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What Should New Designers Put in Their Portfolios?

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In this week’s question time video I talk about what I think new designers should put in their portfolios if they haven’t done any live client work, and whether you should include part time jobs as your work experience on your CV or resume.

This week’s questions

Sheena Vijan
I need your suggestions on how to start my work as a website and graphic designer as in how should I develop a portfolio for myself because I have only done just 1 graphic design project as yet.

Chris Peterson
Hey Chris, looking for an opinion on resumes in regards to graphic design positions. I have had no real design jobs and the only thing I can put for work experience is from retail and restaurant jobs, should I even bother?

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If you have a question you would like to submit for an upcoming episode add it to the comments below, or send it to me on my Formspring account.

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20 Comments

  1. Great advise, making a strong portfolio that stands out from the crowd is always important.

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  2. I think any work is relevant for a portfolio so long as it looks professional and shows your skills. Personal projects also show that you have an interest and passion outside of your paid work.

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  3. Rick says:

    Nice vid! I think it’d definetly help other future designers (like me) get started on their portfolio..

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  4. kirk says:

    Hey man these videos are always a nice way to start the morning. keep it up. this topic in particular wasn’t for me but i can’t think of any suggestions yet. you’ll be the first place i come when i think of something though.

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  5. nice advice, tks

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  6. Melissa says:

    Thanks for the vid! I think as a designer-looking-for-a-job you should put time in ‘designing’ your resume. A regular, boring resume (design-wise) will not attract as much attention as a creative one. If your resume stands out because of it’s creativity and design, I believe your chances go up drastically of being invited for an interview. So I think you can make a great impression even if you don’t have much experience or much portfolio-material yet.

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  7. Nate says:

    Thanks for the Video, always informative! Question: As a freelancer / blogger what is your daily work routine?

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  8. Begginigs are never easy. My first works were also my own and school projects. Most of them are still in my portfolio;]

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  9. JBStudioArte says:

    A good portfolio is very important. Thanks for the post.

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  10. greg says:

    Good video. I think that less is more definitely applies here! I see a lot of portfolios with some good work, and tons of filler. A few good pieces is enough to see talent in someone, whether it is client or student work. Also keep style in mind. You need to set yourself apart.

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  11. Kizi99.com says:

    Thanks for the Video, always make it.

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  12. Mike says:

    Great video, portfolio’s are trickier than I though, who knew it could be so hard compared to design itself!

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  13. John says:

    This is very helpful Chris.
    For the new designers out there, it doesn’t matter if you have no client just yet, if you love web design and have been doing it as a hobby, then you can show those samples. If you have none yet, then it is best that you build your portfolio by making a few samples, probably at least 5. Without samples, your application for a job would not be entertained. After all, you are a designer, the samples will justify how good you are, not the text in your CV or how long your CV is. So start making samples of your work and give it your best shot.

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    • Ashok says:

      Thanks Chris and John for motivating a new designers like me. I am working as a graphic designer for print and trying to be a web designer. I am learning it myself as google and chris’s blog line25 is guiding me a lot. As I am trying to make my own blog and porfolio I start my day by marking up code for my blog on wordpress. I stay in front of my laptop whole day, at the end of the day I get myself in lots of confusion. What to include or what to not ? I think I am not going in organized way as a web designer should. So I would like to know the way a professional web designer organize his/her work. As Nate asked in comment how a freelancer or let’s say a web designer manages to work in a organized system. I have also got a similar question for you Chris. How do you get started in your project? (sorry for my english)

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  14. Thanks Chris and John for motivating a new designers like me. I am working as a a freelance web designer. I never serious for portfolio but after reading your article i realized its important.
    this is my site please tell me your review for site.

    once again thanks!

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  15. Steve says:

    Pretty great subject matter here. I’m working on my first portfolio site..and I’m using my own stuff I have no client work yet.

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  16. Hello, well I’ve got another topic for a next video the thing its that im still a student and i consider myself a good designer, but most of the agencies/ freelance proyects wont pay me the same as a guy who´s out of school… how do we deal with that?? i always reject proyects like that because i dont want to live my life with payments significant payments, but theres other designers who accept working with less or the same payment… what should we do for designer to respect their profesion and let the clients know that we deserve better payments?(i know its kinda weird my topic question, but i would really liek to know how to deal and keep my reputation without loosing clients)
    thanks!

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  17. I often get students come to me with non commercial uni work. This is good but ideally I’m looking for commercial work so I recommend starting out on People per hour and get a few jobs on there to build your portfolio. It also shows that you are ambitious if you’ve taken the time out to do this. Good video.

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