The chance is high that your first portfolio consists of merely school projects. Presenting them is an effective way can be challenging. Sometimes you may get a lot of freedom to guide your process and product but sometimes your school gives you many constraints. I hope that these tips are valuable regardless of the level of freedom of your project.
The one thing I often notice in school projects is avoiding responsibility. It is very easy to hide behind the design brief given by your school. It is very easy to blame your team for bad results. It is easy to say you have run out of time to do user testing.
I think that students often avoid responsibility because they are insecure. They are insecure about their results. Well, here is the thing. It really doesn’t matter if a design decision turned out to be wrong. What is more important as a student is that you made a conscious decision which you can justify. I think what separates mediocre and great students is being intentional about design decisions.
It doesn’t matter that you feel your project failed. You are at school to make mistakes. Most portfolio visitors understand that. The trick to dealing with “failure” is showing you have learned from these mistakes. That’s why I always recommend to include a personal reflection on your project page. Embrace the learning process. Reflect on what you learned, what went well and what you will do better in the future. That’s how you can turn failure into something positive.
Whenever you will get a full-time job, you can’t avoid responsibility either. You will be accountable for the work you deliver. Taking responsibility is a skill. Recruiters look for that in a portfolio. Your portfolio’s visitors don’t care about your excuses. They care about results. Good or bad.
So take responsibility. Take responsibility for every part of your project.
Take responsibility by showing that you were in control of your design process, not your teacher. Focus on the design decision that you did make and explain your personal arguments. Write about your role within your team.
Take responsibility by showing that you were in control of your design process, not your teacher.