Check out some great work from Masamichi Udagawa and Sigi Moeslinger.
AH: What sparked your interest in design?
MU: In my early teen years, I was fascinated by weapons: especially how different approaches can be taken by competing countries in shaping the hardware: battleships, fighter planes, tanks, etc. There, I learned about the interesting relationship between function and form as well as various production techniques and forms. More importantly, I learned that seemingly rational weapon design is heavily influenced by different cultures and design philosophies.
SM: Growing up I was surrounded by lots of old—or pretending to be old—things in our home. My parents didn’t like anything that wasn’t at least 80 years old, or looked the part. To me that didn’t make sense. I wanted to live with objects of my time and I wanted to make things and make them better. I became quite interested in contemporary furniture, appliances, and cars. I didn’t even know about industrial design, and when I found out about it, I knew this was what I wanted to do.
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AH: If you were hiring additional industrial designers to your studio, what kinds of portfolios would get your attention? What would bring a potential candidate in for an interview?
SM: We love to see a nice portfolio from which we can imagine the person’s sensitivity, compatible personality, and good work ethic. A good portfolio makes us interested in meeting with the person behind it and learning more about this person.
AH: Has there been a student or junior-level industrial design portfolio that you’ve seen recently that really stood out? What made this particular portfolio successful in your eyes?
SM: Yes. The student sent us a link to his portfolio website, which had a simple and clean design and that put an overview of his work right upfront. The work was diverse and instantly communicated a technical proficiency and an aesthetic sensibility that resonated with us. It made us want to see more.
AH: If an industrial design student came to you looking for advice on how to prepare their portfolio to get an internship or a job, what would you tell them to do? What should be in their portfolio?
SM: Edit your work. It is not about quantity, but quality. We don’t need to see all the projects you have ever done; we want to see the good ones. Showing the project process is good to demonstrate how you went about to achieve the final result, but not necessary for each project. Then, the portfolio should have a clean layout and design, well organized that communicates the projects in a concise manner. Very often we see product design portfolios with bad graphic design. That really hurts the work.
AH: What are some common mistakes you see students or junior designers make in their portfolios?
SM: Sometimes students think they have to do something “special”with their portfolio to stand out. They elaborately “package”their portfolio and most often it gets in the way of the work itself or requires us to make an extra effort to look through the portfolio. That can be a real turnoff. Good work should speak for itself, no need for gimmicks.
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