Budi Tanrim’s Portfolio Advice

Budi is a designer I’ve admired for a few years now. His advice for building an effective product design portfolio is something I have also told many young designers.

A poor portfolio for product designers is when it only shows the artifacts (e.g. the screen). I’d consider it as a weak portfolio. Because it doesn’t help me to know whether a designer can make a good decision or at least have a good line of thinking. I don’t even know if the outcome help the team achieve the goal or learn something.

It does not matter how beautiful your mockups or screenshots are. I just wonder where they come from, why they exist, what problems they solved, etc.

An okay portfolio describes the problem and the result. I generally encourage people who don’t have enough time to go with this format. I will mostly be interested in this portfolio when I hire a junior-mid level.

This is crucial. Beautiful mockups are a start, but what problem do they solve? Your portfolio and presentation should be a series of problem/solution pairs.

A great portfolio provides context on why this project started. What are the customer problems and business challenges? Then the result of their solution. The approach is a bonus tho, I’m still okay when it doesn’t show a detailed process. Because at this point, I’ll be interested if I see they solve a complex problem before and can articulate it clearly.

Context, context, context. Do not simply give a real estate tour of an interface you designed. Focus on the story. What was the problem, why did you and your team work on this, what did you learn, etc.

Portfolio Web Advice

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