How to Create a Killer Portfolio

Originally posted July 2015, The Loop and Tractor.

Applying to design school can be daunting.

After endless deadlines, the spinning wheel of death and stressing that you haven’t backed up your work lately, you’re nearly ready to enter the design world full time.

Freaking out? You’re not alone. It’s a daunting feeling deciding what your next chapter is going to look like. Which is why the team at Tractor decided to share their top tips for graduates about to enter the design industry:

1. Let it reflect you.
Sounds simple, but can be easier said than done. Show off the projects that best represent you and what you love to do. If you love what you do, it will show in your portfolio and that is the best representation of you. Try not to get too caught up in what you think others will love - include what you love and it'll show.

2. Less is more
Don't worry if your portfolio isn't bursting with an abundance of work. While it might be tempting to add filler content, less is actually more. Pick the projects that you are really passionate and enthusiastic about. It is better to show a few projects that are really awesome rather than many projects that are ok-ish but don’t show off your talents.

3. Add personal projects
Although we love seeing school work and major projects, add a few side projects that you create in your spare time. Self-initiated projects are fantastic in showing you are eager to get out there and create. These could be anything like a competition entry, illustrations for friends, an app design you would love to create one day… the list goes on!

4. Add project notes
You know we love seeing the finished product, however it's also important to show off the process of how you got to where you ended up. Add some notes on how you created the project or why you did things a certain way. Communication is key so add a few notes to add some context behind the brief.

5. Keep it fresh
Although we loving seeing work that you did when you were 11 years old, it’s important to show off work you have recently created. Keep it current and add creations that best showcase the here and now.

Remember if you show off your personality and passion for design, that is the best way to demonstrate your love and excitement for the next chapter ahead.