Industrial design portfolio tips and application advice

by | SLIMDESIGN | Last updated : Oct 6, 2020

We see that some talented students have trouble presenting themselves and their work. Therefore we created this post to share our tips and preferences. We hope that this information will help you to get accepted into our studio. (or somewhere else..).

Your application

The way you apply is a good indicator for us how successful you will be in our studio.
Your e-mail will tell us the following:

  • Do you prepare well and spend time on the details?
  • Can you communicate clearly, are we left with questions?
  • Are you driven and made an extra effort?

Keep your e-mail short and include:

  • Introduction of yourself and the reason you’re applying
  • Your education (add link), its location, and the year you are in
  • Add if possible, past internships, jobs and/or other interesting things
  • When you can start and for how long you like to stay (we prefer 6 months)
  • Spend time to create a nice signature with all your contact information
  • Use (Ctrl +*) to check/remove the hard enters (otherwise a lot of white space)
  • Use standard letter-type and size 10 or 11
  • Add hyperlinks where possible

Attachments

  • Portfolio (we prefer a pdf, max 10MB) but a link to a website, Behance or Issuu page, etc. is also ok.
  • No separate images, zip, rar, download links or passwords
  • CV (I personally like if they are added to the portfolio)
  • Cover letters or letters of motivation are not necessary

Your portfolio

Approach your portfolio as a design project:

  • Analyze how the product will be used (= computer screen) so make it 16:9 or wider (resolution 1920×1080)
  • Do a competitor analysis at Issuu or Behance (search for product design)
  • Define the best practices, find out what is needed to make something better than your competition
  • Create nice logical/understandable stories and 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 to keep the text to a minimum. They will not be read and if you need it, your visuals are not explanatory enough
  • Make sure you create a high-res but low size pdf (max 10MB, it shows your skills with Adobe/InDesign)

Your portfolio could include:

  • Title page
  • Introduction of yourself, why us and more important why we should choose you
  • A photo that gives an impression about you and how you work (so keep them professional)
  • CV (infographics are nice) stick to relevant/interesting jobs and activities
  • References/quotes from tutors (add linked-in/social media links to them)
  • Projects and previous internships (add company info and an indication of your role/work)
  • Personal/miscellaneous stuff you created (but make sure it is quality work)
  • Thank you + contact details page

Projects

Only show your best work, choose quality over quantity.
The projects should have a nice flow and can include:

  • Start with the context and the problem your design aims to solve
  • Competitor analysis, reference images, and infographics
  • Ideas, sketches, foam models
  • 3D Cad / internal parts / working methods
  • Different concepts around internal component configuration
  • Explanation graphics / visualizations / renderings
  • Prototypes / Testing / User Interaction / App
  • Final result (in context rendering) and explanation

Please note there is no such thing as cheating when creating a portfolio. As long as you are not using others’ work everything is allowed.
Improve, re-do, re-render make new visualizations & add steps afterward, work on it until it fits your ambition.

Things to watch out for:

  • Page size (screen) and layout (keep it simple not too cramped and consistent)
  • Graphics, icons, logo’s and infographics: use your projects to show you have a good feel for them
  • Skill level indicator bars (a big discussion going on and a lot of people do not like them)

Sketching (hand and digital)

  • Get the perspective and ellipses right (use 3D Cad underlays)
  • Do not include unrealistic hands or people. Often taking a picture and trace over the required body parts provide the realistic result
  • Design ideation: create the internal component configuration first, then show form variation sketches.
  • Use all tools available, redo and improve as much as you can

Renderings and Photoshop

  • Work on them until they are stunning and realistic
  • Watch online tutorials practice and redo them

If you would like to know more we have filmed a Portfolio and application lecture about the topic.

Our internships

We see interns as a win-win and ideally, we hope to offer you a job when you finish your degree.
We want you to learn as much as possible. You will participate in the projects as a real team member.
For the ‘in-between time,’ you get a pet-project where we act as your client.

You are

  • A fun, creative, innovative, independent 3rd year + industrial design student
  • Extremely motivated and have a passion for design and engineering
  • Eager to experience the whole development process from the idea up to production.

You have

  • Good hand and digital sketching skills and can create stunning visualizations
  • Experience with 3D Cad and programs like SolidWorks, Keyshot, Adobe, and others
  • A similar ‘minimalistic’ design style where the form is used to improve the functionality
  • Fluent English speaking skills

We offer

A great place to learn all facets of product development. You will be working with a team of experts where we push the interns to take responsibility. The intern fee is 500,- euro, there is a daily healthy free lunch and you will get an intern-bike to tour our great city.

Interested?
Send your e-mail with a portfolio to info@slimdesign.com
We are looking forward to seeing your work.

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