Editing your work

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 (something, such as an unwanted word or scene) while preparing something to be seen, used, published, etc. They edited out the scene. You can always edit things out later. …

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.