(quick disclaimer, I am a UI UX Designer for games and apps, not a web designer! But I figured good UI UX advice is good advice, so I hope you will forgive such incredible vanity)
As an Art Director and Mentor, I’ve seen probably a hundred Portfolios from Designers I’ve had to either veto or build up. I honestly think what spooks students and junior designers the most about Portfolio design is they’ll just… never know. When your application is passed over – you’ll never know if it was lacking any one piece, not enough information, too much information, or if the whole thing was just fine… and… that’s life.
But wait where are my manners? Ah good day to yous, my name is John Burnett, UI UX Designer, Art Director and 1-on-1 remote UI UX Design Mentor in games and apps. What if you could have insider knowledge about the decision-making process an Art Director follows? Far better to make a strategy knowing your opponent’s end goal then to construct in the blind.
To that end – in this Age of wanting to give back generously to students (and soon to be students?) I’ve made this cheat sheet on what questions I always ask myself (as both Art Director and Mentor) when I look at your work.
An Art Director would ask: Is my lightning-quick impression of you a good one?
An Art Director would ask: where are your Skills and Abilities?
An Art Director would ask: Is the work tonally appropriate?
An Art Director would ask: How much of this did you do?
An Art Director would ask: Does the work show progression?
An Art Director would ask: Is this real or fake stuff?
An Art Director would ask: Does the Portfolio show a variety of work?
An Art Director would ask: Are you a bad Engineer?
An Art Director would ask: Are you a Bad Artist?
An Art Director would ask: Do you have any relevant extras?
Whew! That’s it! Now you know how the magic trick is done. I hope this helps you better understand Portfolio design by seeing it through the eyes of its silent audience. Take care of yourself out there – portfolio design is actually a pretty grueling and personal affair. Remember: it’s not about getting the job eventually, it’s about being healthy enough to do it when it happens.