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10 Top Tips for a Killer Design Portfolio

As the academic year comes to a close, thousands of students begin the search for their first job in the design industry. The design portfolios start to flood in for us to review and, with so much competition out there, it’s crucial that you get this part right!

This year our team have been up and down the country, visiting the very best universities conducting portfolio reviews as part of our Fresh Meat student competition. We’ve seen the same mistakes made time and time again.

With Graduation only a matter of months away, you’ve done all the hard work. Now all your need to do is condense all this into your portfolio… sounds easy right? Well hopefully it will be, but should you need a helping hand, we’ve put together some top tips from everyone at Bulletproof to give you the best chance of standing out.

design tips student portfolioImage Source: Carl Bartram

1. Tell the story

“Clearly show the journey of how you arrived at the final solution.” Richard, Senior Designer

2. Keep it simple

“It’s always nice to see sketches, but do remember to keep it simple.” Mark, Associate Creative Director

3. Ideas, ideas, ideas

“Most of the time you won’t be there to explain your work, so be really clear with your ideas.” Alex, Design Director

4. Top and tail

“Put your best work at the beginning and the end, keeping it visual and impactful.” Jamie, Associate Creative Director

5. Name your concepts

“When presenting your work, it can be helpful to name each of your concepts and have a few bullet points for each in mind to start a flow of conversation.” Nina, Creative Director

Bulletproof design portfolio top tips

Image source: Carl Bartram

6. Cut out the fluff!

“Make sure everything has relevance. And, if you can, make it move!” Dan, Director of Image & Motion

7. Demonstrate versatility

“Show us your versatility, don’t limit yourself to only branding or packaging.” Clem, Creative Director

8. Listen and learn

“Take on board feedback and update your portfolio as you go along. That way you’ll be continuously improving.” Alice, Junior Designer

9. Slow it down!

“Try not to rush through your work, silence can mean people are taking in and enjoying what they see.” Beth, Senior Designer

10. Don’t forget the power of personal work

“Show some of your personal work. This helps to reflect your personality.” Aoife, Senior Designer

Cheltenham university graphic design portfolio Image source: Harris Stovell @ University of Gloucester.

There you have it! From Junior Designer, right up to Creative Director, we’ve included everybody’s perspective and we hope that you find these tips useful. And if you’re interested in applying for studio placements or junior roles, don’t hesitate to drop us a line! We’re always open to hearing from talent. Just email your portfolio to: [email protected]

Blog written by Holly.