SOPH Return

Sophomores! It’s almost time to submit your portfolios. Are you in need of some tips on the design of your portfolio? Have you been wanting to see examples of portfolios? Want to hear some encouraging words from upperclassmen who’ve made it through portfolio? Meet SOPH Return. A space where past sophomores return the favor by sharing and reflecting on their portfolios. Here, you can view past sophomore portfolios, learn from the feedback they received, and rest knowing that you’ve got this, we’ve been in your shoes, and we are here for you!


 

Chloe Findtner

Chloe Findtner Portfolio Deck

What is your nugget of wisdom for sophomores?

While you complete your sophomore-level studio courses, especially during Winter and Spring terms, tackle those projects as if they’re going into your portfolio upon completion. It’s always a great idea to revise your projects, but do your future self a favor by doing GREAT work the first time around! I spent a lot of time adding things to old projects that I wish I would’ve incorporated from the beginning. Also, to my fellow illustrators out there: you’ll have tons of time post-portfolio to explore illustration, so don’t neglect your typography skills! 😉

 

 

 

Kelsey Stewart

Kelsey Stewart Portfolio Deck

What is your nugget of wisdom for sophomores?

Lean on friends, peers, mentors, and advisors! I was nervous to meet with professors and people I didn’t know, but it was super helpful to get new perspectives on my projects. Take lots of notes during these feedback moments! Also, don’t freak out if your files got lost over the years. I found out three of my projects had corrupted files, but it gave me a chance to start fresh on some projects and work on ones I hadn’t considered before. It turned out fine, mainly because I stayed calm and pushed forward. Good luck, you’ve totally got this!!

 

Bailey Granquist

Bailey Granquist Portfolio Deck

What is your nugget of wisdom for sophomores?

A lot of people might tell you the portfolio review is actually pretty easy. What they SHOULD be saying is, if you put in the time and effort, you can totally pass! My #1 piece of advice is to ask faculty members what they look for when they review a portfolio. It’ll help you narrow your focus on the things that are the most important. Take risks! Give it some “you” flavor! And if you don’t pass on the first try, don’t sweat it. It’s still possible to graduate in 4 years without overworking yourself, I promise!

 

Paris Fox

Paris Fox Portfolio Deck

What is your nugget of wisdom for sophomores?

One thing that really got me down during portfolio (and is still something I’m working on) was comparing my work to my peers! The more time away I’ve had from portfolio the easier this has gotten, but just remember that you’re doing good work and everyone is capable of doing good design. I was also terrible when it came to breaks and I’ve realized that time away from design majorly re energizes and motivates me to make things I end up feeling really proud of. If you can set aside a day or two per week or even just at a certain point every evening when you don’t even open your laptop, the space you give yourself to relax or do something fun will ultimately help your creative output in the long run 🙂

 

Claire Miller

Claire Miller Portfolio Deck

What is your nugget of wisdom for sophomores?

Get comfortable with asking for help! Especially early in the process, getting feedback on your projects is a great booster for bettering your work. If you sign up for a mentor – REACH OUT TO THEM! Also, try not to devalue your portfolio after you’re finished. Looking at it may bring back stressful memories, but being proud of all the work you put into it is better in the long run!

 

Katie Storment

 

Katie Storment Portfolio Deck

What is your nugget of wisdom for sophomores?

As of today, the SPR might be one of your largest accomplishments in your design career. The fact that you are participating, and have also crossed the finish line in completing your portfolio—you deserve to treat yourself and give yourself a pat on the back. Everyone who has already gone through the review knows how stressful and sometimes anxiety-inducing the portfolio review can be, yet most all who have participated have always come out as a stronger designer.

Coming from someone who didn’t pass the review my first time, my biggest advice and encouragement is that whatever the outcome, stay true to yourself and know that your journey might be delayed but that doesn’t mean it’s over. As long as you focus on the opportunities that you have currently and continue to explore your own path, you will get through to the end. So be proud of yourself for what you have done now and look at how far you have come. Best of luck! — Katie

 

Abigail Wallhauser

 

Abigail Wallhauser Portfolio Deck

What is your nugget of wisdom for sophomores?

The further I move away from the sophomore review, the less critical I am of my portfolio. One thing I found helpful was creating a system early on in the process. Having a type palette and structure for pacing made designing the portfolio less overwhelming. I felt a lot of pressure to make it more stylized, but I think having rules helped alleviate that (partially). Looking back, I would have stressed less about trying to make it look a certain way that didn’t feel necessarily ‘me’.

 

Macy Eiesland

 

Macy Eiesland Portfolio Deck

What is your nugget of wisdom for sophomores?

The best advice I have for Sophomore Portfolio is to give that extra 10% in your classes when you’re doing the projects. Seek out extra feedback, push that concept a little harder, or make an additional deliverable. This extra push will save you from having to tweak so much later. And it’s good advice moving onward in the program too because you will always be updating your portfolio. I do not consider myself a skilled photographer but I was and still am really interested in art direction and that was the main way I pushed my portfolio. For a couple of my projects, I created a scene where my design piece could potentially live in the real world. And those projects that I pushed the extra 10% are the ones that I still have in my portfolio today. Part of the grade of the portfolio is how concept-driven are your projects so take those risks! Push those wild ideas! Be yourself, and make something that you will want to hang on to or maybe even send out! You got this!

 

Mckinsey Carroll

 

Mckinsey Carroll Portfolio Deck

What is your nugget of wisdom for sophomores?

This is coming from a procrastinator with low confidence: The main thing is to just know that you’re SO capable of this. The whole process feels scary when it doesn’t have to be. It’s stressful at times, but nothing you can’t handle. Take advantage of the amazing PSUGD community: Ask for help with anything. Zoom/talk with your peers. I am literally personally here for you! Take it one day at a time. Just start your file! Do not beat yourself up anywhere along the way- remember that school is ultimately for YOUR OWN growth! Don’t forget to keep some perspective and enjoy life. You are meant to be here- just do your best!

 

Gage Murrey

 

Gage Murrey Portfolio Deck

What is your nugget of wisdom for sophomores?

Hey y’all! My advice for portfolio review is to start early. There are going to be some long days where you edit projects, change your layouts, question your type pairings, etc. etc. For me I started formatting my portfolio before I edited my projects and I think that is the way to go. Nothing is going to be perfect in your eyes. You’ll notice all the fine details that look wrong to you and thats okay. Try to not get hung up on all of that because what really counts is your ideas and amount of risks you’re willing to take. Just start early and give it your all. It’s worth it I PROMISE!!! We’re all rooting for you! 🙂

 

Nia Musiba

 

Nia Musiba Portfolio Deck

What is your nugget of wisdom for sophomores?

Hey Sophomores, my biggest advice is to trust in yourself. You’ve totally got this! It’s going to be stressful for a bit and you’re going to work pretty hard and then you will look back on it and say, “wow, I had nothing to be so worried about!” And on top of it, you will have this awesome, well-composed body of all of your amazing work, which is pretty cool! My other piece of advice is to start on your actual deck a little earlier than you maybe think you need to. Personally, it took me a little longer than I thought it would to get my deck to a spot where I was happy with it. And my third piece of advice is to reach out to people! Between upperclassmen in the program, professors, and classmates, we’ve all got your back and we’re totally rooting for you and ready to help, so use us! Anyways, that’s all I have for you, good luck and I believe in you!

Camryn Perry

 

Camryn Perry Portfolio Deck

What is your nugget of wisdom for sophomores?

Having a mentor that I trusted and got along with was really what got me through portfolio. Since it was the beginning of the pandemic and there was a lot of worry and uncertainty going around, having someone there that I could not only talk to about my portfolio but just about the stresses of life in general was invaluable! Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and to reach out to others to look over your portfolio besides your mentor, because the more eyes on it the better. Most importantly, don’t be afraid of receiving feedback!

 

Noel Anderson

 

Noel Anderson Portfolio Deck

What is your nugget of wisdom for sophomores?
Give yourself enough time to work on the process and written sample! I did not and it didn’t turn out how I wanted. (new paragraph) Also, don’t sweat the small stuff too much. The reviewers are looking at your overall ability level and presentation. Maybe one of your images is fuzzy and you run out of time to fix it, that’s ok! And lastly, the number doesn’t matter. As soon as you’re in upper division classes, everything changes and no one cares about the number. Good luck!

 

More portfolios are on the way! Check in weekly for more updates.

 

 

One important thing to keep in mind: these portfolios from here on out are all from before the digital age of portfolio review. The requirements for the review have changed since they were made—most were set up as spreads, for instance, and not single pages as was intended. It’s important to review the 2021 Sophomore Portfolio Review guidelines and info session deck for portfolio dimensions and format.


Makayla Lovrak

 

Makayla Lovrak Portfolio

In regards to the design of your portfolio (the type palette, the page layout, how you sized or edited photos, content density and flow, etc.), what would you have done differently?

Looking back at the way I designed my portfolio, I’m generally still very happy with it. It perfectly served its purpose by being simply, understated, and letting my work shine brightest. However, I wish I would have played with white space a little differently. All elements felt really static and I think I could have used page layout skills I have now to make it more experimental. That could mean feeling a little more comfortable with laying things out more asymmetrically. Also, I really wish I would have put my folios at the bottom not the top like I did. It makes the bottom feel pretty bare. I would have moved them to the bottom completely, or kept them at the top and added additional footers signifying my name or something.

Gianna Zanzi

 

Gianna Zanzi Portfolio

Are there important aspects or skills in design you know of now that would have been helpful while going through the review that you overlooked?
Never underestimate the power of good photos and editing! When it came time to photograph my projects, I knew that I had wanted to stage them a bit with props (flowers in vases, shoeboxes to make things different heights, etc.), and had reserved the W+K light box in 290 for about 5 hours on a Friday night. I used my phone to take the pictures, and spent a fair bit of time photographing each one of my projects in different angles and different positions so that I knew that I had some options for when I had to arrange them in my portfolio. Something that I had underestimated, though, was how long it would take to edit each photo. Schedule a couple of days to do this at least, because you might have to do a couple of passes on the photo to make sure that all of the photos of a single project have the same color grading, and that each folded edge has been cleaned up to look nice and seamless. When looking back at this process, I think that it was the photo editing that made my portfolio feel a little more professional, and not just like another school project, which made it worthwhile! Good luck, Sophomores! You’ve got this!!

Mia Dorsey

 

Mia Dorsey Portfolio

In regards to the design of your portfolio (the type palette, the page layout, how you sized or edited photos, content density and flow, etc.), what would you have done differently?
I probably would have just omitted the funky stuff I was trying to do with the numbering. Looking back at my portfolio, its honestly a little bit distracting. I do like how I had some images take up the entirety of the the pages. People were looking at this to see my work and the large images helped accomplish that!

Kami Gould

 

Kami Gould Portfolio

What are some specific points of feedback you received on your portfolio? Optional: How would you resolve any negative feedback?
I received feedback that I often took the safe route and employed a lot of similar solutions for different projects. After portfolio, I’ve felt a lot freer to experiment and get weird since failure now is less of a huge thing. I think this feedback really resolved itself, as I felt like playing it safe for portfolio was better than taking a risk and missing the mark, but now that I’m on the other side I have a lot more opportunity for experimentation.