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How important is it to show your process? and WHY?

over 4 years ago from , Designer

Showing your working process when talking about your work is important to me. I can gauge a good idea of how someone approaches a project and their thinking behind it.

How important is it to show your process in your portfolio online and in real life? and WHY?

15 comments

  • Dan SherrattDan Sherratt, over 4 years ago

    I don't necessarily think it's important to show your process in your portfolio online, although I've seen it done very well in the past. Potential employers will likely be making initial judgments on first impressions (as much as we'd like to believe they don't) and digging deeper in an interview.

    It's much more important in practice in my opinion, due to the nature of design being so subjective there's often stakeholders in projects that question the minutiae of your decisions, often rightly so. Having documented your process provides you with priceless ammunition and often saves your blushes.

    12 points
    • Jordan J, over 4 years ago

      100% Agree with Dan on this. Because everyone has a different taste, explaining what you did and for what reason is the only way to show your colours as a designer.

      2 points
  • Andy LeverenzAndy Leverenz, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

    I think in our competitive cut throat industry, showing progress is very important. I try to imagine myself in a position of hiring an agency or designer. From there I look to the designer or agency to provide great work but also how they added value to the end result.

    Anyone can design a landing page or ui kit for example and throw them up on dribbble. What doesn't get seen while doing so is just as important as what finally does. I wish there was a show and tell for case studies (other than behance).

    Enter case studies. A case study provides all the problems and solutions of a project. It's more of a visual Q & A. Customers or clients who see your case studies see how you work, your commitment to the art, and most important the added value they will receive.

    5 points
  • John PJohn P, over 4 years ago

    I can gauge a good idea of how someone approaches a project

    Is this actually important or is the outcome more important?

    3 points
    • Nick HallamNick Hallam, over 4 years ago

      It's a fair question. I've always been inclined to value the journey as much as the destination. A lot of my favorite work from other creatives often has sound conceptual ideas behind it or a well thought out direction. Is it really a question of one being more important than the other? Or are process and outcome one equally as significant?

      1 point
      • John PJohn P, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

        A lot of my favorite work from other creatives often has sound conceptual ideas behind it or a well thought out direction

        This doesn't only exist in certain creative processes. I mean usually if it has sound conceptual ideas then the whole creative concept can be summed up in under a paragraph and is disconnected from process. Intense documentation of process is usually required in situations where the concept is resting on shaky foundations where the journey is used as a crutch to make up for the weaker destination.

        People who doubt this please read the Pepsi rebrand document

        1 point
    • Mark Jenkins, over 4 years ago

      I think Dan explains some of that below when there may be a specific reason to understand the process better depending on the field of work. If I want to understand how an individual may work within a team or an organisation then I might use their process as a better way of gauging this – how someone fits in...

      0 points
  • Jeff Zych, over 4 years ago

    As a hiring manager, I care much more about a person's process than the output. Reading about a person's process in their online portfolio tells me about how they approach and solve problems. The final output is just the tip of the iceberg.

    2 points
  • Adam Silver, over 4 years ago

    I think it is very important to show your process because I want to know WHY something has been designed this way. If you don't know WHY then I see that as a problem.

    1 point
  • Tyrale BloomfieldTyrale Bloomfield, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

    Hey Mark, I didn't know you were on DN. Good to see you here. Looks like you started a good discussion. As you know, I take a more pragmatic approach to things like this.

    The outcome is the most important. No matter the thinking or the rationalizations if it performs poorly, it is a failure. There is nothing wrong with making a failure, as long as you have learned from it, know how you got to where to landed, and can improve on the next iteration.

    The outcome is the end result of a process. If you can show your process, you gain understanding, trust, and relationship equity. You show you can reproduce a good outcome, or avoid the next failed one.

    Everyone loves to see the shiny at the end, and we can make certain assumptions on work based on the result. If you can show how you arrived at the outcome, you not only support the good feeling from the shiny, but you demonstrate mastery of the domain.

    Call it a case study or whatever, the real value comes from a holistic picture of your project. The idea, concept, prototypes, process, iterations, and outcome together show your work, not the result alone.

    tl;dr

    Show it all. Your work is more than the result.

    1 point
  • Alex PaxtonAlex Paxton, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

    Documenting process is a good way to show a client what it's like to work with you and how a project unfolds. A lot of clients think design is a black box where you put money and ideas in and get something shiny on the other side. You've seen those diagrams showing how chaotic the creative process is, showing your process gives some insight into the chaos for non-designers

    Either way showing your process can never hurt you, so I don't see why not

    1 point
  • Morgan SmithMorgan Smith, over 4 years ago

    I completely agree that showing your process is important, both for the client and for yourself. When you document your process, you're able to demonstrate how you develop ideas and take direction from others (something clients will care about). Plus, documenting your process will force you to think about it in different ways – you might just find some methods that you want to improve/expand upon! (For more on this, here's an article I wrote back in February: Why you should include your process in your portfolio)

    1 point
  • cliff nowickicliff nowicki, over 4 years ago

    I think it's very important to show your process for both online and in real life. The online portfolio is a typical gateway for the viewer to see your process and to see that you actually HAVE a process and train of thought. Showing the process online has always been the edge in terms of looking for the next job or client. In real life, it just needs to be done. You've showed you have kickass work now it's time to explain it to someone face to face. If you just show work and don't talk about it, you might as well write a sign on your face that says "I just copied my work so I don't know what anything I did means"

    1 point
  • Grant McAllisterGrant McAllister, over 4 years ago

    For me it's very important to show process, it explains certain decisions and will give me an insight in to how you made your decisions.

    My design process is user focused and data driven, a good process can identify other opportunities or unknowns that we can test and experiment with to improve the solution for the user.

    But with regards to is it important to explain it, well it really depends on the context. If you are trying to get hired - showing your process online can take some of the guess work out of the evaluation for the employer and it also allows other designers to learn from your work. Same thing in an actual interview the process is important so they can determine how you tackle problems and if that is the type of designer that would fit in well there.

    If you are just flexing your UI skills and having some fun with a project, the process may not be that important.

    But, I love seeing how other designers work so I can constantly improve my workflow and how I approach challenges - so I'm all for it :)

    1 point
    • Mark Jenkins, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

      "My design process is user focused and data driven..."

      Have you got any examples where you may have documented your process and explained the relationship that the data has?

      0 points