What a new graduate should include in their graphic design portfolio?
Good afternoon Mr. Zakar,
My name is Courtney Rose and I’m currently a visual communications student in my last year of school studying at Cazenovia College in Central New York. As a senior I am required to research individuals in my field and have always found your work to be incredibly sophisticated and inspiring.
I primarily focus my attention on print design, corporate identity, and illustration and would love your opinion on what a new graduate should include in their portfolio. I have a strong interest in these areas of design that you have brilliantly incorporated into your portfolio and hope to achieve the same level of professionalism in my own.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this e-mail and look forward to hearing back from you.
Courtney A. Rose
Graphic Designer & Illustrator
A graphic design portfolio should demonstrate the breadth of the designer’s talents and experiences. For a new graduate though, professional experience is much limited, but this doesn’t mean that a portfolio won’t be needed in numerous situations. Applying for a job or for post-graduate studies are the most common situations where a portfolio will be asked and the new graduate designer should have a decent and comprehensive way of presenting himself and his work.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to expand a graphic design portfolio, no matter previous professional experience. A very good and widespread way is to work on hypothetical design projects, solving hypothetical design problems. This is designers’ favorite pursuit when they don’t design for their clients. They just design for themselves! Design is a passion that fulfills many needs and as a matter of fact, one of them is the expansion and upgrading of ones portfolio!
The next step a graphic designer could take is to donate some good design proposals to real clients, fulfilling real needs and getting exposure in return, while adding some real works in his portfolio. At the start of ones career, the feel of watching his designs finding their way to the printer is outstanding and some of these well designed donations may give you the opportunity to meet new potential clients, while expanding your portfolio with works you really like.
School works is also a good idea but a tricky one, since some of them may luck of quality and if they do, they should definitely not be included. A graphic design portfolio should include only works that the designer is proud of and all designers should have in mind that the same way a portfolio can praise their skills; it can also create the illusion that they are much lower.
A good graphic design portfolio often includes some extra samples of personal artistic projects that reflect the personal style of the graphic designer, such as illustrations, freehand sketches and photography.
There is not a fixed recipe that creates the best design portfolios. The types of works that professional designers include in their portfolios depend on their own unique design style and on the kind of self-profile they want to communicate. If the largest amount of artworks included in your portfolio is logos and brand identities, you are most likely going to be hired for creating logo and brand identity design. You only have to be wise enough to compile a portfolio that represents your skills and mostly types of works that you’d really love to be doing.