Degrees | Schools | Careers

Graphic Design Portfolios

graphic design portfolios

There comes a day in every serious graphic design student’s life when the exams are done, the projects are completed, the grades are in, and the diplomas are ready.  When a graphic design student finally graduates after years of hard work and training, he or she is often at a loss as to what the next step should be.  With so many options for employment, where is the best place to start?  Before you begin searching for your dream job as a graphic designer, it is important to prepare for the questions you will be asked by potential employers.

Graphic Design Portfolios

When an employer is interviewing you for a graphic design position, he or she will want to know some very basic questions:

Who are you? This answer requires more than just your name.  An employer wants to know about your history.  What made you interested in graphic design?  What parts of graphic design are you passionate about?  What parts of graphic design are disinteresting to you ?

What is your mission? Employers like to know where their employees are headed.  Your goals and aspirations are important for a potential employer to be made aware of.  Some employers may feel that your goals don’t fit in with their company’s mission.  Others will strive to help you and provide opportunity on your career journey.

Where did you go to school?  Employers want to know about your education.

What is your experience?  Internships, summer jobs, class projects and freelance work is all important information for your employer to know.  A wider array of varied experience looks better to a potential employee.

What are you capable of?  This question can be answered in many different ways.  Employers like to know about your familiarity with software and other programs.  Employers want to see projects you have completed.  This helps them assess your skill level.

All of these questions can be answered by preparing a professional and attractive graphic design portfolio.  This portfolio is your life, experience and passion as a graphic designer all contained in a nice, neat package.

Graphic Design Portfolio Examples

When creating your graphic design portfolio, it is important to ensure that your portfolio acts as an accurate representation of you as a graphic designer.  You don’t want your portfolio to emphasize a particular skill of yours while neglecting to show another particular skill.  Your portfolio should be varied, colorful, extensive, high-quality and professional.  Here are some examples of items that make for an awesome portfolio:

The Case: every portfolio must be contained inside a case.  The case is the first thing an employer will notice about your portfolio.  It may seem silly to place so much significance on something you had no part in designing, but the portfolio case actually tells employers a great deal.  If two equally-talented potential employees presented their portfolios: one in a tattered folder from K-Mart and the other in a professional, black leather attaché case, which would you expect to receive the job?

A “Wow” Start: The first item in your portfolio should be the second-best work of art you’ve ever created.  You want to surprise an employer with a colorful display of raw talent.  This will make the potential employer sit up and pay attention to what’s coming next.

A “Slam-Bang” Finish: Save your best for last.  When someone closes your portfolio, the best work you’ve created will be imprinted on their memory.  When they think of you, they will think of your best.

Before and After: Something to include in your portfolio might be a before and after comparison page.  Choose a work that you completed in the first years of schooling.  When you graduate, re-attempt that first project.  Place the two works side by side with explanations about what you learned and how that has affected your work.  An employer can then see your growth.

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