Compiling your work for a portfolio can be really challenging especially when you want your work to stand out. It’s very important to make your portfolio to the point and relevant leaving behind all the unnecessary work that we add initially. Being experienced in the field and trying different workplaces gave me a brief outlook on what should be added to the design portfolio and what is it that many employers look for in your portfolio.
When I was initially starting out my career, I had no one to guide me as in how things work in the practical world, all I did was read a lot about it online, and figuring out things on my own as to how one can get into a sophisticated workplace of your choice.
I don’t want anybody who has very little to no knowledge to go through the same process and waste time and reach a point where you find nothing fruitful to actually implement in real. So I decided to share to the point information about building the portfolio. So that you don’t have to go through this time-consuming process.
I want all of you guys to work on the things which are actually necessary to build your portfolio.
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Let’s see what are the things that actually make a good design portfolio :
Now, this is initially very important to have a good cover for your portfolio. You can start to showcase your skills right from the beginning which is through the cover for your portfolio.
Now what I mean by this is if you have a style of your own, use that for the cover of your portfolio.
For example, if you are good with sketching ( be it architectural sketches, monumental sketches, landscape sketches, etc.) or you are good with watercolor painting, digital sketching, photoshop, illustrations, etc. You can use these skills to make your portfolio cover.
This shows your creativity and it’s definitely an excellent way to grab anybody’s attention.
Check out the examples below –
Table Of Content
Table of content is basically the list of things you are going to add to your portfolio that has to be in sequence. Suppose you are adding your freelance projects first then you are adding your professional work and then you are adding your miscellaneous works. That sequence needs to be mentioned in the table of content.
About section has its own importance in a design portfolio. In this section, you can add your skills, your experience, your education, miscellaneous activities you were involved in, curricular activities you were involved in. Try and add these things in the about section. But make sure, you only add relevant details. And writing big paragraphs with descriptions. Try and put things in a form of bullet points. Bullet points are easy to read, and it doesn’t waste anybody’s time reading descriptive paragraphs.
It’s better to give a glance at what you are, your skills, and your experience. Also do not forget to mention your personal details as in contact, your email id.
From here your actual portfolio begins. I feel it’s very important to start your portfolio with a visual depiction of the design process. Now let me give you a brief explanation of what does this exactly means. A visual depiction of the design process is to show someone that you know the process, how things work. It can give an instant impression that you are aware of the process, how things work exactly in the practical world. You can also showcase your skills through a design process of 3d modeling, or you are good with photoshop post-processing, if you are good with raw model or sketches, you can showcase your skills through that design process.
The next thing you should add to your portfolio is freelance projects. You need to add these projects first because you want them to know that you are curious to learn new things also to give an idea that you are a self-learner. It shows your capabilities and also your interest in doing things on your own. Plus also it is a very very very strong implication that you are a self-learner. So it’s crucial to include your freelance projects first and later on, you can include your professional work.
Add at least 2 – 3 projects, that is sufficient to show your skills, your capabilities. Make sure you add a variety of projects and not repeating similar kinds of projects.
Area Of Interest & Expertise
Once you added your freelance projects, the next thing which is very important is to let them know your area of interest and your area of expertise. What are the things that you are exactly interested in when you applying for a job opportunity or applying for a design school? It is important to let them know what are your interests, what are things you exactly want to work on in the future. What are the things that interest you more? So they will give you that sort of work more.
For example, if you like 3d modeling include the process of making 3d mode, if you like lighting and like to work with different setups of light, then include examples of where you have worked on different lighting setups, different colors of light. If you love exploring with different colors, then show concepts where you worked with different color combinations, different themes. So basically let them know your area of expertise, your area of interest, what you exactly like, and what are things you would like to explore.
Another thing if you like preparing concepts, if you like preparing mood boards, then add examples of mood boards on which you have worked on.
It’s time to add your professional work once you are done with the above-mentioned points. In professional work, add 2-3 projects again which are completely different from each other. If you are adding one retail project then add one residential project and one commercial project. do not repeat similar type of projects, because here you are showing the variety of projects you have worked on. And also include those projects in which your maximum involvement was there, which means if you are involved n some projects right from the beginning till the execution part, make sure you include those projects because in that case, you are aware of the process because you were involved in different stages. So you know how things exactly work in the practical world. And trust me this is the only thing that an employer looks for in one’s portfolio. they want to know if you know the process, you have worked on the process or not, and what all stages you were involved in while working on the projects. So it’s very important you add projects, in which your major involvement was thee.
What To Add?
Now let’s discuss in detail the things you need to add to your professional projects. First things are
If you have worked on the concept of the project, make sure to add that.
This can include color combinations, themes, furniture overview, and materials.
In this, you need to add any specific furniture you have designed all by yourself, basically custom furniture design. Just to showcase that you are capable to design new furniture on your own, just to showcase your skills.
If you have worked on specific drawings like detailed drawings & working drawings. So add a sneak peek, Do not add a full set of drawings, because that’s actually not necessary. Just pick up those drawings, those elevations, and sections in which you have added all the details with labeling with the material, the complete drawing which has every single detail.
Make sure you add 3D’s as well if you have any, that would be very helpful.
Site Progress Images
Do add some site progress images to support the drawings that you have added. This is to showcase how your drawings are being executed on site.
Now comes the technical section of your portfolio. It’s important to add the technical details as well because you do not want them to have an idea that you are good with just design skills. because people look for technical specifications as well, whether you are aware of technical details or not, whether you have worked on working drawings/detailed drawings or not?
Because what this exactly showcase is your efficiency with software be it AUTOCAD, be it REVIT, be it any software because showcasing your software skills is also important And I think the most important software is AUTOCAD. So if you are well versed with AUTOCAD, make sure to add CAD drawings.
Detailed drawings are another important section for the technical section. If you working specifically for interior projects, then important drawings are mainly wardrobe drawings, toilet drawings & furniture drawings. You need to be proficient with these drawings. Even if you are not proficient, atleast try to work on some drawings by yourself, and add those to give them an idea that you are aware of the drawings.
Section & Elevations
Other things you need to add to your portfolio are elevations & sections. Sections and elevations are an important part of doing any project, that’s the most basic stage you will be working on no matter what. So make sure you add some detailed elevations and sections to your portfolio.
- Show that you can think out of the box, you are a creative individual.
- Add only relevant details. Do not write paragraphs.
- Use bullet points.
- Add your best work – max 3 projects which are completely different from each other.
- Make it to the point.
- Do not add things unnecessary just to add pages to your portfolio.
If you follow this sequence your portfolio is definitely going to be so strong. Everything I shared is completely based on my personal experience. I have almost around 6 years of professional experience. And I did switch a lot of companies, so I know what an employer exactly looks for in a portfolio.
So you can consider the sequence and these points. Definitely incorporate everything I mentioned above in your design portfolio and you will have a very strong portfolio.
I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or any queries,
You can write to me – email@example.com.
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