Industry professionals weigh in on ways to build a strong portfolio
RGD's Provisional Committee developed the 'Ask An RGD' initiative to gather honest advice from RGD professionals. When asked about creating a strong portfolio with fake projects, creative professionals in RGD's LinkedIn Group contributed their thoughts after Paddy Harrington RGD's initial video response.
Question: The work that I am creating at my current job as a designer isn't very creative or portfolio-worthy. Is it okay to create fake clients and project briefs in order to build a more robust portfolio?
Here are the top 10 insights:
- "Make up work and do things that you believe in. Choose projects, clients, organizations, brands, etc. that excite you, and see if they have an ongoing project that you can fictionally respond to." - Paddy Harrington RGD
- "If you have an idea that you've always been passionate about that you believe should be in the world, make that the project. At the end, you won't have a fake thing you made up, it will be something you genuinely believe in." - Paddy Harrington RGD
- "Find real freelance clients - there is no shortage of real needs out there, especially if you're willing to work for little financial gain (it's perfectly legit and not unprofessional to take on interesting but budget-less clients in your circumstances to build up a more compelling portfolio)." - Sherri Gallowitz RGD
- "Why not do creative volunteer work? It is a proven way to develop your skills and help others along the way. You may meet future freelance clients." - Stu Ducklow
- "Having a couple of made-up projects, in my opinion, is totally fine. Do create a sound brief and work from it. This also shows your thinking process and strategic prowess." - Nicholas Di Cuia RGD
- "Personal projects are great too. Did you design your wedding invitations or were your garage sale posters the bomb? There's a lot of ways to make the ordinary awesome." - Joanne Lesk
- "A fun idea would be to show the work you've done, then show what you'd do without all the pesky rules. Still, creativity within strict guardrails is a fantastic (and very real) challenge." - Dave Wotherspoon
- "Why not take the lacklustre projects from work and give them life? Do them the way you think they should be done and put those in your portfolio. I think there is some merit in that because you have put your design effort into making something real, better." - 'Segun Olude
- "When I have found myself in similar situations, I discovered it was up to me to communicate the value of design. I began to voluntarily re-design the things that people don't think matter to show that design is also about communication and using what you've got to make something better." - Karen N
- "Take a mundane project and do something creative, exceptional and portfolio worthy with it. Definitely look out for, or work to create those opportunities. I believe that takes real talent." - David Billington RGD
Ask an RGD with Paddy Harrington RGD, Founder, Frontier from RGD on Vimeo.
To submit a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet using the hashtag #AskAnRGD.