Why designers should 'fake it til you make it'

Creative director and founder of Snask Fredrik Öst reveals how you can make the most of your portfolio.

Fake it til you make it

Snask is an internationally renowned creative agency

Thinking about revamping your design portfolio? It's always sensible to keep it up-to-date, as well as polish a few projects whenever you find the time – but here's some advice that will hopefully help you make it even better.

We want to start off by saying that we don't encourage you to lie about your work. No one likes an outright liar. But by 'fake it til you make it', we mean that you can choose to add things, or take away parts that aren't beneficial. For example, you might decide to take away a project that the client fucked up because their partner loves green.

You can also spend a few hours making an old project better. Afer all, it's the portfolio you're revamping, so the client can no longer interfere with your initial ambition. You can also add elements that weren't there from the beginning, but that you think would have increased the value to the client.

Don't start adding things just for the hell of it. It's awful when designers have a shitty-looking brand on stationery, a website, a car, a football, a coffee mug, a T-shirt – and so on, and on. If the design is shit, adding more units will only make it worse.


Snask worship unconventional ideas and like to challenge the industry

The most important thing in your revamping process will be actually to revamp the design, you can then choose to add or take away units as a secondary measure. Also, it's much nicer actually to produce real 'new' units than simply Photoshopping them in.

Another part of a successful portfolio that many creatives forget is the text. This is crucial to give viewers a clear idea of the project, and the greatness of your ideas for it. Make sure you have clear explanatory text about the background of the project, then write what your solution was and how it benefited the project in the end.

When all of this is done, you'll also realise that perhaps you should think about your projects as future portfolio cases while you're working on them. Encourage your client to produce more units, since they will add a lot of value to your case. Just don't go nuts and have them produce units they don't need.

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts magazine issue 251.


Fredrik Öst is the Creative Director and Founder of Snask, a creative agency that prizes unusual ideas and real emotions, and see the old conservative world as the biggest enemy.