AMA: Sarah Parmenter

over 4 years ago from Sarah Parmenter, Founder, You Know Who

  • Scott Reuber, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

    Hi Sarah,

    Remember seeing you speak at AEA Chicago in 2012 and it was one of my favorite talks from that event! Super informative.

    My question is regarding constructing a body of work for a portfolio, but NOT as a recent graduate, as most of this advice I find is geared towards. I've been working as a web/UI designer for quite some time, at least a decade, but you wouldn't know it looking at my portfolio. Much of my work has been under NDA and it's been nigh impossible to showcase anything that isn't protected or otherwise outdated. Ideally I could point to live sites I've done for employers, but there are instances where the live product has changed after the fact (usually without my knowledge…a product specialist wants "another graphic here to 'freshen things up' or whatever) and it makes managing an online presence with work I'm proud of--"only my best!"--difficult.

    I know a lot of people aren't fans of the unsolicited redesign angle, which seemed to be a pretty good source for this kind of work and getting noticed, but it seems most other advice given falls on "Freelance" or "Scratch your own itch/design your own product". I've had minimal luck with freelancing (short of giving my work away for free, clients want to see my body-of-work too), but I've done the latter, though only as far as conceptual level; I don't have the funds to hire developers to help implement my idea, and going that route becomes an all-encompassing time investment of its own. At that point I'm no longer sprucing up my portfolio but becoming an entrepreneur, which frankly isn't my cup of tea.

    Would you have some advice or thoughts on this? (also is it me or does the whole portfolio maintenance thing bring a significant level of burnout on its own? Seems to come with the territory)

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