Check out some great work from Luca Casini.
What kinds of portfolios get your attention these days? What brings in an industrial designer for an interview?
Certainly the objects in the portfolio, the style, and its presentation. It should emphasize the fundamental design skills like personal taste, proportions, sensibility, CAD, and the layout know-how. Every day we receive many CVs, and it’s very important for the applicants to give an immediate good impression, so allow me to share with you some practical advice.
Should they use a PDF or .doc file for their CVs? If they’re using a PDF file the recruiter will know that the CV probably will contain not just text, and that probably it will be visually more interesting. I personally prefer receiving PDF files. When naming the file remember to include your name, for example: “John-Smith-CV.” We receive so many files named just “CV.” Normally we download the document in a general CV folder and if it doesn’t have a name we need to add it manually, or we forget to change it and risk losing the file. So the name association between the e-mail and attachment is very important.
Next, do not send heavy attachments. Design studios don’t like receiving heavy files. Keep the attachments to 3 MB maximum. We often receive portfolios from 10 to 15 MB. Designers should know that receiving 10 to 20 files a day of this kind could create problems.
It is common to receive CVs and portfolios together; this is good considering that design studios can have a complete idea of the designer’s skills, but often it is not necessary. It is enough to send just some nice images, just the best three to four images in order to leave a right impression, then on request more material can be added. Most of the studios hire junior designers first to assist in 3D or 2D CAD or graphic design of the presentations—then it will be a natural process to get involved in more creative phases after a certain time—so “concepts” aside, it is very important to show images that can emphasize these technical skills together with indication of the personal style.
Avoid sending the complete history of your work and definitely do not send all of your personal new concepts and ideas. Sending just a couple of representative images: a rendering, a 3D wireframe, a sketch, a graphic or illustration layout, included with the CV is a good choice.
[ … ]
What do you think of showing work that’s not industrial design in a portfolio? Things like art, photography, hobbies, etc.?
Initially, I think it would be better to send a short portfolio with few beautiful images, I mean a really great selection of industrial design products. Then, it would be good to indicate in the correspondence the possibility of sending a “complete portfolio” on request in which more subjects, such as the non-industrial design works, could be included.
What characteristics or qualities are necessary to be a successful industrial designer?
An industrial designer should understand and be able to consider a multitude of aspects: from trends and needs in various target markets, marketing basics, production technologies and processes, material knowledge, to logistics and transportation issues. Then, of course, all this knowledge should be used and translated in a winning design proposal where ideas and style are represented with a good graphic layout and with reliable 3D models supporting a perfect presentation to the client, and with the right tools, to let him easily proceed to the engineering and production phases. The other aspect, once the portfolio of products has the right quality, is the personal promotion of the work done, to communicate in the best way possible your work to the companies and media.
[ … ]
What motivated you to open your own design studio?
It was a passion I had since I was a kid. I then pursued artistic studies, marketing studies, and architecture and design studies, to follow my desire to create objects of any kind.
How do you manage the non-design aspects of running a studio?
I don’t know yet, I have to improve! Because my time is dedicated to design aspects of the business, this part is certainly less than 50% of my activity.
If you were just starting out now, what advice would you give yourself?
Move to the right place, where you think it would be easier to develop and grow with your job, and the same advice that I gave myself in the past: think different and don’t do the same work that everybody else is doing.
[ … ]