Designer Portfolio Shootout!

Design Portfolio Types
More often than not, fresh graduate designers have found themselves searching for a design job, unaware of what they are capable of. Hence, when it comes to interviews, they fall short of showing their unique design capabilities, which makes them stand out from the others. Also, in wanting to pursue a Masters program, they can be still uncertain of the course they want as they have yet to discover what they can do with their innate design qualities.
My advice is, always craft your portfolio in such a way that enhances your design strengths and shows your persona. Read the rest of the entry to find out about some of the different styles of design portfolios defined:

1. Design Process Portfolio
Example: Frog Design
The Persona – Designers who are strong in defining their concepts use this approach to fully explain the strengths of their design through explaining the research, the inspiration and features of their design.
The Audience – Such portfolios are good for presenting for design scholarships and Masters design programs, where the interviewers look into how you think through your design process to impress them.
The Danger– People who use this approach have a tendency to be long-winded though, so this may bore the people who read your portfolio. Therefore, make each concept in your portfolio like your SONG – make the lyrics melodious, sweet to hear, but not too long!

2. Design Skills portfolio
Example: Jaren Goh
The Persona – Designers who are capable at certain specific skills like professional sketching, photo-realistic 2D or 3D rendering will focus on only showing the design areas that they are really good at, rather than elaborating the whole design process.
The Audience – Such portfolios attract interviewers from companies, especially those that operate on specialized design management strategies. They see the potential in hiring you for what you are good at.
The Danger – Your portfolio scope may lack an overall depth of concept understanding, if you do not show enough design process to explain your design concept. So do PEPPER your designs with more design inspirations and ideas to create that extra flavor.

3. Design Variety Portfolio
Example: Guus Baggerman
The Persona – Designers who are versatile in different design platforms – from sketching, rendering to even animation, willing to try designing on different programs to show their design adaptability. You may not be good at everything, but you are willing to try.
The Audience– Many companies today operate on different design programs; there is no synchronized design programs used amongst all companies. Therefore, your versatility in various skills range will attract interviewers from companies doing generalized design management strategies. So, the more programs you know, the more they want you because of your ability to adapt to different design programs.
The Danger– Like the saying goes, “A jack of all trades, but a Master of none.” While showing your design adaptability, you may run the risk of having no distinctive design specialty, and may be trying too hard to impress. Therefore, play your cards like in a POKER game, only show out the cards you are confident of. That way, you will win the game.

4. Design Marketing Portfolio
Example: Mike and Maaike
The Persona – Designers who are great at packaging their design concepts with cool and “catchy” slogans to attract the readers. Simplicity is the keyword that makes their designs wow.
The Audience– Such portfolios are good in enticing business and marketing associates. How you package your design concepts and styles may be their answer to attracting their target markets.
The Danger– Your portfolio may sometimes be perceived as only “pretty’, if there is lack of credibility in your concept. So try to enhance your design concept like a ICE-CREAM – that needs to not only look good, but taste delicious.

IDAsia.org is currently hosting this Portfolio Shootout. So if you would like to showcase your unusual portfolio layouts, or just for a quick look at other designer’s inspirational work, do either visit IDasia.org or view and post them directly on the forum here. This fun exercise, that hopefully encourages you to update your portfolio work, closes on April 1st 2007.
This is the first article is written by my fellow blog collaborator py and is also posted by the author at IDAsia.org

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