141125 web graphics2

Thinking Like a Designer — Portfolio Development

Thinking Like a Designer: Portfolio Development for Creative Professionals is a workshop I first led at Pop-Hop Books and Print for Trade School LA. It was a great opportunity to put together some thoughts about applying for things as an artist and designer.

I’ve always been a little obsessed with portfolios and applications. I’ve been helping friends write and edit their resumes since college and since I’ve become a designer, it’s only gotten worse: it’s now my job to be able to tell a story visually. I think the larger picture is that I’ve never felt like part of the in-crowd in design–I could never rely on my connections, school name or even the trendiness of my work to get me in. It had to be the application, just the application. (I.e. a lot of smart talking.)

The amazing thing is creating an application is a moment of design thinking. Understanding the user and responding to their needs. Offering a solution (your services, your project) and telling the story of why that’s an excellent idea. I’ve seen way too many artists not realize this and have poor presentation. It drives me nuts, it feels like they too aren’t part of the in-crowd, and I want to help.

Here is my first pass and I’m honestly interested in what people think. A lot of this stuff has worked for my work and that of my friends but maybe it’s not the right approach for specific contexts. There’s some stuff I see already that I need to flesh out and clarify. I also need to get permission to show other people’s portfolios as well as compile some portfolios I’ve done (without making it a gigantic file). I’m very interested in feedback, questions, etc. so feel free to drop me a line.

Thinking Like a Designer (download)