Beat OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Design)

Updating Your Portfolio Should Be a Necessary, But Not Overwhelming, Task

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Jeanette Guardiola
Jeanette Guardiola
During employment lulls and in between jobs, most creatives take on the task of adjusting their portfolios. Although it may not always be the most desirable task, it is imperative in trying to keep ahead of the curve.

Of course, it can easily become daunting, as you obsess over details, art work, type and the like. And while your portfolio should always be a work in progress, we often get consumed by it, staying up late, tweaking, tweaking and more tweaking. Sometimes it seems that just as you're done (printing or uploading) there is something else to adjust. It's become habit, and while the benefits are obvious, there are some disadvantages to being this way.

For instance, it can become easy to feel that your work is inadequate or not up to standard (read: your own standard). As a result, you will avoid going to portfolio reviews or meeting certain people because you feel that you can do better than what you have to show. What comes to mind immediately are the countless portfolios I've seen, and along with them disclaimers about how this needs to be fixed or how that will be taken out.

There may not be a quick fix to the problem, but I have found that if you limit yourself to a certain amount of time in which you work on your portfolio, or certain projects, it gives you structure that can help make you feel like you are making substantial progress. Also, getting out of the house and getting together with friends could help you get the fresh perspective you may need.

Another tidbit, which we all know but may not always follow, is not to belittle your work in any way (even if you think it may need a lot of work), because this is damaging to your confidence as a creative. Lastly, attend those networking events and meetings with people, because expanding your network is just as important as your portfolio; once you meet people you could always keep them in the loop as you update your work.

Jeanette Guardiola is a freelance art director for a Hispanic ad agency in lower Manhattan. She is also a recent grad of the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she received a B.F.A in advertising design and an A.A.S in communication design. Her professional experience ranges from working in creative departments at ad agencies such as Leo Burnett and Y&R to tutoring college students in Adobe CS3 and doing production design.
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