Check out some great lectures from Anne Marie Boutin.
What would you say are the key ingredients of an exceptional industrial design portfolio?
For a designer an exceptional portfolio must include a great diversity of projects realized in different contexts: for companies of different size, from different sectors, with different kinds of briefs, using different materials and processes, in different marketing environments. But also personal projects without clients. This portfolio will show different methodologies that take into account the needs and desires of consumers, and if possible, that involve them in the innovation process. It must also show the capacity to work at different levels of the innovation process. In general, exceptional portfolios present awarded projects.
For a company a good portfolio is the result of a good design management policy. In many cases this means that design is considered at a strategic level (existence of a vice president of design) and more, as a core competence of the company. These companies communicate about their design as a part of their identity. In general, they received awards that they also publicize.
What characteristics or qualities are necessary to be a successful industrial designer?
Beyond creativity and capacity of shaping concepts, ideas, projects, and scenarios, the main qualities of a designer are curiosity, capacity to listen to people, to understand them, to observe them. The capacity to work in teams with other disciplines is vital. A good designer is not the person who brings ideas to other people; he/she is the person who makes the whole team or company more creative.
How can aspiring designers promote themselves and their work more effectively?
Many ways can do it. Being involved in group projects with a focus on a specific theme in order to bring his or her own fresh ideas and to explore, share it with people. Showing his or her own way of seeing things through the work. This can be done by taking part in competitions, design awards, etc. Also, targeting their connections and networking at specialized exhibitions and conferences.
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What would be the one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring industrial designer or somebody who has just graduated and is trying to break into the industry?
I would suggest for him or her to be modest. To listen to people and ask them questions before showing the quality of their portfolio. To show the diversity of their approach and their capacity to work on very different projects.
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