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Tips for Graduating Graphic Designers

By Bradley Brown Design Group

PTC Member News

Tips for Graduating Graphic Designers
by Bradley Brown Design Group

Entering the workforce can be daunting – from preparing your portfolio to job searching to resume editing to the ever-important interview process. Our designers have been on both ends of this process, so check out our best advice for new graphic designers entering the job market.

the-portfolio

Perfecting the Portfolio

Your portfolio is about more than just your work and what you’re capable of as a designer. It should create a narrative about who you are. The way you present yourself is another way to show your creativity, your personality, and your unique design style.

Portfolio Tips
  • Your portfolio should contain between 8-12 pieces.
  • The projects that you choose should range from simple to complex. Be sure to show a mix of student work, freelance projects, and professional work.
  • Don’t be afraid to show sketches and diagrams that demonstrate your creative process. Have at least one piece that details your “design thinking.”
  • Editing shows your decision making. Don’t provide multiple iterations of the same logo. Pick one and discuss how you arrived there.
  • Remember, you are only as good as your worst piece. You are better off showing less pieces than showing pieces that aren’t your best work.
  • Your portfolio is a time and sequence project. Start with something quick and exciting like logos or branding. Put your more complex narratives in the middle but don’t place two back-to-back. End with the strongest piece you want them to remember.
  • Show a wide range of skills. For design, include typography, color, photography, and illustration. For media, include branding, digital, print, data visualization, packaging, environmental, and product design.
  • Make your portfolio real. Create mock-ups that show texture and scale or photograph your pieces to display your art direction. Have a logo project? Put it on a t-shirt and photograph your friend wearing it.
  • Make it a point of practicing design every day. Look at your work critically and then create or seek out projects that will fill the holes in your portfolio.
  • Highlight collaboration. Show how you’re able to work with other professionals.
  • Get inspired. Look at other student and professional portfolios for inspiration.
  • Research and customize. Adjust your portfolio based on the position you are seeking and the people interviewing you. What do you think will intrigue or inspire them?

the-interview

Crushing the Interview

At Bradley Brown Design, our philosophy is that the interview is not just about whether you are a good fit for the position, but also if the company is a good fit for you. It’s a two-way street, so be sure to come to the interview with an open mind and plenty of questions.

Interview Tips
  • The floor is yours—use it. The other people in the room will give you cues when you’ve sufficiently answered the question.
  • Use their questions to fill your agenda. What sets you apart from the other candidates? If there’s a point that you didn’t get to say by the end of the interview—say it.
  • Create narratives about your process, client interaction, overcoming adversity, and inspiration to answer questions creatively. Here is an example from one of our designers: “I was once asked, ‘What inspires you?’ Ultimately, I landed on a personal experience about a logo. It was for a stream project, and I was struggling with finding the right curves to represent the water. I just so happened to be eating a bunch of grapes that had some curly vines, which were the right curves that I needed to draw.”
  • Why do you want this job? Not just what is in it for you – what can you bring to the team? What will you do to ensure the success of the company?
  • A general, canned question often produces a canned answer. Go beyond face value. Think about what motivates the other people in the room. This is a pitch—be unique, memorable and creative.
  • Be excited. For the interviewers, they have a long and arduous process of interviewing and discussing each candidate. Keep it interesting. Your energy will fuel theirs.
  • Look everyone in the eye when you answer a question. Find a way to include everyone.
  • What does your work say about you and your strengths as a designer and creative person? Use your experience and examples of your work to drive your presentation.
  • Think about how you work in a team environment. How do you resolve conflict?
  • How will you learn and grow as a designer while you are here? What opportunities does this position hold for you that you are excited for?
  • Research the company ahead of time. What projects or work have you seen from the company/firm? What did you like about them?
  • Always say thank you. Reach out after your interview to thank those who you interviewed with and include some specific details about your experience with them.

the-resources

Finding the Right Resources

Here are a few great resources for young graphic designers.


Best of luck to all the new graduates – we are excited to see what the next generation of graphic designers will bring to this exciting industry.

Learn more about us at www.bradleybrowndesign.com