If you're a new graduate looking for a job, or even a seasoned designer looking for a new challenge, having an amazing design portfolio is essential. However, employers are also looking for a personality that will slot in and work well with the team dynamic. We asked leading creatives at top design studios – the people who you might aim to be hired by, if you're good – to share what they look for in potential candidates.
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01. High energy
“Energy and enthusiasm is important,” says Tim Beard, a partner at London creative consultancy Bibliothèque. “Execution skills are always great to have, but other talents come first. We always want to see something that challenges us, or pushes us in a new direction. We don’t want to see guidelines and exclusion zones.”
“We look at who juniors are, as much as their work,” says Aporva Baxi, co-founder and executive creative director of London branding agency DixonBaxi. “We look for passion, energy and a positive attitude; a drive to want to learn, and work hard, to develop their craft. We’re interested in their influences, and what they care about from a design point of view. It reveals a lot about who they are and how they might fit into our team. Chemistry is a big thing.”
“In a portfolio, we look for flair, originality and a distinct point of view,” adds Baxi. “With the tools designers have today, it’s almost too easy to make things look good on the surface. But it’s much harder to express a simple idea and develop a design or brand with a narrative that feels unique and surprising.”
04. Team player
“We generally know by about lunchtime on an intern’s first day if they’re any good,” says Alan Dye, before going on to qualify that statement: “They have talent, they’re a people person and they get on well with the team. Believe me, if you want to get on at NB Studio, then you need to be bloody friendly, a great team player and be very, very talented.”
05. Wow factor
“With graduates, and with all creative recruitment really, we’re just looking for great ideas that are well executed,” says Ben Brears of Robot Food. “It sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. We just want to be wowed.”
This article was originally published in Computer Arts, the world's best-selling design magazine. Buy issue 294 or subscribe.