Last week I talked a little bit about the importance of joining social media design sites like Behance and such. This got me thinking abut how to decide what work to put up on these sites. After all, if the point in joining these sort of sites is to get more work, it only makes sense that you should only post your best work on them.
That seems easy enough.
But, if you are anything like me, you constantly seem less than impressed by work you have done in the past. I’m always improving my skills as a designer, so I tend to look at my older work as sub par. No matter how good I may have thought the design was at the time, in retrospect I hate it.
That isn’t to say its a bad design now, I just seem to see all the flaws in it and how better it could be if I were to redesign the site today. So, how do you get over this dilemma?
The first place to start is just post what you think is the best of your worse work. The other is to poll random people or fellow designers. By polling non-creative types you can get a sense of what work of yours potential customers may be impressed with. By asking fellow designers, you are getting creative feedback that could help you improve your skills over time. Getting feedback from designers who you respect can really help you step up your game and become a better designer.
Portfolio Review Resources
Sometimes it is a lot harder than one might think to get feedback on their design. Lucky for us, in this digital age, there are a number of sites that can provide you with feedback on your design. It is important to note that you should take any feedback you get on your design on these sites with a grain of salt. There is no telling the skill level of a person based on their feedback. I mean, do you really want to take the advice of someone who designs things in MS Paint? Ok, maybe that’s a stretch, but you get the idea.
Concept Feedback is a nice site that practically guarantees you will receive feedback on your design within a day or two of posting. It’s a great place to hear what other creatives think about your work.
Uses Twitter as a tool to get reviews for your site or design. Seems ok, but reviews are limited to 145 characters.
This website cost money, but is pretty affordable. It is more based on usability, but seeing as how usability and good design go hand and hand, it seems like the site could be worthwhile.
How to Self Review
If for whatever reason you don’t want a public review of your portfolio or just can’t get any decent feedback, don’t fret. Self evaluation of your portfolio isn’t terribly complicated. I usually just ask myself a few questions when deciding what work to publish in my portfolio and online networks.
1. Does this design showcase my skills? – Ok, this one is kind of a given, but it’s still important. Don’t just add stuff to your portfolio for the sake of filling it up. Less is more in this case. It seems to me that 3 amazing designs are far better than 10+ sub-par designs.
2. What does the live version of this site look like? – Double check that your clients are still using your theme or that they haven’t broke it. If a would be client visits a site in your portfolio and its all jacked up thanks to your idiot client, it could reflect badly on you.
3. Is this a big name client? – A big name client can do wonders for your portfolio. Even if it’s a sub-par design, most people will overlook that aspect and just be impressed that so and so thought you were good enough to work with.
4. Do I want more work like this? – I think it is important to show off websites you enjoyed working on. For one, this will show through in the design. Second, it could lead to more similar work. Why not try to get jobs you actually like?
5. Does this design need explanation? – Sometimes a design can just need an explanation. Not because its a bad design, but some circumstances just call for it. These sort of designs probably aren’t the best ones to add to your portfolio.