…For your Art.
I learned this many years ago, when I was first shopping my portfolio around to local agencies. I knew that I was green; I had no ‘real-world’ experience yet. In fact, I was so green I was probably glowing like kryptonite. I had excuses prepared for every single one of my pieces. I very likely cringed in each interview, as the pages in my portfolio were turned. I knew that these were Art School projects instead of work that demonstrated a tangible, quantifiable function, or proven success.
(Above: Microfilm from my first portfolio, submitted to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh during my senior year of high school, 1988. Thanks to my excellent art teacher, Mrs.Conidi)
I know better now. Clients and prospective employers want to see how your work has helped a company accomplish specific goals. It’s not enough to impress them with your keen layout, typography and illustration skills. They need to understand how your work helped your previous client succeed. What sort of ROI did that client experience? How will the experience you gained from previous designs benefit the prospective client? If you’re fresh out of Art School, talk instead a little more about the process in your designs, the methods you practiced and the reasons behind your design decisions. That’ll help fill in the blanks, so to speak.
One thing that won’t change, as you gain experience and expertise. Keep letting clients know that you care deeply about the work that you do, and never point out your flaws, whether perceived or real. At the end of the day, we’re artists who should never make excuses for our art.