Design Haven – Let’s Talk Portfolios
You’re a great design talent, right? But how does the rest of the industry know?
If your answer is a CV, then you’re probably the guy who designed the Flinstones’ search engines (scrolls). Modern designers work with portfolios. Not only does it stand as the most visible and self-explanatory online CV about you and your work, but it also gives you a chance to flex a bit of your design muscle, by killing it in that one design that matters.
Well, how do I do it?
You’ve got coffee? Great! This short piece will get you started.
What Is A Portfolio?
A portfolio is a collection of your very best creative works. Any seasoned product designer will tell you that your portfolio is a window to your mind. Your portfolio speaks to your level of design proficiency, your thought process, your execution of ideas to actual work, and finally which design tools you are comfortable or familiar with.
The biggest takeaway – all these should speak for themselves.
Elements Of A Portfolio
When compiling your work you need to make sure that you have the best images, plus, your work is seen at its best angle and in full glory. This means avoiding watermarked images (please no Shutterstock, unless you can afford it), hazy images (keep it above 1000px and 1000px), and show that you have an idea about maintaining aspect ratios and scaling images to a nice fit.
Umm, why bother?
The quality of images you pick doesn’t just spice up the UI but also tells about your attention to detail. And the latter is what separates mediocre design from a Picasso masterpiece.
Best Of The Best Works
In your training to become a good designer you have done a couple of pet projects. Some were good while others show the incredible talent you had drawing stick figures. With that said, it’s pretty clear that when creating your portfolio, you need to make sure to only include the best of your projects.
It is okay to appreciate your learning curve, but some projects are only meant for your eyes only. Including underwhelming projects in your portfolio which overshadow your good projects passing you off as an amateur.
An outdated portfolio shows that you lack commitment. Understand that you will not have the inspiration to come up with something new every day, but you need to show consistency as well. Having projects that have a 6-month gap between them doesn’t reflect well.
However, searching for inspiration doesn’t mean copying other people’s work. It’s about getting creative direction. Plus, you also need to keep up with design trends so that you’re on top of your game (Neomorphism anyone?).
Give people the chance to criticise your work. Sometimes hearing that you are not giving it 100% is just what you need. Designers can sometimes go down a rabbit hole where they believe that their work is the best of the best. This thought hinders them from fully exploring their potential and getting even better ideas from their peers.
Receiving and embracing feedback is just step one. Step two is implementing it. Making changes to areas where you fell short and perfecting on your strong areas is the only way to grow and keep learning as a UI/UX or product designer.
You might be a beginner, wondering where to start as far as a portfolio is concerned. Here are a few sites you can use to get started or even, as you’ll observe, build a very professional portfolio in the long run. Make sure you check out Behance, Dribble, Krop, and Carbonmade.