When a designer has an interview, common interview questions are asked; however, a large chunk of the meeting is spent going through the designer’s portfolio. Most of the time, the work will speak for itself: displaying the talent, techniques, creative problem solving skills, and software proficiency all within the details of the projects.
I have two versions of my portfolio, and the third one (in website form) is in the works. I have a hard version of my portfolio: a sleek, silver briefcase that houses my projects carefully mounted on black foamcore boards. This version allows potential clients and employers to interact with the pieces: feel the stock it is printed on, see the varnish treatment on my typography, and flip the pages of the catalogs.
The other version is a simplified digital version that I can quickly send out via email whenever anyone requests samples of my work. My digital version is much more condensed (typically has 3-5 projects displayed), while my hard version has 10 samples. Below are a few select spreads that I pulled from the PDF of my digital portfolio (click on each image to view it larger).
Depending on the client or employer, I will mix and match spreads to create a customized portfolio that is tailored towards their line of work to show what I can do for their company.
The great thing about a portfolio is that it displays the range of work that you are capable of. Sure, illustration is my favorite, but I’m also a well-rounded designer that has experience in book covers and interiors, branding, marketing materials, and web design.
I also like to include a board/page or two that shows my process. Often times, when heading out for an interview, I’ll toss my sketchbook into my executive tote in case others want to see my process of brainstorming, researching, sketching, etc.The great thing about a portfolio is the ability to go back and see how far you’ve come. I still have all of the boards I made back in design school, and it’s fun to dig them out every once in awhile and see how much I’ve improved over the years. Also, it’s convenient to have the current version of my PDF portfolio on my iPhone so I can easily pull it up whenever I’m faced with the question of “what do you do for a living?”
I love the career path that I’ve chosen and am so blessed to be able to have a job that feels more like a hobby than a job.