Been There Done That: Alex Boyd and the Sophomore Portfolio Review

Posted on Apr 19th, 2010 by Command Save

Welcome to the fourth installment of Command Save interviewing 2009 Spring Portfolio Review participants. This information is meant to help the 2010 Sophomore Portfolio Review Participants! Read on! ALSO: if you have gone through the review and want to share your experiences on Command Save let me know!

We asked PSU student Alex Boyd a few questions about her experiences with last year's portfolio review and she offered up some advice for those about to embark upon this year's 2010 review.

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above: example of Alex's Process Book and TOC

Please share anything you think is relevant regarding your education at PSU.

I'm a transfer student who tried a private university and studied abroad before I ended up in Portland. I kind of stumbled onto graphic design, but I'm so glad that I finally found something that I love doing – it makes all the long nights and stressful critiques worth it 🙂 I'm also kind of obsessive and detail-oriented, which is probably a good thing for this discipline.


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Please share your process for putting your portfolio together.

I, like Aaron, spent a lot of time 'planning' – aka not really DOING anything. I thought a lot, and made some lists, but it was about week 5 before I actually started revising projects, test printing, and considering packaging. In the end, the packaging was what took the longest, but it was also my favorite part of the whole thing – it made it cohesive and AWESOME (Am I allowed to say that?)
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Please share any advice / thoughts for students who will be submitting their portfolios.

1. Don't freak out. Okay, maybe freak out a little, because a fire under your ass is helpful in getting stuff done, but know that as long as you're putting in your best work and trying hard, you will probably pass.

2. Focus on the details – small details in your work can make all the difference (I left a widow on a poster and didn't realize until after I got my portfolio back! HOW EMBARRASSING!) Details in your presentation make it all stand out. Be obsessive!

3. Check in with your classmates. Some of my favorite memories from that term involve portfolio-making parties with some excellent friends that went into the wee hours of the night. You'll be delirious. You'll be stressed. You'll lose sleep. SO WILL EVERYONE ELSE. Use this as an opportunity to build relationships and forge friendships and support each other. It's like trial by fire – it won't kill you, and it will make you stronger.

4. Use the flickr group! Upload your progress to the PSU Sophomore Review group pool and the Friends of Graphic Design group pool – it's a great way to get feedback from upperclassmen, people who aren't in your classes, and professors you might not otherwise have met. There are resources out there, USE THEM!

GOOD LUCK!