• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Where do I start?


New Member
Hello all,

Been having some trouble recently with my portfolio and was hoping some of you folks might be able to help (hope this is the correct section, sorry if not).

Basically, I quit my job as Graphic Designer last October after 2 years. I was ridiculously underpaid and over-worked amongst other issues and felt totally burnt out. It was my first profressional design job however, so I just got on with it to get those crucial two years experience for my cv.

Anyway, cut to the chase, I'm now at a point where I am applying for and going to interviews for new jobs, and I feel my portfolio is just the biggest load of jobbies ever. I have no confidence in it. It naturally has to reflect a professional porfolio rather than a student folio with this new found exp, but therein lies my problem.

Most of the work and jobs I did in that two years were for such **** clients, and with such small turnarounds, that the quality really did suffer and they were ultimatley churned out. They are boring and bland, only really showcasing bread and butter work with no real concepts or ideas. I strongly disagreed with this churned-out approach, but nevertheless this is the actual work I have.

My old student work (which is more creative) is now redundant and also ****, and I feel like I'm stuck with no option but to recreate an entirely new folio from scratch.

So what I ask you guys is this: What would you do in my place, try and polish a turd or start again from scratch? And if so from scratch, where the hell do I start... :(

Many thanks


Well-Known Member
A lot of creative people consider their old work to be ****, but if you're saying so through truthfulness rather than aggressive modesty, then definitely I'd say produce some new work to put in the portfolio.

I'm more illustrator than designer, but some of my more recent portfolio work was done specifically for jobs I was applying for, other work was done in a previous job, some new stuff will be from a current job I'm working on, but still a fair bit will be personal work that I did simply because I will always draw.

If design is really your passion, you'll be playing about and producing work regardless during your spare time, I'd say develop that and maybe try playing with some mock briefs (not boxers, har har) and be creative. I'd also include some of your work from employment though, but only the VERY best bits.


Active Member
Just to expand on Jim lads final sentence, I would suggest you look at the geographical area where you will be applying for jobs in, then take 4-5 of the main well known businesses in that area and re-brand them, from the ground up within your discipline. Not only will this give you fresh and current work for your portfolio, for any potential interview, you have a great icebreaker! and something that the potential employer can relate too.



New Member
Cool, thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated! I'm definitely being truthful here Jim, the real work I have at the moment consists of samey bland work (all boring dimensions and paper stocks), which although they have been nicely layed out and do show technical skills, they will hardly impress any potential employer.

With vacancies being harder to find and more and more people applying. I think I've reached a situation where I feel I need my folio to be literally amazing. I want it to be something that will make an Art Director go "wow... never seen that before".

I will definitely consider that approach Sunburn, thanks. It certainly would break the ice! I did think of rebranding some Major high street names or something along those lines, so I think something like that could definitely be what I need. Or perhaps I should just re-do some of the stuff I've worked on. :S

With regards to personal work, I've honestly hardly done any in my free time in the last two years. I was shattered when I'd get in from work and would just want to socialise and watch tv. This is where I feel my passion got kind of knocked out of me from. Kinda at a stage where I'm slightly bitter about the whole experience to be honest.


Junior Member
I'd create some strong concept driven work on your own. I'm not too keen on things like obvious rebrands or logos—it's obvious to anyone that looks at your portfolio that it's literally just work you made for the sake of making it. Maybe it's just me, but I much prefer work with meaning behind it.

I don't know what your timeframe for turning around a portfolio is, but here are some project ideas:

  • A set of posters based on some of your favorite music
  • Redesign your favorite novel
  • Make some mockups of a web service you'd like to use (that maybe doesn't exist yet)

Also heavily document your process as well. When I look at people's work, the most important thing for me is whether I can follow through their decisionmaking process and see how they think.

Again, this kind of work isn't for everyone. I personally prefer the process of solving a complex problem to making a shiny, polished, finished piece.

Good luck to you!


New Member
Yeah I totally agree with you on showing the process j.edmund. I just find it difficult to show the process without making my folio look scrappy and have too many pages, esp when roughs etc are involved. I'd definitely rather be a designer employed for the way I think and make decisions rather than technical abilities.

Thank you all for your comments thus far, I've got plenty to think about and feeling a bit more positive about moving forward with it now lol.

Also, not sure if you can see, but I also put up a few examples of some logos over the last wee while in my profile album, not sure if you can see them or not (should I post in the logo section?). Would be great to get some feedback on them, as really the only people who have seen them are the clients and my ex-work colleagues. They are all in my album Design Forums - Graphic Design & Web Design Forums - Ken's Album: Work Samples.