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What does a portfolio look like in 2014?

5 years ago from , Product Designer @ Match.com

What do you bring to an interview for visual/interactive/UX design.

23 comments

  • Joel CalifaJoel Califa, 5 years ago

    I don't bring anything to interviews. I just open my site up on a laptop.

    My new portfolio got about 50 companies pursuing me at once. For UX I think the big things were explaining my thought process and including mistakes. For visual, process is important as well, but the final product carries more weight.

    I would spend some time thinking about what kind of place you want to work at and curate your portfolio for that. Is it an agency? Add you edgier work, maybe some content sites you've done. Is it a product company? Add designs for mobile or web apps.

    If you don't have anything yet, make it!

    10 points
    • Tor Løvskogen BollingmoTor Løvskogen Bollingmo, 5 years ago

      Do you think those 50 companies was mostly because of the way you've structured the content or the traffic you had around the launch?

      7 points
      • Alex CampbellAlex Campbell, 5 years ago

        I think it's part how minimal and universally-appealing the site is, as well as having a lot of relevant keywords.

        1 point
      • Joel CalifaJoel Califa, 5 years ago

        I think it was the way I structured the content and maybe some of the details I built in. The launch on DN got around 10 of those companies but the rest reached my portfolio directly.

        This is an excerpt from one of the emails I got: "Great work! Seeing case studies versus a group of thumbnails with lightboxes is a breath of fresh air." The rest were similar.

        0 points
    • Derryl CarterDerryl Carter, 5 years ago

      Nice job with your site. Really clean, and the information is well-structured

      2 points
  • Julien Pelletier, 5 years ago

    Side projects ! :) I think that more and more designers have a github profile. That can be a reliable proof of what you've shipped.

    6 points
  • Nathan NNathan N, 5 years ago

    It seems like the biggest trend these days is case-studies that show your process. Not a day goes by that I don't see a new UX portfolio with 300+ word project writeups.

    4 points
    • Marcos MejiaMarcos Mejia, 5 years ago

      I personally prefer seeing portfolios like this now and days, especially when the person is more in a product oriented role. It's becoming increasingly more important to show your thought process and involvement in projects rather than just designs as many designers vary is range of actual involvement.

      2 points
    • Klare FrankKlare Frank, 5 years ago

      Potential employers want to see the thought put into a project as much as the end result, but nothing sells the work more than confidently talking about it in person.

      1 point
    • Sean Lester, 5 years ago

      Very solid input in this comment thread. Thanks!

      1 point
  • Chad Thornton, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

    I've been interviewing and reviewing portfolios since '04 and usually look at a dozen or more every week.

    Agreed that case studies online are preferred, especially if you're applying for something more UX focused. It's important to demonstrate your understanding of the problem you were given (or maybe that you reframed), and how you went about solving that problem.

    Also, please don't just re-present your website in an interview. The hiring manager has already read it — it's too easy for it to feel like a rehash.

    Consider showing less online with teasers about what you can follow up on in person. Or only show one in-depth case study online, saving the others for the meeting. If the interview is more than a 1-on-1, you're probably better off preparing a presentation to introduce yourself, talk about what matters to you as a designer, who inspires you, etc. as well as show your work.

    Also, prototypes — even basic ones in Keynote / Invision / Flinto / Marvel — often go over well in an interview. Or record screencasts as a fallback.

    More advice I wrote elsewhere: How context matters when presenting your work (Quora)Hiring a Designer: How to Review Portfolios (Google Ventures)

    2 points
  • John KarlssonJohn Karlsson, 5 years ago

    While on the portfolio subject, how do you guys deal with retina support? Especially when showing off older projects?

    2 points
    • Luis La TorreLuis La Torre, 5 years ago

      using css media queires for retina displays and switching images to 2x resolution

      0 points
      • John KarlssonJohn Karlsson, 5 years ago

        Thanks for the tip, however I also meant the problem with old projects that prob aint designed for retina. Do you go back and redesign in 2x or do you just accept the lowres?

        1 point
        • Alex JohnAlex John, 5 years ago

          I wouldn't sweat it. People understand there was a time before retina. Use your skills to make your portfolio better in other areas.

          2 points
  • Caleb SylvestCaleb Sylvest, 5 years ago

    For my first job I carried around a print portfolio, which worked at the time.

    For my second and third job I said screw it, used an iPad with images to show my work. Which was much easier to update and maintain, and even flip through and display the work.

    And the companies that actually offered me a position (and I accepted) never even asked me to pull the portfolio out when we met. They had already reviewed my work online, and if they had questions asked.

    In the end, do what feels right, but don't get hung up on how you display your work, whether on an iPad or printed on paper. However you handle your portfolio show your best work, explain it well, and display it like a pro.

    Bonus: one reason a print portfolio may not always be a good idea is because of the craft aspect. I've seen people with excellent digital work hand out poorly crafted print portfolios, and that sucks. So if you produce a print portfolio, use good paper with good print quality and make it look dang good!

    2 points
  • Nathan Garvie, 5 years ago

    I've gone in with Minimal Folio (http://www.simonheys.com/minimalfolio/) on an ipad so that I can access the work offline and work that might not be public. Not great for interactive work because it's static and image based but normally gets the job done and can hop into something live if need be.

    2 points
  • Christy Lee N.Christy Lee N., 5 years ago

    I'm still in college and have one more semester left..this was a heated debate last semester haha!

    The result: Depends on where you're applying.

    If your'e applying to a print based design studio, perhaps it is more appropriate to have a printed portfolio. And likewise, if you're applying to a digital studio, an ipad will do ya just fine..a laptop can sometimes feel clunky.

    The last interview I went on they just requested to see my portfolio website, which I presented on a iPad. And 6 pieces was more than enough to show.

    0 points
  • Miguel Solorio, 5 years ago

    I would be prepared for anything and everything.

    Going into an interview, you should already be familiar with the company you're interviewing with, so it's good to cater your work towards what the company is looking for. Additionally, I would be prepared to bring any additional work you find relevant (side projects, prototypes, process book, etc.). As being part of both sides of the interview process, there's nothing more assuring about a candidate than when you throw a curve ball at them and they're prepared to hit it out of the park.

    Also, covering the little details of your interview will go a long ways: i.e. - researching your interviewees, bringing a lot of questions, printing plenty of resumes/business cards, if you're showing work on a laptop make sure you have proper cables/battery/offline versions of your work, etc.

    Remember, your portfolio gets your foot in the door. Your mouth lands you the job.

    0 points
  • Diego LafuenteDiego Lafuente, 5 years ago

    I will build mine using Octopress. I really need just a simple layout. Nothing fancy at all.

    0 points
  • Andreas Ubbe Dall, 5 years ago

    I think a lot of designers simply use their dribbble or behance profiles as portfolios.

    0 points
    • Sean Lester, 5 years ago

      In this case, this is not an option. I'll be required to present something more formal in the interview. My Dribbble did get me in the door, however.

      0 points