The Worst Portfolio Ever
By @alexcornell // 07.14.13
This is the worst portfolio ever. It falls victim to the worst trends in portfolio design today. They are as follows:
The Paragraph “Portfolio”: Oh ok, so there is no work on your website, but this paragraph tells me you’re a maker, a thinker, a writer and a storyteller. Impressive! You must go on so many adventures. Luckily you have 10 social network links so I can spend all day clicking away from your website.
These glorified Twitter bios I’m sure are meant to come off humble and approachable, but I can’t help but see them as lazy. I couldn’t care less if you’re an avid coffee drinker or that San Francisco is a sunny place. I just want to see your work. Right away. I don’t want to chase it around the internet for half an hour, only to find angled photos of hands holding iPhones in 400px rectangles.
The Arbitrary “Skills” Chart: This is a perplexing trend in far too many designer’s portfolios: listing skills and assigning arbitrary graphs to indicate proficiency in each. These charts are hilariously useless. What’s the scale? You know all 55% of logo design? What could that possibly mean? Adobe Illustrator is at ~80%? Am I supposed to be impressed or concerned?
I get it, you want to simultaneously convey which skills you have and also show a little design. Fair. But recognize that all these charts convey is that you are OK with mind-numbingly incoherent information design.
The Sticky Note Photo: A picture of a wall covered in sticky notes. How exciting! From this I suppose you are telling me that you are acquainted with “iterative process” and “design thinking”. Maybe you even know how to use a…yep, there it is, a picture of whiteboard with scribbles and people pointing at it. Clearly a master of collaboration as well.
Including the sticky-note-wall-photo is about as helpful as including a photo of your computer. It tells me nothing other than that you once put sticky notes on a wall like every other designer on the planet.
You Don’t Work at Apple: Unless you do, in which case carry on. Otherwise, enough with the iPhone and iMac glory shots. Shallow depth of field is awesome, but please just make sure you can actually see and evaluate the design you actually did. If it’s a flat design UI kit then you may be better off hiding it behind a thumb.
Colophon: These about/colophon/more sections come in a variety of forms but they all serve the same purpose: divert real estate away from your work. Obviously you are obsessed with kerning. Obviously you “design by hand”. Just about everything written on this page is table stakes; I assume all of this to be true when I arrive on a designer’s portfolio. Telling me again that you have a moleskin, like colors, and use fonts is redundant.
This is how you make the worst portfolio ever. Do not do this. If this looks like your website, change your website. It’s very easy to fix: stop stating the obvious and show off your work instead.