PSU Student Nicole Lavelle // Been There Done That: Sophomore Portfolio Review Advice

Posted on Nov 17th, 2008 by Command Save


A piece from Nicole's Sophomore Portfolio Review. See the rest after the jump.

When do you expect to graduate? 
winter or spring 2010, please.

Please share anything you think is relevant regarding your education at PSU or pre-PSU.
I transferred from the University of Oregon where I studied journalism and letterpress printing. That taught me to appreciate letters and type and the importance of communicating clearly. Graphic design combines those two things in a really nice way!

A graphic designer's portfolio is a primary professional tool , it is used for getting jobs (and for promoting designers and design studios, bringing in new clients, etc.) What do you feel you may have gained from the process of putting your body of work together?
I grew to understand how time consuming it is to present yourself in an obsessively clean, polished way. I started to see that I would have to work hard to make things that I felt represented me and my work, because the sophomore portfolio was comprised largely of exercises demonstrating skill competence and not necessarily projects I'd show the world.

Nicole's checklist of things to get done for the review!

Please share your process for putting your portfolio together.
I gathered what I thought were my strongest pieces and a bunch of back-ups, and made lots and lots of lists. Ones that needed work, ones that were okay as-is, what work needed to be done on each piece, what I needed at the art store, etc. Then I worked my way down the list, breathing a sigh of relief with each check mark.
Did you attend the Sophomore Review Information and Faculty Help Sessions? Where they helpful to you? 
Yes and yes. The info session helped clear up basic questions about things like mounting, or whether certain pieces were a series or individual pieces. Sort of the nuts and bolts, a quick way to get questions answered. The faculty crit session helped me decide which pieces were the strongest and what kind of work needed to be done on things. I had looked at all of my work for months and it was nice to get a new viewpoint. GO TO THESE THINGS!

Faculty are available to support students in the improvement/reworking of projects and development of student portfolios. Did you ask any faculty outside of help sessions to support you in editing or developing your portfolio?
I asked professors how I might improve projects they were familiar with, or how I might present a 3D object I made in their class. When I went to the faculty help session I asked for a professor who I hadn't had in classes so I could get new eyes looking at my work. (Thank you Precious!)
Please share any advice / thoughts for students who will be submitting portfolios in the future.
Don't leave it until the last minute. You might be mounting everything the night before, but get your work finished and printed long before the portfolio is due. Print more than one of things that might be difficult to cut or mount. Get extra matte board. Take ridiculous care with how clean everything is. Write your artist statement early enough to have a few people read it for clarity.  Save interesting portfolio presentation ideas until after all your work is perfected; it's more important to have strong pieces than it is to have a crazy creative outer package system. I think so, anyways.