Personally, I struggle with focusing on one thing because I am a typical creative, all over the board with ideas. In a given day, I’ll come up with 2 product ideas, 3 movie ideas and 5 cool t-shirt slogans. If you can relate, then you are my people. I can’t relate to non-creatives when they say, “Ideas are a dime a dozen!” Umm, no, they’re not and that goes triple for GOOD ideas. Why is it so easy to diminish the power to create? Let me tell you something: It’s so much harder to create than to destroy.
Without the idea first, there is no finished product. Nothing can be produced that isn’t first conceptualized.
Of course their point in downplaying ideas only to stress execution, which probably IS more important because execution is hard and ideation if fun! You do need to follow through and execute on your ideas–or else just stay in your head or on a crumbled piece of paper, never to see light of day–so you must execute on your ideas to visualize them for the world. And you need motivation and accountability to execute, so hopefully that’s what the graphics grrrl community will do for all of us, so I hope you join in:
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But back to your portfolio: In the beginning of your career, it’s true, you have to demonstrate that you can execute various styles in different mediums if you want to have the best chances of getting any job. But perhaps you don’t want just any design job? In the beginning of my career, I cast my net wide to increase my probably of success and then something funny happened along the way: I never truly found my one thing. I enjoy designing identity and packaging (so people put me in a literal box), but truth be told: I’ll say it, hey world, I like to design all kinds of things!
Sure, there are things I like to design more than others, for example, I do love, love, love to create a logo, then see it animated in a presentation, on a website, in an email or banner, or on a billboard, in direct mail—and don’t even get me started on business cards or packaging! I admit: When I see a brand I’ve designed on store shelves and I know that many people will actually be interacting with my design—I start to salivate. Just a little. Okay, maybe a lot. The point is–I get really excited about creating something from nothing, from having a concept, to seeing it in all its myriad of forms of completion!
So, if you feel the same, then my advice is to try to design for all types of projects, clients and styles. You want to show diversity and flexibility and you want to see what clicks with you as a designer. You never know: You might surprise yourself by what you like to design!
portfolios can contain:
The following is a non-comprehensive list of the different types of work to showcase in your portfolio.
(ex: t-shirt graphics)
Social media graphics
Feeling overwhelmed and confused? Great, my work here is done!