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It’s application season and you are tensed and stressed out because your design entrance not only sees your scores but you have to make a portfolio and clear an interview as well. Here’s an article that will help you set those creative gears rolling…

WHAT IS A PORTFOLIO?

Img2At the bare minimum it shows your work as a designer. But is that all? The portfolio should be a representation of you, your values, your style, your thought process. It’s about the personal touch you give to your designs and how you stand out. It needs to show the breadth of your output, your skills and experience, how you generate and execute ideas, basically your whole creative process. There are lots of varying opinions on exactly what a design portfolio should contain but here I’ll give a few ideas that will help you start.

FORMAT:

The portfolio could either be physical or digital. If it’s physical it may be best to display in A4 or A3 format. If it’s digital, make sure the resolution of images is good and file size isn't too big so that it can be transferred easily. (A resolution of 72 dpi is optimum).

INDEX:

Have a clear contents page so each person can look at the kind of project they are interested in without having to go through every page.

LAYOUT:

Keep the layout simple and appealing. Your work must stand out and extra elements in the background must not hinder its impact on the viewer. It would be a good idea to follow a grid system across all pages of your portfolio. Don’t be tempted to over-embellish. Allow the work to do the talking by making projects easy to view in large formats.Img1

CONTENT:

The content should contain about 80% images and 20% written words. Describe the brief and how you have answered it in a short paragraph and describe your journey with pictures and short captions.

Make it as visual as possible.

COLOURS:

Follow a colour scheme for your portfolio. Let the colours be something you can identify with. Use reduced opacity versions of these colours to ensure it adds to your artwork and does not distract the viewer instead. Use these colours in rules and pointers to keep it minimal.

WORK:

Put only relevant work. If you put only three amazing projects, you can be sure that the panel will go through all of it. Only ever show your very best work in your portfolio and if you aren't 100 per cent happy with the outcome then don't feature it. But if you put 8 they might judge you only based on a few of those. So curate your content and be quite ruthless when selecting the work to ensure that all of it is up to the mark and of a standard that you're happy with. It can also be valuable to show your working and the journey you went through to realise the outcome to a given brief. Sometimes you could put slightly older work to show the growth curve. But work done in school etc. is a no-no!

Remember to begin with a really strong killer piece that will grab their attention and then finish on a similar note. This will ensure that you have struck the right chord and embedded at least a little bit of your work in their memory.

Finally, the key to any portfolio presentation is the ability to talk confidently about the work within it. Ensure that all the pieces that you include are ones that you're very proud of and can talk passionately and enthusiastically about later at the interview stage.

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