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The Worst portfolio Ever


Are you a: writer/artist/performer/songwriter/communicator/poet/designer/consultant/stylist/innovator/freethinker/enabler/visioneer/strategist/process developer/texturalist/game-changer; plus an avid [fill in the blank] who has (or is planning) a portfolio-style website to advertise your talents and availability?

Then please, for the sake of your visitors and yourself, go read Alex Cornell/s very short and spot-on article: The Worst Portfolio Ever

As Alex describes it, "This is how you make the worst portfolio ever. Do not do this. If this looks like your website, change your website."


I particularly liked these two no-nos (both of which are cropping up with increasing frequency on a lot of sites I've been seeing lately):

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.
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Especially when the person is foolish enough to make it so you can actually read the notes and wonder: Does this person always spend that much time and effort making sure the lettering and sketches on those post-its are always so blatantly artsy looking?

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.  
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IMHO, anyone involved in communications, or who does design for a living - and has not read Edward Tufte's books on information - really needs to find another job.



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