Portfolio Tips for Budding Designers

Portfolio Tips

Whether you’re applying for an internship or a job, an impressive portfolio is your best weapon. It doesn’t matter how loud, confident or even experienced the competition is — if your portfolio stands out and demonstrates a wide range of skills, you’re in with a good chance of securing the work. Here’s how to improve your portfolio and get noticed:

Quality Over Quantity

Only include your best work in your portfolio. If you only have two or three pieces you’re happy with, you’re not ready. Filling your portfolio with mediocre work is worse than leaving it empty, and will make you look impatient, unprofessional or lazy.

Brand Yourself

Turning your name or initials into a logo is one way to do this. You want potential clients and employees to remember you as well as your work. Being known for a good design is great, but being known as a good designer is even better. If your brand isn’t memorable, how can clients trust you to make theirs memorable?

Don’t Neglect Print

You might have an impressive online portfolio, but if you show people, they’re likely to look at it once and then forget about it. We read so much online that it’s hard to keep track of what we’ve seen, and finding things again is near impossible.

A print portfolio can sit on a bookshelf, a waiting-room table, or be filed away in a cabinet — and can be sought out, or stumbled upon, at any time. Tactile things are far more memorable, too. Bonus points for putting something useful in your portfolio (think free drinks coasters, or postcards, or bookmarks featuring your designs).

Tailor Your Portfolio

When applying for a job, the sensible thing to do is tailor your personal statement or CV to suit the position you’re applying for. The same goes for your portfolio — only include things that will interest the person you’re showing it to.

You don’t have to start from scratch every time you show your portfolio to someone new, though. Just tweak it a bit. Regularly switching the contents up should also prevent them from getting old or out-of-date, so you shouldn’t have to worry about replacing them every year. Alternatively, design two separate portfolios and just use the best fit for the job. If you’re often in a hurry, this might be more practical.

Use Recommendations and Case Studies

It’s easier to understand a design if it’s contextualised, so it’s good practice to include at least one case study in your portfolio and explain the process behind the finished design. Introduce the project, explain why you made the creative decisions you did, and if possible, include a recommendation from the client, too.

Showcase Your Talents

It’s not just about what’s in the portfolio  — how the portfolio is designed is incredibly important for any budding graphic designer as well. Use your website to show your typography, layout and logo skills. You want your portfolio to be impressive in its own right, but don’t go overboard — it still needs to look professional.

Why You Should Learn to Code in 2014

Website coding

Coding, it seems, is now a political issue. The government is backing a new campaign to promote programming in schools, with admittedly mixed results. Yet the great thing about coding is that it’s never too late to start – anyone can learn to code and teach themselves if they are willing to put in the time and hard work.

There’s no short of demand either. Each website you browse, as well as each application you play with on your phone, has been coded a team of developers, or one at least one incredibly diligent individual, like our professional web development services. To top it all off, it is also an industry that was in the top 10 of best-paid jobs in 2013 in the UK according to the Guardian, so not only is it one that is going to be around for a while, it is also one you can make a good living from.

Take a seat. Get comfortable. You are going to be here for a while.

Fortunately for those of us interested in the ever growing IT world, we know that the technology used on a daily basis by users the world over is not going anywhere in a hurry. At least for the next 50 years, we will need websites to browse, smartphones will need apps built that will tell us where we should be having dinner in our favourite neighbourhoods, and televisions are getting in on the act with regards to allowing us to surf the internet and send emails from the comfort of our couches.

Now why should this be relevant to you? Well, with the knowledge that there will be work for at least half a century, it just makes sense to get involved in an industry that is booming and will surely be around, and with today’s technology at our fingertips, it has never been easier to get involved today.

Idle hands are the devils playground.

Even if you have a full-time job, it is always a bonus to keep yourself busy after hours learning a new skill rather than wasting your time in front of the television or playing Angry Birds on your phone for hours on end. With universities like Harvard offering a free introductory course into Computer Science, getting started in the world of programming has never been simpler.

Future employees who look at your CV and see that you were self-driven enough to get an online course under your belt in your spare time, will most likely see you as a highly valuable addition to their team. Programming also helps people to not only apply logic to what they are doing on a daily basis, but will offer you the ability to think out of the box, and basically create something that millions may see and use on a daily basis, all with a few lines of code.

Teach a man to fish.

Now many people will be perplexed and unsure about how to even think about getting into the world of programming. Well, you are already ahead of the curve if you are reading this online behind your Mac or PC, as it means you have an internet connection and already have a world of knowledge at your fingertips. Finding the relevant information and programs you would use to develop in a relevant language are only a Google search away.

Just remember, if you are playing in the online space, protect yourself from viruses, you will thank me in the long run, especially when you are looking for help with an obscure problem on a website that is ridden with malware. Once you get started, even if you end up going to a university or by teaching yourself, the work will be hard and tiring, but the rewards will be immense if you persevere.

Many have quit their full-time jobs and are working for themselves from the comfort of their own home, developing applications for the Apple and Google Play stores, making money off of in-app purchases and application sales for a great idea they may have had, which they developed in their spare time. Other companies are willing to pay thousands for a resource they may not have internally, and one that is scarce in a massively expanding technological world.

So instead of asking yourself “Why should I learn to code in 2014?” you should be asking yourself “Why have I not started yet?”