Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Art & Graphic Design > Graphic Design Portfolio?

Graphic Design Portfolio?
Thread Tools
theoden
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Maine, US
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 15, 2002, 09:19 PM
 
I'm going on my Senior year of High School and am preparing to start applying to a few colleges, primarily Art Colleges for (you guessed it) Graphic Design.

Assuming most of the users of this forum are in the design field professionally, what's your input on some of the things I should include in my portfolio? Any other suggestions are greatly appreachated, also!
[Edit - spelling type ]

[ 05-15-2002: Message edited by: ]
     
Hobbes
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Nov 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 15, 2002, 10:53 PM
 
While not necessarily what you would consider a Graphics Designer, I am a professional Web Designer (and therefore do some graphics design). If there's one thing I can stress from my experience in getting clients... DIVERSITY.

Show that you can do a variety of things, and that while you may have a signature style, all your work in not going to look identical.
     
godzookie2k
Mac Elite
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Baltimore, MD
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 16, 2002, 03:56 AM
 
Being that you are applying to school and not working on a client, its a whole different portfolio. Your school wants to see fine art skizzals. So, lots of from life drawing and painting, some sculpture might be a nice variety too. Keep AWAY from computer assisted anything (up to and including graphic design work you have done) most schools are still conservative like that. At most one or two pieces computer assisted to prove that you know how to use it effectively (this is the key term, if you think they suck, don't bother) but yes, fine arts fine arts fine arts. you *do* have to know how to make art before you can design.
     
theoden  (op)
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Maine, US
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 16, 2002, 09:41 AM
 
Thanks for the tips. Was going to include fine arts, but was going to focus more on designs using computer aid. Now I know better
     
Theodour
Forum Regular
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: A drip off Lake Michigan
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 16, 2002, 11:11 PM
 
By that token, if you feel what you've done on the computer, digitally, is fine art, then don't hold back for fear of conservative judgement.
Show them what your good at. Don't be afraid to be proud.
Strength of artistic voice is hard to ignore.
     
godzookie2k
Mac Elite
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Baltimore, MD
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 17, 2002, 07:41 AM
 
Originally posted by Theodour:
<STRONG>By that token, if you feel what you've done on the computer, digitally, is fine art, then don't hold back for fear of conservative judgement.
Show them what your good at. Don't be afraid to be proud.
Strength of artistic voice is hard to ignore.</STRONG>
Actually it is, according to the Admissions councillers I know, especially with regards to Computer Assisted anything. Art schools (with very few exceptions) are still quite conservative when it comes to expectations for incoming freshmans portfolio. Digital "art" still incites arguments as to its validity as an artform. And you'll find most fine artists on the side of "its a waste of time the computer does all the work for you" side of that argument. You have no right to be doing no computer assisted arts or design or anything else along those lines without knowing the fundamentals (draw paint sculpt) first. This is not to say you have to be frickin davinci, but you should know the theory. By showing off traditional work promarily with a few glimpses at your computer work, you show that *yes* you do photoshop art but you can actually hold your own on a gallery wall too.
     
art_director
Professional Poster
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Minneapolis, MN U.S.A.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 17, 2002, 09:17 AM
 
you're getting some solid advice here. wish i had this resource when i applied to art school.

as others have said you should include a variety of work. it should include any and all forms of artistic expression: drawing, painting, sculpture, web sites / interactive work, photography, writing, etc. in school you'll be exposed to many mediums you may or may not have tried before. you'd be wise to demonstrate the willingness and curiosity to try these things on your own regardless of your eventual direction in school / professional world.

i would encourage you to contact the school(s) you're applying for and ask about their portfolio application requirements. often they have specific criteria or a laundry list of things they *like* to see in prospective students' books. they may also have a preferred presentation method.

good luck and please post back if you have other questions. i envy you, my time in art school was perhaps the best time of my life. how i miss it.
     
Theodour
Forum Regular
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: A drip off Lake Michigan
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 17, 2002, 09:40 PM
 
Originally posted by godzookie2k:
<STRONG>

You have no right to be doing no computer assisted arts or design or anything else along those lines without knowing the fundamentals (draw paint sculpt) first.</STRONG>
Thats harsh!
theoden, these other guys are probably right.
I'm just a romantic!
     
theoden  (op)
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Maine, US
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 18, 2002, 01:26 AM
 
Wow, some really great info here guys. Can't thank you all enough

As for questions... not too many yet (yet!). But expect to be hearing from me all summer as portfolio work continues .
     
godzookie2k
Mac Elite
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Baltimore, MD
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 18, 2002, 02:03 AM
 
Originally posted by art_director:
<STRONG>good luck and please post back if you have other questions. i envy you, my time in art school was perhaps the best time of my life. how i miss it.</STRONG>
Agreed. You (theoden) also have the advantage of not having Golden Eye (N64) coming out during your junior year almost resulting in your failing a year too. But thats a story for another time. Art school was definately 4 years and sixty grand well spent for me, though make sure you check out a school's post-grad job placement program beforehand too, and talk to students at the school about it, talk to people in the industry about it (if you have the oppurtunity). Its very important. Don't take the school's rep's words for it. My school gave me a good bum-rogering when it came to crappy job placement post grad and I'm quite bitter about it. Take all the classes you can, do as much freelance as you can during school, and under no circumstances should you restrict yourself to *just* computer/design related classes. learn to edit some film the cut and paste (analog) way. develop some of your own photos, make some sculpture. try out abstract painting, etc etc. It all only helps your breath of experience and as a whole makes you a better designer. Oh and for the love of God, take some *real* printing classes, I'm talking screenprint, lithography, etching, ink-all-over-yourself kind. (if you have the oppurtunity)
     
BuonRotto
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: Apr 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 18, 2002, 08:27 PM
 
Good advice. I don't have much to add, but just to repeat what has been said:

1. Show a range of media, subjects, and techniques.

2. Let the work stand for itself -- don't over-design the portfolio and distract from what you are presenting.

3. Show you can do the basics.

4. Quality over quantity. 8-10 spreads is usually plenty.

5. Demonstrate creative work, not just technical merit. Strong ideas and thinking skills are more important to them. Similarly, avoid trying to make a style for yourself.

6. Present the project, don't try to explain it. Get the main idea across, and don't try to describe the rational for everything you did.
     
Too Much Coffee Woman
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: New York
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 21, 2002, 06:36 PM
 
when i got into my art college (best in NYC in my humble opinion)

I showed only drawing and some terrible looking graphic design projects from High School

they really liked the drawings and hated the designs...

but ask them point blank what they want to see and deliver your goods
     
atomium
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: W/DC
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 21, 2002, 07:20 PM
 
I was a graphic designer until switching to focus more on information design. I spend a lot of time looking at portfolios and evaluating designers for projects. The thing I look for most is a consistent vision across media. Anyone can copy the latest hot style, but it takes a true designer/artist to find their own voice and use it effectively.

When a designer is all over the map stylistically, I glance at the portfolio. When one has a unique vision, I remember them. And when a project calls for that type of design, I call them.

Granted, this is a little different than preparing a school portfolio, but the heart of the issue is still relevant: Your portfolio should reflect your vision, your voice and how you see the world. Know what you believe, and speak it through your design/art. Be true to your vision, and your designs will work.

I guess this goes against what Hobbes says earlier in this thread. But we each have different things we look for I suppose. When a designer comes to me with a hodge podge portfolio, I find myself thinking that my clients deserve a designer who believes in their art as much as the client believes in their company. And finding two who fit makes my job great.

As a final argument for consistency, look at the portfolios for designers you respect. Look for the common theme. Track down the thread on people's favorite designers. Look at those portfolios. You'll see that in order to become the respected artists that they are, they have found a style that is them.

People can look at a piece and say "That's Paul Rand". The reason is because Paul Rand had a style that was his. There wasn't Paul Rand Minimalism and Paul Rand Surrealism and Paul Rand Deco and Paul Rand everything else. There was Paul Rand. Period. And it showed in everything he did.

As for computer aided vs. old world skills...

I think the biggest value in the old method is what you learn as a result of doing it that you would otherwise miss. My days of hand-drawing letters in typography class taught me about the proportion and relation between letters. Mostly because of the time it took gave you time to think and notice what was going on. Setting type on a computer is making this a lost art.

Learning design on a computer, and not learning the elements of design, will keep you employed. Learning design principals and foundations, believing in them, and making good use of them will win you awards.

Best of luck.

-atomium
     
BuonRotto
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: Apr 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 21, 2002, 09:47 PM
 
Originally posted by atomium:
<STRONG>Anyone can copy the latest hot style, but it takes a true designer/artist to find their own voice and use it effectively...

Be true to your vision, and your designs will work...

I guess this goes against what Hobbes says earlier in this thread...

You'll see that in order to become the respected artists that they are, they have found a style that is them...

Setting type on a computer is making this a lost art... </STRONG>
I think we're actually talking about the samer thing, but with different words. "Vision" is what I'm talking aobut when I mention "ideas." What is the purpose of the work, its reason for being? What does it express? What are you trying to "say" with it? Strong ideas show through styles. Styles are just a crutch for most people.

I think it's OK to imitate a designer if in the process you learn more about that artist you're imitating. The danger is being satisfied with being an imitator. But you shouldn't feel any obligation to find your style anytime soon. Paul Rand is an old man, he's had time to try a lot of stuff and build his convictions.

I think Hobbes was referring to the diversity of means for expressing ideas (in other words, there are many means to same end). Look at Charles Rennie Macintosh to see someone comfortable in almost any medium and expressing the same ideas.

The rpoblem you're talking about in typography is true as well in architecture. Those who can hand-draw a perspective understand a lot more about the convention, how to "play" with it more and eventually make more powerful designs with it. It's learning by doing. Computers tend to provide shortcuts, but it cheats you of some of the doing, therefore some of the learning.
     
atomium
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: W/DC
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 22, 2002, 10:34 AM
 
Originally posted by BuonRotto:
<STRONG>
Strong ideas show through styles. Styles are just a crutch for most people.

The danger is being satisfied with being an imitator. Paul Rand is an old man, he's had time to try a lot of stuff and build his convictions.

Computers tend to provide shortcuts, but it cheats you of some of the doing, therefore some of the learning.</STRONG>
Good points. And the more I think about this, the more I realize my idea may have been a little heavy handed. The original idea was establishing a portfolio to get into school.

I think, theoden, that the best thing you can show any prospective school is that you are serious. In all honesty they probably won't be looking for the level of insight and maturity in your work that I was referring to. School is where you begin to learn those things. Like any other field, in school you learn how to use the tools and the principles behind them. How you use those to express your ideas is something you can't be taught. BuonRotto is right. Style comes with time.

I also couldn't agree more about imitation. It's a very valuable way of working if it is an exploration and learning experience. Settling for imitating, however, is dangerous.

-atomium
     
theoden  (op)
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Maine, US
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 23, 2002, 03:24 PM
 
Wow. Thanks for taking the time to reply everyone. Definitely appreciated!
I've saved the thread and I'm going to try to put a lot of your ideas (even the ones that contradict themselves ) into consideration when working on pieces for my portfolio.

Again, thanks!

(btw, feel free to add anything else )
     
Hobbes
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Nov 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 23, 2002, 05:49 PM
 
Originally posted by atomium:
<STRONG>I guess this goes against what Hobbes says earlier in this thread. But we each have different things we look for I suppose. When a designer comes to me with a hodge podge portfolio, I find myself thinking that my clients deserve a designer who believes in their art as much as the client believes in their company. And finding two who fit makes my job great.

-atomium</STRONG>
Don't misread what I said. I don't believe in a hodge podge portfolio either. When I see one of those, it makes me believe the person doesn't really have any ability of their own, except the ability to copy others. I am a firm believer in each designer having their own distinctive style, or "voice", as you put it. I was simply saying that their work should not all look identical. Then a prospective school/employer begins to wonder if that's all you can do.

In my case, as a web designer, I've developed a definite style that has played a large part in clinching a lot of the jobs I've gotten, and has made my work easily recognizable. At the same time though, within that style, or "voice", there's been plenty of room to make my work for each of my clients unique.

[ 05-23-2002: Message edited by: Hobbes ]
     
JMII
Forum Regular
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Ft Laud, FL USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2002, 11:03 AM
 
One thing I can add (I've hired designers to work under me before) is that you need to be able to explain things IN your porfolio without making up excuses. The conversation goes alittle like this:

Me - "This is an intresting piece, tell me what is going on here."

Prospective Employee - "Well I was really rushed, it did not come out that good, the client was a real pain, I wanted a blue background, but they went with this ugly green, so do not even look at that, I have no idea why it's even in here"

Me - "Oh... well, nice talking to you, we will be in touch"

Then I throw their resume into the trash.

Put in pieces you like, pieces your passionate about and enjoy showing and talking about. If any unfinished "study" is more intresting than a finished piece that proves (or says) nothing. I'd rather see 5 concepts or designs YOUR happy with then 10 pieces you did just "because". Also some self-promotion stuff is great. I hired an artist who included his name done in the several recognizable styles - like Nike, Tommy Hilfigure (sp?), Levis and Coke. Basically he was making a joke of brand names and trademarks while at the same time leaving his name stuck in my mind - really good material. This guy turned out to be one of my best artists too.

I agree what other said about the computer work - computers are tools, if you can create art it will not matter what medium (or tools) you choose to do it with. Focus on the art and passion, not the "how to" nuts and bolts - that's the part the college will teach you. Most likely they want to see that you have a vision and drive to grow.

Remember your selling yourself - both your skills and ideas.

- John
     
   
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:30 PM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,