As designers we are required to present a portfolio of work in order to showcase our talent. Building a portfolio is somewhat of an art. But most of all it’s in the effort of constantly editing.
To remove what is not necessary in order to present the best pieces in your portfolio. At least, thats how I see it. Another word might be crafting, but that could be more working on the detail and making sure the best version is constantly being developed.
The struggle is real
I have been building portfolios for as long as I have been designing. So I put a lot of effort into a shiny new portfolio each and every year. I have done this through most of my career. But in the latter part of it, I have found this increasingly difficult.
I have always tried to be as selective as possible. Sharing my work based on how I believed it would be received. I have chosen projects that I enjoyed doing – first prize 🙌 . I have filled it up with many examples of how many different skills I have. The value brands I worked on etc. More felt better as I felt I had some real gems. So I struggled to let go.
Here’s some truth
I spent more time building the portfolio than editing the projects I put in it. Both from a volume of work I shared and the craft of the content they contained. I mostly had a bunch of screens, with little or no explanation as to what the project was all about and how I approached it, etc.
For years I have been trying to correct it, but I had failed to capture projects that have now disappeared from the web or been lost in pitch decks at agencies and so on.
Removing my portfolio
I decided to make the biggest edit of all this year, by simply removing my portfolio entirely. It’s a bold, dramatic and quite extreme move on my part. But it’s what I needed to do to break this cycle I was in.
It is my intention to stop showcasing all the brands I have worked on, all the different ways I could visually design and code something. Instead, I want to write about my experiences in my career, share how I approached different challenges. Not just the finished project, but the craft that went into small details. Write down how I did things, like build design teams, how I tackled challenges in less creative environments and how I see the work we do.
So you have no portfolio?
Correct. While it could limit my opportunities with companies that will only hire a design leader with a portfolio. I believe that I will find the type of place that values how I think more than what I have showcased in order to get their attention, based on often obscure misunderstandings of the contribution I made on projects I was lucky enough to be apart of.
Editing my writing
I’m not sure I’m the best writer. I’m far less of a wordy than I am a designer. But that shouldn’t matter. It’s in the stories we tell and how well we edit it for consumption that matters. Reducing the rambling, sharing the thinking, and crafting a compelling argument for why I am someone you really want to talk to, and hopefully, work with.