Behance Portfolio Review Takeaways

We had about 15-20 people at our Behance event, which was enough to make it awesome and few enough for there to be an intimate, open dialogue between all of us. Although there were many insights brought to light by our speaker, Josh Pearson, a lot of the learning and growth happened in our smaller break out groups. We’ve had some time to soak in the information, think about it, and digest the lessons we came across this past Saturday, and here are a few key takeaways for those of you who couldn’t make it out.

“Start out by doing any work, then filter from there.”

Do As Much Work As Possible

Josh told us about his portfolio when he first started out and how it was a mash up of everything he had ever done. Ultimately, this mix of work and skill landed him is first job, which as he told us, was where he learned a pretty important lesson: when you’re building your portfolio, do any work that you can and as much as you can. Yes, you may be trying to position yourself as an illustrator, or a designer, or writer, or photographer, but at the end of the day, what you’re really trying to sell yourself as is a creative thinker with the skills necessary to offer solutions to people. Josh told us that his beginning portfolio as a collective showed off his creative thinking way more than any one piece could, which is why you should include those sketches that you have, or those illustrations that don’t quite fit with the design work that you want to be doing. Start out by doing any work, then filter from there.

Seek Opportunity

This is a big one, and something that we’ve heard from Josh before when we interviewed Pep Rally Inc as a whole. This lesson piggybacks well off of the first, because doing as much work as you possibly can is one of those ways to seize and create opportunities for yourself, instead of waiting for them to come to you. Josh told us about how he got the creative director at his first job to look at his portfolio before he started working there: he called them so frequently that the receptionists knew him by name. And when he was brought in for a tour of the agency, he flat out asked the CD to look at his book. Of course, know your boundaries, but don’t be afraid to ask someone to look at something, or to give you feed back, or even for an interview. What’s the cliche? Oh yeah, if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

Relationships Are Key

Potentially the biggest takeaway from the event, Josh and a few others stressed this point. Josh talked about various kinds of relationships from the one you have with yourself, to the one you share with your coworkers and how each of them can be used to benefit everyone. This lesson was so important from Saturday’s event because it ties into nearly every other talking point that we discussed. Building relationships with the people around you can help you produce extraordinary work. So you go from doing any work, to doing incredible work, just by collaborating. Forming bonds with other people is also another way for you to seize opportunity when it arises because those people that you spend time with, are the people who will help you get to where you want to go, directly or indirectly. Use the relationships with the people you know to build yourself up, but also be a person who helps build others.

Top Three

Of course there were many, many other lessons and takeaways from our Behance Portfolio review, some in our talk, some in smaller groups, but these are just a few of the more important ones that we pulled out of it. A huge thanks to everyone who came and to the people who showed their work to everyone; we’re stoked to have all of you out to our next event! Thanks for reading and keeping up with us. Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedinDribbble, and now Behance for some of our best practices, free wallpapers, resources and spec work.