31 comments

  • Kyle ConradKyle Conrad, over 3 years ago

    I imagine this is easy to say for someone with 72 thousand Twitter followers and is incredibly well known within the industry.

    37 points
  • Julian DornJulian Dorn, almost 4 years ago

    Should designers design?

    35 points
  • John PJohn P, almost 4 years ago

    Just a high res picture of your face and a link to some medium articles is enough /s

    14 points
  • Mike Wilson, almost 4 years ago

    If you can't coherently and succinctly communicate what you've done for clients in the past using visuals and words, then you aren't a very good designer. Presenting information and making it digestible is in the damn job description. While it might take some time to put together, portfolios are the great equalizer. They cut through all the credentialism bullshit (were your rich parents able to pay for RISD?) and social/race/gender bias.

    I don't think I know a single person who would hire someone who is still expected to be executional without showing work samples. It doesn't have to be a bunch of novel-length case studies, just something. There's way too many "big team" designers floating around now who have gotten good at Fortune 500 company politics while never actually designing anything.

    The exception is if you are management level, which at that point, it's more about what your team has done and not you specifically.

    11 points
    • Account deleted almost 4 years ago

      When you read his thread, he is not saying it's OK to not have a portfolio. He's saying it's sad how many companies require one immediately to even start a dialogue. ANY dialogue. Without one, the submission process falls down and even the most talented people never get through.

      To be fair though, there is no excuse to not have a domain and at least some messaging/design to the effect of "Work samples available on request" ... some presence.

      In the end, this is something that affects newer designers more than those whom have built up a network and have some work history behind their belt.

      I completely agree with the "Fortune 500" comment though.

      10 points
  • Nice ShoesNice Shoes, almost 4 years ago

    One day the design industry is going to implode. This has to be one of the most idiotic remarks I've heard in a long long time.

    10 points
  • Jonathan YapJonathan Yap, over 3 years ago

    Seems like an overstatement but I share the sentiment both from an applying and hiring perspective.

    Applicant - Honestly, with my current role, it's almost impossible to find time to update and maintain something I have done a million times at work. All with the maintain and build keeping my own content and site up to date, It's tough. On top of that, with all the IP and sensitivity around projects, everything has an NDA attached. However, I interpret this as digital/web portfolio, but have one in hand to show and talk. That I have tonnes I can share in person. Now getting in the door, that's probably another thing.

    Hiring - I've interviewed a lot of people but it definitely makes it easier to interpret if someone has a necessary background and skill set, but we also have some who fabricate their role and involvement by taking credit for someone else's work. Portfolio as a ticket isn't always right. Some of the better talents also have a minimal web presence but was able to articulate and get through the initial door. They do bring work to the table but largely it was a about the person and the role.

    So a fancy portfolio is great to have, but I feel not a must up front. There are a lot of other factors do come in to play when hiring, but definitely show some work that you can talk about.

    6 points
  • Kyle DeckerKyle Decker, over 3 years ago

    As a young designer, I will say this—spending a few weeks putting together a solid portfolio of case studies has helped immensely in getting offers from places I would like to work. Sure, the work and the "talent" were already there, but assembling it all into a single, digestible resource of what I've worked on and why has been indispensable. There will always be people and places outside of your personal network.

    5 points
  • Tim SilvaTim Silva, over 3 years ago

    While the title is rightfully provocative, I think that digging into the nuances really explains how this is possible. I have worked at an agency, and inside two large corporate companies. Some of the leading design (and engineering) talent we worked with had virtually no online presence, aside from a LinkedIn profile and some obscure websites like StackOverflow, Medium, etc, where there accounts were dormant. There were two people in particular that I am thinking of who were ghosts online, but they were in hands-on, leading roles for massive projects. It is easy to describe this as laziness, being to busy, or anything else that comes to mind. It is probably a complex mix of variables. Maybe they just have a large collection of files that they share privately and provide verbal walkthroughs for. Just because they don't have a website, it shouldn't disqualify them. I believe that is Jared's point. By excluding all people without a portfolio, you might be missing out on some great candidates.

    I don't think that having a solid portfolio with recent work would hurt anyone though. The title and tone suggests that might be his recommendation, but I certainly didn't interpret it that way at all.

    I'm just glad to see discussion around the fact that online portfolios seem less and less common these days compared to a few years ago. Lots of designers just use Behance, Dribbble, Twitter, or Instagram to post their work and attract new clients.

    2 points
  • Jarod Sutphin, almost 4 years ago (edited almost 4 years ago )

    Despite his 72 thousand followers and his deep UX knowledge and credentials, the site link in his twitter bio goes to an unresponsive web page. Just wanted to point that out.

    2 points
  • Trev MorrisTrev Morris, almost 4 years ago

    Yes. Yes they should.

    Designers need to be able to talk about their work and explain the process behind it, what form that takes is totally up to them. We should all be documenting our process anyway - whether it's for us to review and better our processes or for a future employer.

    2 points
  • Freckley FrecklesonFreckley Freckleson, almost 4 years ago

    I can't believe how many people viciously hate what this guy said. Man I would love to not have to maintain a portfolio. Web design is becoming less visually creative and more general in nature, depending on what kind of designer you are. My last project is hard to demonstrate without words because of the various people involved in it, and no-one wants to read words. A lot of my work didn't even involve visuals, rather brainstorming and communication.

    I don't know who decided that every web designer needs a bloody website. It's a lot of work and it's not good for privacy unless you hide it well. If you want to keep with design trends you probably have to redesign each year, unless you're so good you can design a timeless website. Having said all that, I have always had one and every job I apply for requires one. This guy has a point, but don't get any bad ideas from him.

    2 points
  • Mike MaiMike Mai, over 3 years ago

    I have a portfolio, but will only show it in person. It works like a charm. I don't get shitty leads. That being said, personal branding needs to kick ass for potential clients to research about you and reach out. If someone is willing to spend time on learning about you, that's a good lead.

    2 points
  • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, almost 4 years ago

    seems like an oversimplification, varies wildly based on the design role.

    2 points
    • Account deleted over 3 years ago (edited over 3 years ago )

      The core of what he is saying is correct though. Really good designers never have time to mess around with a new portfolio site just for the heck of it. They have freelance or they have a FT job to get stuff done. Maybe it's even a pet project... but it sure isn't a portfolio.

      The main issue he is bringing up is that when companies require a portfolio to even start a dialogue, the process is messed. My last few jobs have all been landed through networking... and once they pinged me "Hey, X said you might be a great fit for what we're doing... do you have time to chat"... I went all-in on creating an updated "portfolio" to show them.

      Portfolios shouldn't be a requirement to talk, it should be something that validates that someone does the work they say they do.

      EDIT: A way around this though is what some designers like Dann Petty are doing... simply updating Dribbble or a Behance account with a quick screenshot. It's a "taste" without the time-suck of a traditional online portfolio.

      9 points
      • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, over 3 years ago

        Portfolios shouldn't be a requirement to talk, it should be something that validates that someone does the work they say they do.

        i agree, there are other ways to start the conversation. but the question is about having a portfolio at all, not if it's needed to get a foot in the door.

        0 points
      • Daniel FoscoDaniel Fosco, over 3 years ago (edited over 3 years ago )

        That's exactly how we're working on new hires — approaching close people from the industry and inviting them to talk, then requesting a few extra samples of work, in the form of case studies.

        If you're a cold call applying for a job, you should have something to show your work however, at least to get the conversation started.

        0 points
        • John PJohn P, over 3 years ago

          Thats exactly the approach all those companies in tech now accused on only hiring white dudes took.

          1 point
          • Daniel FoscoDaniel Fosco, over 3 years ago (edited over 3 years ago )

            Thanks for the heads up – we try to venture out there as much as possible to hire without (or with less) bias. It's a work in progress, though, as you can see from our team page :/

            Mind you, we're in Brazil, so while inequality in the workplace still happens and it's something we actively fight against, the market landscape is a whole different story.

            0 points
          • Account deleted over 3 years ago

            There is nothing wrong with going out and hiring the best latent available - regardless of skin color, religious beliefs, etc. Attitude, communications skills, and work ethic are HUGE. If you have an inside track on someone who would gel with the team and get shit done... there is no reason you shouldn't go after them.

            The key is the job should be publicly visible on the website - and a fair period of time must be given to allow people to apply.

            You will need to look over everyone to ensure even your "inside" pick is clearly the better option for your needs. You never know, sometimes you can find great people you never anticipated in the open posting... you bring them in and like them a ton.

            0 points
  • jj moijj moi, almost 4 years ago (edited almost 4 years ago )

    it sounds off because the way he said it. what he is saying is just: many best designers don't have a portfolio, so don't dismiss people just because they don't have one.

    1 point
  • ja krish, almost 4 years ago

    Wow, I can skip an interview with this saying.

    1 point
  • Andy LeverenzAndy Leverenz, over 3 years ago

    Does a bear shit in the woods?

    0 points
  • iterati designiterati design, almost 4 years ago

    Results speak for themselves and top designers know or have heard about each other.

    0 points
  • Ben Henschel, over 3 years ago (edited over 3 years ago )

    So it seems I'm one of the few people who agrees with Jared. The same is true for networking events, the best people are too busy making shit.

    I'm in no way saying I'm top design talent (far from it) but I find having to submit a portfolio frustrating.

    I actually don't really have a portfolio, I have a website but nothing is on there except some links to LinkedIn, Dribbble (which I never post to anymore) and Github (which is probably the best place to see what projects I'm working on).

    The biggest problem I have is that I work as a in house designer for a company (not an agency). I don't own the work I do, and since it's a paid service my work isn't available publicly. I would show screenshots of our app privately in an interview, but I can't post screenshots of it on my portfolio.

    I curious what other in house designers do for their portfolio? Just have a lot of side projects?

    0 points
  • John Jackson, over 3 years ago

    I have a difficult time keeping my portfolio up-to-date. In fact, if you visit it right now, you're not going to see anything except my rate, contact email, and a link to my Dribbble. I just haven't had the time to design an up-to-date portfolio.

    Did that prevent me from getting a job? Not necessarily. But it probably caused quite a few companies to skip over me when I was in the process of seeking out and applying for design positions earlier in the year.

    A publicly available portfolio isn't a concrete requirement for landing a job. It does, however, provide you with a great advantage and (in my experience) makes it much easier to land on a short-list of design candidates.

    I should update my portfolio...

    0 points