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Portfolio building design projects for students/newbies?

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by Esh, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. Esh

    Esh Member


    I've read on this forum and others, and heard on numerous occasions, that graphic design students, or people learning graphic design independantly aren't too sure what to do in terms of portfolio projects.
    I myself have been in this situation (it's slightly easing as I've managed to get work experience/part-time work)

    Basically, someone who needs to build a commercially relevant folio isn't sure where to get projects from, or isn't sure if it's acceptable to create their own briefs.
    I personally don't see the problem with own-made briefs, but don't think they would push the designer as much, since they're likely to just do something they know they can already do, or not bother with things like research and so on.

    Anyway, my point is, that maybe it would be a good idea for design companies/more experienced designers on here post 'real' briefs on here for trainees to complete...then they can post their work after a given deadline for critique? By 'real' briefs, I mean literally a real one with perhaps names etc changed, or a made up one with realistic constraints i.e. type, image, colours, deadline etc etc etc...And the real kind of brief that would be expected in real life!

    I know that I myself would have benefited from this even just a few months ago!

    Any thoughts?
  2. linziloop

    linziloop Member

    I think that's a really good idea :D

    I set up a Flickr group (that hardly anyone has joined thus far lol!) that is meant to be full of briefs, and the images in the group would be people's answer to these briefs. Some would be very short briefs, some a bit longer, all aimed at getting creativity flowing, having a bit of fun and maybe even adding to your portfolio.

    Briefs can be submitted to the group, or just answered, tis up to you. They would be for all kinds of creative disciplines. (Flickr: Inspirational Briefs - smash that creative block!)

    Would also be good to get real life graphic design briefs on here though so people know what to expect.
  3. Esh

    Esh Member

    Hey just realised that you replied to this! Thanks!

    I thought it was a good idea, but judging by the replies I've had - none! - perhaps others don't think so!

    It's a shame as it could benefit most people - both newbies and more experienced - trying to practise and build a folio! I able to get briefs reasonably often that could be used, and I'm sure others could think of project ideas that everyone could have a crack at! Every now and then, when I don't have any real work on, I make-up a few realistic 'commercial' briefs just to keep my hand in and for folio purposes, but I think it's more effective if the brief comes from someone else. I've also come across a few project briefs online that could be used.

    No thoughts anyone?
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  4. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I'd like to see some professional briefs too but I think one of the problems is going to be that whoever issued the brief originally won't be available to provide feedback (or just won't be bothered to) so all you've got really is a mock brief that you would get from Uni or from or somehwere like that, that you won't get any feedback on. Essentially it's like you're just creating something for yourself.

    You'll create what you want, and you could love the piece but without someone to give feedback on what they wanted from the brief, it's sort of irrelevant.
  5. Esh

    Esh Member

    I understand what you mean, but the idea is that responses to the brief would go to the 'crit' section, or a thread could be started specifically so other forum users can critique...pretty much like they do now.
  6. Offelias

    Offelias Member

    I say go for it! As a student I'd love to have a look at some real briefs.
    Regarding the feedback factor - I don't think it would be an issue.

    Students/new graduates should be able to crit each other reasonably well - we have to do that at Uni often enough. Besides - its important that we learn to look at others work in a critical way in order to apply to our own work too.
    And if there are a few experienced designers about - good stuff :) They'd be in a good position to check in now and again to throw in their opinion and possibly reinforce comments or another point of view..
  7. sthomas

    sthomas Member

    If it's any help to any design students/new graduates then I'll happily spend time looking at any work and offering feedback and advice. I think it's a good idea for anyone with limited experience to practice on real-life design briefs.

    One thing that I would say though is that when you apply for your first design jobs, you're going to be judged on your CV and work samples in your initial job application (before you even make it to the interview stage). Because of this, your CV and work samples need to error-free in terms of typography, layout and obviously no spelling mistakes!

    I would encourage any students to work on as many design briefs as possible but also not to forget the importance of your CV and work samples.
  8. YellowPeril

    YellowPeril Member

    Always happy to help

    I've been in this game a long time and have given a lot of time to work experience placements, mentoring and students when teaching. Happy to give advice or whatever proves to be helpful. Setting your own briefs up are fine, but make sure you put in the groundwork for practical solutions, make sure that the idea works and doesn't just look pretty, will it work across different media.

    Corporate identities are good because you can extend the project.

    Logo design

    apply to stationery range


    Vehicle livery

    Corporate advertising

    Report & Accounts

    Packaging & labelling

    etc. etc.

    For each of these applications find out about the production limitations - talk to suppliers, cost each stage, produce quotes for everything and give evidence that you've looked at the commercial as well as the aesthetics.

    No question is ever stupid and we are all learning all the time (if we're wise).
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  9. dedwardp

    dedwardp Member

    Though in terms of just being something to practice on in order to pad out the portfolio and practice a bit more, picking up new skills and so on it isn't irrelevant :icon_smile:

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