In their new book, Flaunt, Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit, co-founders of the UnderConsideration design network, bring together over 40 case studies of designers’ portfolios. As a guide to making “effective, compelling and memorable portfolios of creative work” the book offers great advice for students and practicing designers alike. Here, we have three case studies from the book, showing just some of the ways you can put a great portfolio of your work together.
Portfolios: an introduction
In the last ten years, both of us have been in the position you are in right now, write Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit. We laboured over various portfolios at different stages of our professional life: as graduates looking for our first job; as not-so-junior designers in search of the next step; as brooding senior designers-in-the-making hungry for bigger responsibilities; and, most recently, as principals of our own design firm aiming to secure clientele. At all these junctures, the challenge and objective of the portfolio has remained the same – to act as a delivery mechanism that not only showcases our work and accrues experience in the most accessible, effective, and attractive manner, but also manages to communicate the subjective subtleties of who we are as both designers and individuals. The portfolio irrevocably becomes an object brimming with potential, yet burdened with hope; it acts as intermediary between our work, personality, and the possible, always uncertain, future.
‘It’s all about the work’ is a common response to the portfolio conundrum, implying that if you have good work, you never need to worry about how it is presented – a Survival of the Fittest design theory. For a few extra-talented designers, this might hold true; but for the rest of us, we still need to find a way to cohesively, succinctly, and creatively display our work. This work is so typically disparate in medium and scope that it challenges us to develop a visual and editorial strategy that can accommodate any given combination of logos, identity systems, music and video packaging, book covers, magazine covers and spreads, environmental design and signage, websites, and more. Presenting this medley of work can take on a number of forms, from groovy bags to sophisticated cases with loose samples of the work; perfect-bound books of flawlessly photographed work; custom-made boxes with work mounted on neatly-trimmed boards; off-the-shelf ring binders with the work stuffed in them; and more. To make matters more complicated, there is no right or wrong, nor better or worse, solution. The only way to discover what works for each of us is to assess the work we want to show, define the logistics of how we want to show it, and acknowledge the abilities and resources we have to make it happen.
Flaunt: Designing effective, compelling and memorable portfolios of creative work, is published by UnderConsideration and is out now priced at $24.99. Flaunt is also available as a PDF edition ($15) from underconsideration.com/flaunt. All text and images used by kind permission of the authors.