(Correction, NYC National Portfolio Day is Sunday, November 18th!)
Parsons is excited to be hosting this year’s New York City National Portfolio Day on Sunday, November 18th at the Jacob K. Javits Center. National Portfolio Days are a great way to meet admission representatives, faculty, or alumni from the schools you are interested and get information about their programs and helpful feedback about your portfolio. (Just to clarify, this event is for prospective undergraduates – New York Graduate Portfolio Day has passed.)
If you’ve been to an NPD before, you already know that each school you visit will probably have different feedback and different expectations of what to bring. In general, about 15 pieces total is a good number. The main thing, though, is bringing pieces that are distinctly you – that show what you’re interested in making and how you execute your ideas.
We commissioned current Communication Design BFA student, Matt Boblet, to make the our rad NPD poster. Matt’s a tour guide in the Welcome Center and does quite a bit of freelance work. I caught up with him to ask him a few questions about his jobs.
How do you balance being a student and a practicing graphic designer?
The balance of being of being a student and practicing designer is definitely a juggling act. It’s not unusual for me to literally be occupied by a project (school or freelance) every hour of every day of a given week. Especially now that I’m taking the initiative of working on independent projects for my own sake. But I’ve never compromised one for the other.
How do you find your clients, and what sort of work do you usually do?
I’ve really never taken the time to pursue clients. Any freelance project I’ve got to work on, unless I’ve done something for free for a friend, is gotten through luck. It’s about 50% people walking into the Welcome Center when I’m working there and saying “Hi, I’ve come to Parsons to see if I could hire a student to do some design work for me” – to which I respond “look no further, it’s the man of your dreams.” The other 50% being word of mouth, friends and associates just spreading the word to potential clients who want young graphic designers to help them with a project.
Recently I’ve slowed down on doing freelance work, so that I could try to work with people I know (photographers, musicians, etc.) and try to work out some unique art direction concepts for the sake of my own experience and portfolio, because unfortunately, you usually don’t get much creative control when working with paid clients.
Do you have any advice for students attending portfolio days this year?
My advice for those students would be to not evaluate the projects they are doing by time and labor – if it feels like you’re investing way too much of yourself into a project then I feel like you’re doing it right, worrying about that is for when you’re an established professional, and from a technical standpoint to learn how to work with your hands, and embrace the Fine Arts. I come from the generation of designers who fetishized Adobe software and never touched a piece of paper once we got a hold of Photoshop, and to be honest it had limited me significantly in my first two years at design school, I’m only just now putting the computer away and approaching projects as a human being with hands.
-by Victoria O’Neill-