Portfolio is a visual or/and auditory compilation of an individual’s work. It is the term given to the collection of artistic or creative work produced by an artist or a designer serving the purpose of showcasing their creative and/or technical aptitude, or other skills that are relevant to their field of work. Supporting no fixed formats, a portfolio can be conceptualised in any way, whether digital or tactile, large or small, heavy or light, and loose or bound. What determines its way of presentation is the kind of work, intention of making the portfolio and its target viewer. Just like how the story becomes the subject-matter of a literary fiction, or the plot for a movie, the work becomes the protagonist or primary subject-matter of a portfolio; the efficient presentation of which complement and augments the viewing experience.
The creative identity of every individual is different and each independent work celebrates the cognitive, interpretational and responsive approaches of the maker. As a portfolio is a compilation of their work, its content differs from each individual, and the way it’s presented through its layout and display formats is reflective of the artistic personality of the creator. Creativity celebrates individuality, and as design aims to provide innovative approaches to new or existing methods of living, the portfolio of a designer shows their individual way of reacting and responding to problems. The portfolio of a design aspirant hence provides the viewer with a display of their creative and critical thinking skills, their ability to provide solutions, as well as their technical skills in the realisation and execution of their creative vision. Along with this, one is able to identify the analytical, logical and reasoning ability of the individual by means of understanding what works they have chosen to present in their portfolio as well as their ability to present it in a way that is efficient and easy to navigate for the viewer.
A portfolio provides a glimpse into how an individual approaches design practice, and it enables the viewer to identify the stage they are currently at. Based on the reason for making a portfolio, its presentation to a college for admission for instance will enable the admission committee to decide if the student has the potential, creative aptitude and skill in progressing and benefitting from their education. In the case of its presentation for work, an employer will be able to identify if the individual’s design practice is aligned with the work that is being carried out at their organisation, or if they have the relevant skills to contribute to their functioning. A portfolio can also serve the purpose of just showing a synopsis into the creative process of a designer, for familiarising anyone with their current design approaches. Portfolio development and making therefore supports an explorative and experimental way to the presentation of a designer’s work, and what makes it efficient is its effective, concise and direct narration of the work. Understanding and acknowledging the importance and role of a portfolio, all the courses at the JD Institute of Fashion Technology incorporate its making and exploration, instilling in the student its purpose and enabling the development of their presentation skills.