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Creating 'fake' folio work


#1
I think I may have posted something like this a long while ago, as I intended to get back into design, but lost touch again through finding new employment. (I always seem to come on here planning to start again then disappear!) Basically, I wasn't sure how to go about building a portfolio of work to go freelance with...Would it be worth doing a few 'fake' projects just as example portfolio pieces just to get started, and replace them as and when I manage to do some real work? I've been getting to grips with Inkscape/GIMP which are good so I'm using these until I'm able to purchase the creative suite in a few months...

Any suggestions on what I could/should do, or even any ideas for projects I could get my teeth into just to get me going?

Thanks
 
#3
I thought about doing that but I've seen a few websites where all they have in the folio is a couple of 'self-branded' projects and although the work is really good, it looks like something is missing, slightly empty, maybe because it doesn't seem as 'commercial'. IDK
 

@GCarlD

Well-Known Member
#4
There's no harm in doing your own work for you're portfolio until you find real work. The use of the word "fake" doesn't help though as it sounds as if you're cheating or doing wrong. Why don't you maybe look for real life projects that people require doing, (even old completed projects) and you have a go at completing that project. That why at least you haven't made something up yourself that may not really of been needed in the real world so to speak. Hey, you might even come across someone who likes what you've done and wants to send you work in the future! But under no circumstances should you ever do work for free, that is a big no-no.

Out of interest, what work were you doing before that put your design progress on hold?
 
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Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#6
Nobody's going to know (or frankly, care) whether or not the work in your portfolio is for a real client if it's good. A lot of my freelance work doesn't even go into full production. Sometimes I'm asked by my clients to produce work for one of their clients, who reject it in the end. I still showcase it though if I think it's portfolio worthy.

Take a look at competition briefs for good projects to build up your portfolio. You don't have to enter, just come up with something.

D&AD Student Awards (just change the year in the address bar to view previous briefs, plus the winners)
 
#7
Thanks for the replies guys, I agree that saying 'fake' has lots of negativity attached to it.

Paul I'll have a look at the D&AD site thanks.

CLHB, I got a job at a small local printer which almost immediately went out of business, then ended up working in events/hospitality on a short contract then with kids, in both education and social care (which I still do part-time, I love it but can't see myself doing this for life). You could say that life just happened, bills needed paying and the wind blew me completely off course!
 
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#8
The idea of showing your portfolio is not just to show how you can create something pleasing or effective, but how you can design a product that is useful to a client. That means following a brief and serving the purpose of the project. An employer is going to want to see how you can produce something pleasing to the client, not to you. If you can't please clients and make work that works for them, the agency won't hire you - they want to make money! Sadly, it's the bottom line that your employer is interested in.
So if your pieces don't have clients, they are just pretty pictures.
Find some real clients. If you can't find paid clients, ask charities. Charities would be more than happy to have work produced for free.
 
#9
The idea of showing your portfolio is not just to show how you can create something pleasing or effective, but how you can design a product that is useful to a client. That means following a brief and serving the purpose of the project. An employer is going to want to see how you can produce something pleasing to the client, not to you. If you can't please clients and make work that works for them, the agency won't hire you - they want to make money! Sadly, it's the bottom line that your employer is interested in.
So if your pieces don't have clients, they are just pretty pictures.
Find some real clients. If you can't find paid clients, ask charities. Charities would be more than happy to have work produced for free.

+1 on charities. Most of my not-so-related-work-to-the-job has been voluntary, including setting up a website for a new amdram group (a bit naff but better than most!) promotional material for my band and making a vid montage for a retired client of mine (which will remain a secret til it has been made public!)

Even if it means creating 'fake' work, focus on your other interests and think to yourself 'I can do better', go forth and come up with something. Oh yeah, you have to show us too :p
 
#10
I came to the conclusion that as long as you have some work in your portfolio that shows you are an able designer, whether it's self-initiated or not, it'll give potential customers an idea of what you are capable of - everyone has to start somewhere, and you don't need a huge body of work to get work. And as you talk to people, it's surprising how many people say, 'Oh, I have a friend who's starting a new business up' or similar and you can grab those opportunities. Work begets work, as they say...
 
#11
Why not do free design work for friends/people/business you know to get a portfoilo built up.

Plus it may turn into paid work in the future. I.e. the brochure that you design for free for a local business, in 12 months when then want alterations you may be able to charge a little bit to do them, also you could add to a brochure designed by xxx for a bit of free advertising.
 

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#12
And as you talk to people, it's surprising how many people say, 'Oh, I have a friend who's starting a new business up' or similar and you can grab those opportunities. Work begets work, as they say...
I find opportunities crop up like this quite often. Just last week I got some work from a local music shop that's just opened up, just from me having given them my email address when I bought something and the owner noticing "design" in there. It pays to tell people what you do. Don't rely on websites and forums for work. Many people are unsure about how to get design work done, so being there, physically in front of them pretty much puts you at the top of the list of places they'll go for design work.
 

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#13
Why not do free design work for friends/people/business you know to get a portfoilo built up.

Plus it may turn into paid work in the future. I.e. the brochure that you design for free for a local business, in 12 months when then want alterations you may be able to charge a little bit to do them, also you could add to a brochure designed by xxx for a bit of free advertising.
I'd be wary of offering work for free to businesses. They may expect it for free in future, and there's the possibility they'll take the piss with the number of revisions, feature creep, etc. If you're working for a non-profit client, then I'd say you should at least be charging them something, especially since they'll probably be getting more out of it than you.
 
#14
Yes, I guess your right there it would probably come back and bite you doing stuff for free, i.e. like you say the goal posts being changed etc. :(
 
#15
yeah my portfolio was full of pro bono charity work after a finished university. Try and find some local charity groups or organizations in your local area that could do with a website or print designs and offer to work for free. You will fill up your portfolio in no time and gain some great word of mouth promotion as well.