The Graphic Design Portfolio: Process Over Product

Irina Lee
Design Director, Bureau Blank
Adjunct Lecturer, School of Visual Arts
Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Visual Communications: Art + Graphic Design
SUNY Farmingdale

Portfolio preparation can be a friendly approach to learning time management, identifying personal career goals, and transitioning from a student to a professional practice. 
“Live Interviews + Networking Night” was born out of the necessity to focus and motivate the graphic design seniors. Over the course of 6 weeks, the work leading up to the “big night” provides a real-world setting for students to research the design industry, identify personal career goals, iterate, self-initiate the necessary portfolio work, articulate their work through written case studies, seek out help and feedback from design professionals, and learn to make their own decisions. Instead of the traditional teacher/student reviews, students seek reviews from industry professionals and supplement their work with group reviews and self evaluations. 
Through this process, students gain confidence in their work, become stronger writers, improve collaboration and group facilitation skills, and learn how to build their networks. The talk will include students’ work, teaching methods, and tips for anyone interested in incorporating a similar model into their upper-level design courses.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 1.2: New York City College of Technology on Friday, October 31, 2014.