Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You are your book.

When speaking to tomorrow's designers and writers, one question always comes up:

"What do you look for in a portfolio?"

This is the challenge. What all those years of college and experience have prepared you for, right? Well, maybe. The truth is, there is no answer here. Everyone interviewing you will give you a different list of essential items. If possible, tailor your book to the agencies you're targeting. Find a way to stand out from the pile of contenders.

Your portfolio is only part of the deal.
People get hired based on a mixture of personality, talent, and potential. And, I'll be honest with you, some people are simply more hire-able (or more relentless). Will you be a good fit with the team? Are you driven? Do you adapt quickly? Do we even have an opening?

Basics I look for in designer's book:

1. Quality over quantity. Only show work that you completely stand behind. Try for 6 to 10 project examples.

2. Idea evolution. The ability to take an idea and expand it into an integrated campaign.

3. Process thinking. Purposeful design, not merely decoration.

4. Solid design foundation. Aesthetic balance and innovative art direction.

Key attributes you should possess: 

1. Computer capability. You must know the programs. If you don't, learn them. Tutorials, hands-on, whatever it takes.

2. Work ethic. There are no shortcuts or entitlements here. Earn your respect.

3. Presentation skills. Be able to sell your work.

4. Mediocrity fear. Keep up with industry news and challenge yourself. Always be observing and learning.

More thoughts:
There's a great episode on FearLessTV where CP+B Creative Director Tiffany Kosel gives her portfolio advice.

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