Event #3 Recap: Design Night with Rashi Birla
Prose x Third Eye Collective
On April 18, we were lucky enough to have one of our outstanding mentors, Rashi Birla, host a Design Night for a few lucky applicants.
We kept it purposely intimate this time, encouraging visual and brand designers to bring their best to the table, knowing its a safe place to get feedback on work and career advice.
The highlight of the evening was learning about Rashi’s story, and how she’s worked her way up from a self-proclaimed “print junkie” designer to a creative director building some of the coolest brands out there (hello, ClassPass, Recess, Prose)!
Rashi shared some tactful advice on what makes for a killer portfolio:
1. Less is More
As designers, we tend to have emotional attachments to all our work. While we may see these projects as huge learning lessons and achievements that we can’t part from, a crowded portfolio crowds the mind of the creative director viewing your work. In order to pick the right pieces to show, think about the strongest work, the ones you’re most proud of, and most importantly — the ones you can speak to. Having accompanying case studies with your work showcases your thinking, and helps with showing the process of your work (more on this later!).
Design is a series of strategic choices, and your portfolio is an opportunity to show your brain.
BTW — Good rule of thumb is no school projects past four years after graduation.
Feeling inseparable from a project? Throw it in your “Personal Projects,” section. Keep a project alive over time by evolving and iterating, showing the process and thinking in a clear case study.
Just as design evolves, you do too! Don’t shy away from continuing to get feedback and challenging your own projects regularly.
2. Reflect the Job You Want
A portfolio is an expression of yourself in a strategic, streamlined way. If you’re gunning for a visual design role, don’t crowd your portfolio with extra projects in film and animation. Research the role, company, and team, paying attention to their unique design methodologies and project case studies.
3. “About Me” is the Most Important Page
First and foremost, creative people are expressive people. While we enjoy letting our “work speak for itself,” there’s a lot about YOU that creative directors would love to learn about. Why design? What makes you tick? What do you do for fun? Showing your authentic personality in a succinct yet impactful about page will speak volumes of what you can add to the team.
4. Write Case Studies (!!)
The final product is always the most exciting to showcase, but creative directors really care about how you got there. Start from the beginning, add process pictures, sketches, whatever it is you need to get granular before you get to the big reveal. Paint a story of your creative journey, highlighting your role in the project. One of the biggest markers of a great team player and collaborator is someone who gives credit to her team and outlines her role in the project. It shows humility and attention to detail that is much-needed in the work environment.
One of the biggest markers of a great team player and collaborator is someone who gives credit to her team and outlines her role in the project.
5. An Adaptable Style Is the Best Kind
Visual and brand designers often find themselves pressured to find a particular “style” of their own. But the beauty in working for different companies and brands is that your job is to elevate their visual style.
The best designers are flexible. They don’t necessarily need a personal “style” but they’ve mastered how to bring the style out of the brand they work with.