’d like to see careers take off at BEAU. Graphic Design Program Chair Erin Coleman-Cruz breaks down how individuals can strengthen their portfolio and land their dream job.
There are some basic guidelines to get a portfolio in the race. Portfolios should be targeted and well put together.
“It could be geared toward something specific, if you are applying for a job. They may only want to see what your print design is; hopefully you can pull very specific work,” says Coleman-Cruz. “You want to limit it; you won’t show all of your work, just your best ones. It’s all about layout and design. It should be so clean and streamlined that an employer won’t think about layout and is impressed by consistency.”
Ideally, graphic design job candidates will be able to showcase their work and type of designer they are in person, but that is not always the case. “In some situations you may not be able to present in person. You would want to label and include a caption in each item,” added Coleman-Cruz. “You should include who the client was, type of media and scale (an office building v. a postcard), and always highlight if you’ve worked with professional clients.”
For designers without a lot of experience (especially students), Coleman-Cruz notes that they can leave dates off of their work and should never diminish the projects they’ve accomplished and should talk about the pieces and challenges faced.
At the end of the day though, it is the little things that will make a portfolio stronger and separate it from the pack. “Every single piece should be your best, and sometimes you have to go with your gut. Don’t just include it because you like it. Do what you think is your best work,” remarked Coleman-Cruz.
“Really basic things like making sure your work all faces the right direction, following criteria, putting your best designs first and having your text proofread will help.”