What makes a good portfolio?

There is not a right or wrong approach to building a successful portfolio but getting a good start is crucial.

Get the specification right

To ensure that you cover all the design aspects of the brief you will have to ensure that you clearly establish the areas of research.

Look at the brief and find the information that clearly tells you something about the specification and what will be required.

Next look at the other areas of the brief for information that is not so clear and will require further research to help inform the specification. Highlighter pens can be a big help – with different colours for 'things I know', 'things I might know' and 'things I don’t know'.

Further research may be required to find out information such as: -

  • Who might user the product?
  • how the product will be used?
  • the location or environment of where the design is being used?
  • any issues that may affect the design such as sizes and possible materials?

If this is done properly, this should direct you on the right path to a possible design proposal. This may limit some of the options that could have been explored and establish your application of design knowledge.

How to start your ideas

There are multiple possible techniques you can use which will allow you to get your idea generation started. Throughout your coursework you will have looked at different ways of getting ideas started. This could be through brainstorming or some of the many other types of idea generation.

Remember this part of the process is supposed to be very quick way to come up with a potential solution to a design problem. With idea generation, it is always better to have many initial ideas to explore as there is danger of limiting yourself with only a few ideas.

Lots of 2D thumbnails sketches of ideas can be more creative way to explore than 3D sketches. Another way could be to explore ideas by modelling designs using card. By using a combination of 2D sketches and modelling you can gain marks for graphics and modelling and understanding design issues.