You Do You
Last week, a student of mine asked for some creative advice. I scanned my brain for thoughts on ideation, process, partnerships and landing a job. And the only truly valuable advice I can give right now about being creative and putting together a portfolio is “Do the kind of work you want to be doing.”
But the work in your portfolio should reflect the kind of work you want to do because that’s the kind of work you’re going to get. I’ve thought for a long time about Nick Felton and what he was doing before he made annual reports. And then he created something which is now the basis for his entire career now (I assume). Everything he speaks about or travels to work for is personal data visualization and Quantified Self. JJ Abrams. Shepard Fairey. The people who are most known for their own style and a single category and are working the hardest have carved a niche out for themselves and making work for themselves, really, not anyone else.
The kind of work you want to be doing for the rest of your career is the kind of work you need to start doing now. And better on you if you can articulate what kind of work that is. Define it for yourself so you can brand yourself as that kind of creator, and define it for yourself so you can be picky about the work that you look for and the work that comes in. Be picky. What’s the kind of work you want to put in your portfolio? Because that’s the kind of work you’re going to get.