Evaluating Creative Portfolios

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I'm not a designer. How can I judge a person's design portfolio?

Evaluating Creative Portfolios

As a creative manager, even if you don't have a design background you may find yourself evaluating portfolios from designers, artists and art directors. Of course you can follow the time-honored "I know what I like" method, but it may be helpful to be a little more systematic.

Start by identifying the key skills needed to do the job you want done. Maybe you want an art director with experience in consumer products and print, or an artist with strong figure-drawing skills and experience working with technical printing requirements. Then ask yourself:

  • Does this portfolio demonstrate each of my required skills?
  • Does the portfolio itself work well as a selling tool?
  • Can the person answer questions about why he or she made specific choices in the portfolio work?
  • Does the work in the portfolio demonstrate a consistent level of quality?
  • Has this person worked with anyone I know in the industry who might be willing to offer a reference?
  • Can this person do work that resonates with the target audience for my product?



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