Design work experience student workbook

A 20 page workbook to help students complete work experience in a design studio.

Contents

How work experience works
How to organise your studio contacts
Suggested interview questions
Worksheets
Timesheets/diary
Help write a design brief
Achievements checklist to record outcomes

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Preparing a folio

All designers need a folio to get work. You should start preparing a professional folio as part of their work experience. This folio may be very different from the folio that you need for school.

Before you start

You should decide:

What is the reason for preparing a folio?
What are my strengths?
What are my weaknesses?
Which studios do I want to approach?
What is their specialty?

You should be very clear about why you are doing the folio. For example if it is being prepared to get work experience, you should include work that relates to the studios you are approaching. You may not have work that suits the studio (for example you may not have any examples of packaging designs when you are approaching a studio that specialises in that area) but you can get some example of good packaging and annotate them to show why you think it is good design. This shows your understanding of design rather than a skill in doing packaging.

Many designers have a pdf or web based portfolio. If you have them you can email the design studio where you want work experience however it would be preferable to also have a hard copy of your portfolio because that way you can present to the studio owner in person. It gives you the opportunity t to demonstrate your knowledge of the work and you can explain the development that went into the pieces you are showing. It also gives you the chance to show your personality, enthusiasm and communication skills.

You should get as much finished work in your portfolio as is possible. Showing developmental work is good but it is better if you can show the finished piece also.

You should use a folio format that you’re comfortable with. Most practicing designers invest in a professional portfolio book. There are some who design handmade books. Custom-made cases and personalised portfolio covers are a way to show design skills. The sky’s the limit but you shouldn't put all their effort into the folio cover and not pay the same attention to the folio contents.

It's important to limit the number of projects that you choose to show.

Many practicing designers show less than 10 of their best projects. We think that the presentation of a professional folio should take no more than 20 minutes. As a guide, aim to show no more than four projects and take no more than 15 minutes. That way you leave time for questions.

Practice presentation with your parents or friends. You should be able to flip through your book and describe each project in a total of 10 to 15 minutes? If it is taking longer you should revise the way you are describing the project.

The description of each project should start with the brief you were given then outline the type of research you did. Follow on by showing some of your development work and then present the finished piece and explain why it met the brief. You should talk about the layout, the colours, shapes and typography.

Preparing a resume

A professional resume includes a designer's personal information such as name, contact details and date of birthday. It also details their work experience, professional association membership and involvement. It would finish with their interests such as types of sports, music and any hobbies.

For you it will be simpler. Give all of your contact details and then outline your education. List your interests outside of school and any part time work you have done.

Use the downloadable sample to prepare your resume. Fill in the details and then format the document to show your design skills, particularly your understanding of typography.