your design portfolio: listen to the cool kids



Now that tech designers have become the cool kids, they have a thing or two to say about, well, everything design. And considering the way tech is booming, the rest of us who design pretty much anything should probably be listening. Whether you are looking for work at a tech start-up or an architectural firm, the cool kids have some great advice. Pretty pictures aren’t enough to get you through the door anymore.

Ben Blumenfeld put together a great list for Fast Company. Here’s a modified version for those of us in the architectural design community.

  1. Include quality over quantity: Include high quality projects and the context surrounding them. More projects isn’t necessarily better. The projects you include need to tell your story without sidetracking a potential employer (do you really want to explain why the lighting isn’t well done on that otherwise awesome project?)
  2. Include a LOT of information about the projects in your portfolio: project background and context, your role, the work itself and process, success metrics, what you would have done differently.
  3. More info about your PROCESS: how did you get from problem to solution?
  4. Don’t skimp on visuals.
  5. Side projects: what do you do (creatively) when you’re not working? Employers hire all of you, so show off the 5-9 as well as the 9-5.
  6. Create an online portfolio, but carry a hard copy as well. I was at a job site last week working with a tile contractor. He was trying to describe something and pulled out a bound book he’d created with detailed images of several completed projects. We looked through and were able to talk through a solution based on his photographs. Presuming his finished work impresses me as much as his problem solving, I’ll certainly recommend him again.

So my next project is to re-create my own online portfolio. Give me a couple of weeks then check it out. In the meantime, how is yours looking?

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