Getting back into the swing of things

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted here! The good news: I have been doing some design work – I just haven’t had the time to post about it.

Reconnecting with the community

I have to confess that most of the work I’ve been doing over the last few months has been in isolation. Don’t do that! I went to my local UX meetup last night, and I realized I’d been away for far too long.

This particular group encourages people who are hiring to announce themselves at the beginning of the meetup so that people can come talk to them at the end. Turns out there was someone there who is looking for junior designers! While I don’t know if my skills are up to that standard yet, I also figured I’d never find out if I didn’t talk to her.

Work samples

It’s no secret that a good portfolio is essential to getting design work. But what makes for a good portfolio? I don’t claim to have the answer, but the recruiter I spoke to last night gave me her business card and said she’d be happy to share some pointers.

Also, I can definitely tell you what doesn’t make for a good portfolio: one with nothing in it! Some of you might be asking, “How can I put something in my portfolio when I haven’t done any real design work?” You can always do hypothetical projects, like how you would redesign a well-known existing site. Sure, real projects are preferred, but hypothetical projects offer important benefits:

  • They show that you know how to use the tools of the trade.
  • They demonstrate the design skills in your head.

By the way, I think that second point is more important than the first one. If the skills in your head are where they need to be, learning any tools will just be a formality. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, the most sophisticated tools on the planet won’t help you.

So I’m putting my money where my mouth is: I’ve put up some samples of my work on my Behance profile. It’s entirely possible that the stuff I’ve put there is terrible. But the only way to grow in any creative endeavor is to get that public feedback, even if it isn’t very nice.

If you have any creative aspirations, I encourage you to find a place to post your work publicly. Most fields generally have a few standard places where people post their work for public comment. For example, if you’re a photographer, you could post on Instagram, Flickr, or 500px.

In the spirit of practicing what I preach, feel free to post your own comments on my Behance stuff if you feel so moved. All I ask is that you keep it civil and constructive. “Lol this sux” isn’t very helpful, and I’m just gonna ignore that anyway. “That font is hard to read” or “This other color would work better than the one you chose” are fair game.

What are some of your experiences with displaying your work publicly? Let me know in the comments!

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