Designers wear their portfolios as badges of honour. At the end of the day, it is the one place where designers can freely showcase their work without the pressures and limitations of social media or traditional curriculums. Also, they can easily be customised and personalised to the tastes and needs of the designer, making it another creative outlet where design can live on.
Despite their positive sides, portfolios can also be incredibly daunting, especially to designers just starting out. Because they’re a designers’ cover letter and CV all at once, the pressure to show everything you’ve ever done is hard to quell. And for many, individual work outside university is scarce or not up-to professional standards.
It would be also amiss to ignore how quickly portfolios have advanced in the last few years: they are no longer the stylised books or pdfs of before. Now, most portfolios now have a website component, with many of them adopting highly technical and complicated features to convey their tech savviness.
But enough with the downsides: every challenge is an opportunity for a good designer! In this article we’ll give you 10 tips on how to ace your portfolio and kill it in your next application for a studio. Also, we’ll guide you to some fabulous examples we’ve scoured the web for. Can’t say we don’t spoil you! If you’d like to contribute to this article with your own portfolio, send us an email!
TOP 10: Things you should definitely include in your portfolio
- Resumé. Even if the focus is on showing your best work, the basics need to be covered too! In order to write a resumé about yourself, make sure you’re putting your sales hat on. Whether it’s an employer or a client, show off your education, professional background and overall personality. This section is key for the rest to flow well. Also, remember that this is your branding kit; use a coherent spread of fonts, colours and templates to showcase your coherence as an artist and brand.
- Skills. Every designer shares a strict set of skills, but all designers have something special about them. Make sure to list what programmes you excel at and what roles you have undertaken in your previous roles. Even if they’re not strictly design-related, being acquainted with project management software or social media can be extremely beneficial to you.
- Individual work. Onto the meat of it all. Include high quality pictures of projects you have completed on your own (or at least ones you led). If you haven’t gotten to this place in your career, you can offer your services to family and friends to build your repertoire. Nothing wrong in practising your skills with loved ones!
- Teamwork. Individual work is not everything though. The reality is that most people do much for their work with other people. To make sure you show the scope of your work, annotate exactly what parts of the project you worked in. Did you do the sketches? Did you choose the furniture? Did you tweak the designs after chatting to the client? Whatever it is, be specific about your contributions.
- Design concepts. If you don’t have that many pictures, design concepts can be a fantastic way to show your imagination and empathy towards a client. Think of different situations and how you would respond to them. For example, create a flat for a painter in Nice in need of a well lit studio. A tiny-house under 20sqm. A minimalist loft in NYC. Whatever it is, get creative and show off those skills!
- Layouts. Alongside design concepts, layouts show your sense of function, ergonomics and balance, so make sure you include a few.
- Mood boards. This is a nice place to show the breadth and depth of your references and creativity. Also, mood boards show your design process, so they are a great place to show how an idea can turn into reality.
- Trend awareness. This is a tricky one. To one extent, you should show your own style and not overuse the current interior design trends. On the other hand, you should have an awareness of what’s popular and chic at the moment. Wherever possible, include some up-to-date designs that show their currentness.
- 3D renders. While 3D rendering is not a prerequisite for interior designers, it is definitely a pro if you can show off those technical skills.
- Sketches. As an artist, designer and in some cases, architect, sketches show your understanding of perspective, space and contrast.
TOP 4: Website interior design portfolios we love
Sleek, with plenty of information and a coherent colour palette. Love!
This one is dark and moody, with a specific section dedicated to their specialty. Smart use of links!
Here we love the amount of information we get from each tile and project. Really makes us understand the objectives and results of each.
This is design central. Smooth, innovative and with a touch of the unexpected. Go to their site and explore the change of colours asyou scroll. Truly fab!