The ReCycle Method: review, rethink, recreate

Since I currently don’t have a job or internship in the field, I try to go to great lengths to keep my creative mind in shape. But while doing so, I have to do the same to my portfolio.  Unemployed recent grads should use the reCycle method when they are revising their pieces in their portfolio.

What is the ReCycle method?

A new academic term. Ha. No. This is actually just a term that I use whenever I’m editing my portfolio pieces. But it’s not just a one step process. It’s something that I learned to perform during my undergrad.

Review: Review your portfolio pieces. Many times in review portfolio pieces don’t seem as impressive as they did the first time. Now is the time to be your own critic and decide what are the best pieces. What piece(s) are actually going to impress an interviewer? At second glance, does the piece display your strengths? Will it help you gain a client? Having a weak piece in your portfolio could be the difference between receiving a job and getting passed over.

Rethink: This step is actually very closely linked with the last step. While reviewing your portfolio, make sure to take the time to start evaluate whether the design can be reworked by eliminating or manipulating a few attributes. Only if it is absolutely necessary start over from scratch. Even though some pieces may not be very impressive, minor tweaks like hierachy  of type, color, etc. Always keep the original copy. Sometimes it’s nice to see the improvement over time. Now it’s time to sketch and create thumbnails.

Recreate: Now it’s time to head back to computer. Pull out those A/V headphones and cue up your most inspiring mix. Find the old file and save it under a new name. Glance at your thumbnails every now and again. And let your mind run the the fields hand in hand with your design program.

Repeat.: Somewhere down the line whether it be a year from now or five years down the road, you should repeat this cycle. In the industry, portfolios should consist of your most recent pieces. They could be old pieces reworked. Of course you will want to start new pieces, but don’t forget about the old ones. Because you want the portfolio to flow together when someone is looking at it. Stale pieces could cause a client or a interviewer to not hire you.

Does anyone else go through a process like this? How often? Is there anything that I missed?

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