Wow, I’ve received several emails from both professionals and students discussing their portfolios and personal challenges within their design fields. Thank you all for sharing! A special shout out to students embarking on new careers in the toy industry—dream big and push the limits of design.
As for personal advice, I recommend you continue to work with your teachers to build the best portfolio possible and to make sure each job interview works to sharpen your book. The interview process will provide you with a gold mine of information to help you grow, if only you have the ability to apply that feedback to your portfolio.
The key to success is the ability to listen. This is where most people fail in their careers—they simply do not have strong listening skills. There are a lot of people who know everything about everything standing in line at the unemployment office. Learn to talk less and listen more.
Clear your mind so you can hear what a prospective employer has to say about your portfolio. Even if the answer is no, at that moment in time, make sure you ask what they are specifically looking for to fill that position and what it takes to work for their company.
Have the courage to listen to what they consider your areas of weakness so you can develop true strength. Once you gather that information, re-work your portfolio to show you are the one who fills those unique qualifications. If you do, they will eventually make room for you in their company or their competition will. With that said, let’s continue our 10 Really Amazing Portfolio Tips.
Include professional photographs of your manufactured toys in all their gleaming glory. I say “professional” because you can hurt yourself by showing a poor image that makes the toy look less than what it is. Check out my archived GTN article detailing how to take the best photos of your work.
Showing 3D computer images and sculpts will also help communicate how you think and solve design challenges. This is a great way to feature specific working details of your design, including form, function, surface texturing and color choices.
Interior featuring concept art for film. Dreamworks © 2012. Sorry, I'm not allowed to show my toy designs.
The classic leather bound portfolio with acetate pages has basically been replaced with digital portfolios ranging from fancy interactive PDFs, DVD portfolios, online password protected portfolios and a plethora of online community sites showcasing hundreds of other candidates.
To bury the classic portfolio even deeper, several online companies have simplified the process to easily print your own full color book as a hardcover or paperback. My premium bound book with gloss paper is the one featured in this post and printed using Blurb, an online resource.
These printed portfolio books look great and are easy to mail to prospective employers/clients. This alternative solution avoids dealing with color and brightness variations inherent in viewing digital portfolios on computer monitors, while also providing a promotional reminder of your work for future opportunities.
Part 4: Continued Next Week . . .