Junior Graphic Designers - Here's How to Show Process in Your Portfolio

Showing the way you think and work as a junior graphic designer or junior art director is essential today. Presenting your process on your website and in your print materials provides proof that you created the work in your book and gives a behind the scenes view of how you do things. It can tip the scales in your favor and give an employer the confidence to hire you. 

Process in Design is Usually Poorly Presented.

Scans of thumbnails haphazardly arranged as a page on your website don't look good and won't sell your conceptual thinking or your graphic design abilities. 

There is a better way. 

This work by Brooke Hugus shows how to do it right. It is a thoughtful process and provides some good takeaways including the short video at the end of the story that is sure to catch a creative director's attention. The video demonstrates Brooke's attention to detail that underlies this clever campaign work. 

Here's Brooke's process story for Royal India, a design project for her Ideation class at SDPS - 

Royal India is a collection of three award-winning restaurants in San Diego. Their visual identities varied vastly between the three. They were not projecting a regal or quality tone to match the level of their cuisine.

The main goal with this project was to create a consistent and memorable visual system for Royal India to differentiate them from the crowd.

The biggest challenge was using restraint during the design process. It would have been easy to use specific color palettes, fonts, or visual symbols to repeatedly reference India, but it was important not to distract from the central logo or create a cliched look that would ultimately cheapen the brand.

My big aha moment occurred when my instructor suggested I think about ways the logo design could interact and adapt to different mediums. Because the mark represented a serving dome it could appear to open or lift up. This concept transformed the business cards into an interactive experience where the serving dome on the cover opened to reveal the contact information inside.

Then it was used in another way with the spicy scale, where chili peppers rest on the trays with the serving dome above them. When we consider logos as more than just flat icons on 2D planes, we open up the creative possibilities across media.

My most important take-away from this project was that choosing and designing relevant and unique touch-points is key to a strong brand system. For Royal India, it made sense to create a menu and takeout stickers because those are key features of the dining experience.

I learned that a logo can be applied to a mug, shirt, or pen, but those items may not be memorable or relevant. If used in a portfolio, these types of applications may be viewed as filler and distract from the strong creative thinking shown by the rest of the project.

Selecting relevant and impactful touch-points to showcase and tailoring them to fit the context were key. 

- Brooke Hugus

The next time you start a design project, save your work as you go so that you can tell the bigger story. An effective design process presentation will pay off for you in the long run. 

AUTHOR: Gina Greco is the Director of Operations and Programs at San Diego Portfolio Studio and a Recruiter in the Technical and Creative industries.