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What to include in my portfolio?


Question

I am a relatively recent graphic design graduate. I have been working at a small printing house for about two years, but will soon be interviewing for a different position in another city.

My question is about what to include in my design portfolio. When I was in school, my professors all insisted that work included in a portfolio should be 100% original: my original photography, my original logos, my original layout, my original written content etc. However, at my current office, we rely heavily on client-supplied logos, type content, and photography—and stock photography (shutterstock, etc).

What do other designers include in their portfolios? Has anyone else had this issue and can I reasonable include these more recent projects in my portfolio if I label them appropriately (something like "layout design")?

2016/03/30
1
7
3/30/2016 2:18:00 PM

Short answer—Yes, include anything you want to show.

Using stock images and client supplied content or material is generally how things work. I rarely complete a project that doesn't involve content from other sources. This can range from a few stock photos to an entire archive of data. This could be supplied by the client themselves or sourced by myself.

Some clients will give you an open brief and let you do what you like. Some will give you a specific brief, supply you with every image you need and give you some very strict brand guidelines to work within.

As long as you clearly label or explain any work that isn't your own—include it in your portfolio.

For example. You worked on a large project as part of a team, you had a specific role in that team and completed specific parts of the work. Include that project in your portfolio with a paragraph or two explaining the project and specifically what your role and involvement was.

Unless you are including the work specifically as a branding or logo design project, don't worry about using company logos not designed by you. No one will assume you designed the logo unless you specifically say so. Company logos are used daily in countless different designs, most often not by the person who designed the logo.

Stock photography probably isn't an issue either. It depends on the work—if you are including something that is based around and focused solely on one image, mention that it is a stock photo. If you include a stock photo in the layout of a large multi-page document, it probably doesn't matter.

2016/03/30
3
3/30/2016 2:45:00 PM