A first-generation entrepreneur, Dr. Jitin Chadha is the Founder Director of Indian Institute of Art and Design and Indian School of Business and Finance. Dr. Chadha was awarded his Doctorate in Finance in 2011, in a grand ceremony chaired by the HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal and Prof. Dinesh Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University.
Social Media is a very vibrant and visual medium, considered now as the new norm that can be optimized to your advantage to source good projects and to get noticed. You want to make sure you present yourself such that you come across as a seasoned professional. Here are some pointers:
1. Enhance your Visibility Quotient
As a designer in any discipline – be it graphic, interior, communication, product, web, or fashion etc. your online portfolio is the summary of your capabilities. It offers the prospective client a window into your mind, your imagination and your worldview. Make sure they get to see it from the best possible angle. How can you do that? Ensure that you have your portfolio on an excellent platform for, e.g. Deviant Art, Behance, Coroflot, Adobe Creative Space, Issuu etc. Showcase your creativity by using hashtags and labelling your work under several category heads to enhance visibility.
2. Focus on Displaying Your Versatility
Your portfolio should be a curation of your best work, but you also need to showcase the breadth and range of your versatility as a designer. You may have done a brilliant piece of designing for a smaller brand name. Go right ahead and include such projects that display your versatility and breadth as a designer. Also, do walk the viewer through the process of creation with the WIP (work in progress) pictures. A good portfolio is a visual treat and must take the viewer through all the different aspects of your repertoire. They would love to know ‘how the idea germinated in your mind,’ ‘what worked for your project,’ ‘what didn’t work,’ and ‘how you finally fixed it.’ Designers are known to be problem solvers, and an innovative way of addressing the situation is always an eye-catcher.
3. Follow Favourite Brands and Remain Updated with the Latest Trends
Keep abreast with the latest developments and trends and incorporate them into your designing elements. Follow your favourite brands and designers to know what are the current trends and the latest innovations. This will help you think beyond confining parameters and discover something new to add to your work. Improve your network links to external sources by tagging designer-friends who have a lot of following, so that your work gets noticed by more and more people. There are niche networking sites for every segment and style of designing. Use social media platforms to draw inspiration from different sources. Expose yourself to what students from different parts of the world are ideating and creating. It will influence the individualistic interpretation of your work. Pitch for originality. Unconventional ideas are the buzzword in the current design landscape and community.
4. Learn New Skills and Get Feedback from Experts in the Area
Solicit Feedback from veterans and established designers in your discipline of designing. You can use the challenges set out by the many design firms on Facebook and ‘Linkedin’ to compete and start making a name for yourselves. You can also pick up projects online and gain work experience which you can then display in your portfolio. Inject life-blood into your online website by introducing a blog. The ongoing pandemic has placed time in your hands. The lockdown period can be channelized wonderfully by enrolling in online sessions as per your own schedule. You have the flexibility of attending as many or as few classes as you can assimilate from the comfort of your home. There are a plethora of possibilities for a design student if only he chooses to focus on options and inculcates a ‘can do’ attitude.
5. Your Portfolio is Your Calling Card
Your portfolio must reflect your personality, your worldview, your thought process, experimentations, interpretations and innovations. One look at your portfolio and the viewer starts to subconsciously conceptualize the kind of work he/she can expect from you. You need to be able to visually convey the value adds that you will bring to the project. An in-depth portfolio with a range of different projects, creatively depicted, will go a long way to make you stand out as a designer. Your portfolio must be kept updated always. You never know when an opportunity will come your way.
You need to focus on not only the content of the portfolio but also on how you are going to exhibit your portfolio on social media. Social media has completely replaced traditional forms of marketing, and it is the place where the business is being done and promoted. Make sure you leverage this medium to the utmost to connect with key clients to either source projects or procure an employment opportunity.