PRODUCT DESIGN PORTFOLIO TIPS
AND APPLICATION ADVICE

Introduction

We at SLIMDESIGN are lucky to receive a lot of job and internship applications. Going through them we see that a lot of students are struggling and do not know what what it takes to make a successful portfolio. We feel it is a pity for those students that were not given the right guidance. We hope that this presentation will help you to get accepted into our studio or somewhere else.

 

Our Selection Procces

I think it is good if you realize how our selection process works. (other studio’s have a similar process, but not sure how the big corporations with HR departments work).
We have 4 intern spots a year and one or two vacancies.
We receive 10+ portfolios a week (from all over the world) and they are all put in the application e-mail folder.
Once a week we go through them and start with the e-mail (it sets the expectation)
If the first 2 pages of the portfolio are interesting and of high quality we continue…
If not, we often do not look futher and it is put in the ‘not selected’ e-mail folder.
They get send a standard thank you (but sorry) email.

 

We look for:

– Do you have skills that we can use  (sketching, prototyping, SW, Keyshot, Adobe, Ps, Ai, Id )
– Are you able to present it well (graphic, logo icons, schematics, visuals, renderings)
– Does your design style fit ours (logic, clean, minimalistic, detailing, use of Color, Materials and Finnish)
– Do the products make sense (are they logical, do they for-fill the function or solve the problem)
– The design process used (which ideas/concepts did you create and what choices were made)
– Your technical skills (mechanical, engineering, production methods, electrical, code)
– Other skills (language, website, photo, movie, social media, etc.)

 

E-mail

The E-mail is important because it sets the expectation.
If time is spent on the details, often their portfolio is worth going through.

Keep it short and include:
– Introduction of yourself and the reason you’re applying
– The education, its location and the year
– If possible, past internships and/or jobs
– When you can start and for how long you like to stay (we prefer 6 month)
– Spend time to create a nice signature with all your contact info.
– Use (Ctrl +*) to check/remove the hard enters (otherwise a lot of white space)- Use standard letter-type and size 10 or 11.
– Add hyper-links where possible

Attachments:
– Portfolio We prefer a pdf, max 10MB or a link to website or Issuu etc. (no separate images, zip, rar or download links)
– CV, Motivation letter, Reference letter(s) from previous internships / jobs (I would add these to your portfolio)

 

Portfolio

See your portfolio as a design project:
– Analyse how it is used (= computer screen) so make it 16:9 or wider (resolution 1920x1080).
– Do a competitor analyses at Issuu (search for product design)- Create nice logical/understandable stories
– These will show your design process, capabilities and your sense of quality and detail.
– Keep the layout simple and clean (it is about telling the story and showing the content)
– Make sure you create a high-res but low MB pdf (it shows you skills with Adobe/InDesign)

Your portfolio could include:
– Title page – Introduction of yourself, the reason why you have chosen us and why we should choose you.
– Photo(s) that give an impression about you and how you work (so keep them professional).
– CV (info-graphics is an option), stick to relevant/interesting jobs and activities.
– References / quotes from tutors (add linked-in / social media links to them)
– Projects and previous internships (the company and your work there (also if it is not a whole project)
– Personal / miscellaneous stuff you created (art/DIY) or did (but make sure the presentation is of high quality)
– Thank you + contact details page

The projects should have a nice flow and can include:
– Title / logo / icons and the context
– The brief, problem, functionality and user interaction
– Competitor analysis, reference images and info graphics
– Ideas, sketches, models
– 3D Cad / internal parts / working methods
– Different concepts and the selection procedure
– Explanation graphics / visualizations / renderings
– Prototypes / Testing / User Interaction / App
– Final result (in context rendering) and explanation
Use several slides and re-do / add steps afterwards, work on it until it fits your ambition.

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