Five must haves in your portfolio

A portfolio is one of the things that you need to keep in mind while going for any job interviews, client meetings or brainstorming sessions. As a designer, a portfolio is one of your most prized possessions. It is going to be a reflection of your work and art. A portfolio can make or break your impression of a person. That's why having a well-curated portfolio is extremely important for every designer. In this article, you will get clarity on how your portfolios should be. But first, let us see what portfolios are exactly?



What is a portfolio?

A design portfolio is a collection of all the work that showcases your design ideas. It must include your one-of-a-kind best ideas that focus on fashion, creativity, art-making skills and building concepts. The recruiter will first ask you to send in your portfolio before calling you for an in-person interview in most job interviews. It means your portfolio is going to be your first impression. Only the ones with the most interesting, creative and effective portfolios will be short-listed for the next rounds. So, you must give a good amount of your time and resources to curating the best portfolio you can.


Your portfolio must consist of five key elements - context, scope, rationale, visuals and impact. We will be learning about each of them in detail below!


Context

Your portfolio is the one to 'speak' for you with the job recruiter in your absence. The portfolio should only include the art that is relevant to the job. It should be ornately curated and well-organised.


Don't be shy to use bold colours and make an impressive representation for all your pieces. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward because if you put in a bunch of irrelevant work, the recruiter will discard it on the first look. Remember, your first impression is the last!


Scope

The scope is the internal and external factors associated with a specific project. If you are making a design portfolio for a particular project, you have to factor in all the elements that affect the project directly or indirectly. For example, designing something for ten users will be very different from designing for about a hundred users.


You have to be conscious of the project goals, features, functions and deadlines. Understand the goal before jumping in with all your ideas and details. The thought process is a very crucial step. It's going to be the very foundation of your project. So, you must understand the task, its features and do your research before pitching in about the strategy or content.


Rationale

The rationale is your entire design journey. In a project, everything from design research, brainstorming ideas, collaborating with your peers to implementing tasks and achieving your wins comes under this. Your context and scope will affect your rationale and thus your entire product journey. Hence, it's a step-by-step journey guiding you to the best possible outcome. And that's what you have to show through your portfolio.


Remember, you are here to make the design process simple and uncomplicated. The better you explain your rationale through your portfolio documents, the better your chances of being selected for the project.


Visuals

The look of your portfolio determines how people will perceive and experience your work. Yes, here the looks matter! In fact, it's one of the most important criteria. If your portfolio isn't visually appealing to people, you stand no chance of convincing them that you are the right person for the project.


As an artist, your art should hook your viewers while still including all the data requested. You have to make your portfolio very creative and attractive to catch people's attention. Use attractive colours, illustrations, doodles, fonts, and textures to make your portfolio stand out. Don't always play it safe. Take a little risk with adding elements you generally wouldn't.


Impact

The impact is what the people feel about your work. When people talk about the impact of your work, they mean the value it adds to society. Users would want to use it or promote it for you only when your work adds value. Word of mouth publicity is the best kind. So you have to make sure you are attracting the right audience and giving them what they need.


From the user's perspective, if your work made a significant impact in their life, it was a success. And this will ensure that you come highly recommended. A small tip for you: Give real-life examples to convey your message so people will better relate to it.


As a designer, you have to keep your portfolio with you at all times! You never know when the opportunity will come banging at the door, and at that time, you do not want to be unprepared. Also, you must keep updating your portfolio from time to time. If you are not up-to-date, it could hamper your chances of getting the job.


Do you have any more tips and tricks to make portfolios extra creative and appealing?

Drop in the comments below!



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Design Thinking is an approach that helps organizations, large and small, understand their customers and create engaging experiences across their products and services.


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