Independent Portfolio Project


You are a graphic designer creating and assembling work to go into your portfolio. In addition to the school projects you have already completed, you decide that you need to come up with a portfolio project that is different from the projects that other student portfolios will contain.

The design / concept might be:

  • something that your current portfolio lacks or is light on.
  • something that explores new software/media/or platform.

You will work with your design instructor to decide on a direction and develop research, mood boards, thumbnails, rough designs and final designs.

The final comprehensive design will need to simulate the final pieces as closely as possible.


Design Process:

  1. Assemble your current portfolio pieces and consult with your instructor.
  2. Determine if you need to add something missing from your work or do something in an entirely new direction.
  3. Research and collect examples of well designed pieces similar to your new project to clarify conclusions in design thinking.
  4. Think critically and problem solve.
  5. Communicate concept / composition using thumbnail sketches that ...
    • are fast and un-detailed
    • drawn in proportion to the dimensions of the finished piece
    • conveys an entirely separate or different creative concept
    • shows emphasis, balance, rhythm, unity
    • shows use of Gestalt principles: similarity, proximity, continuation, closure, figure/ground
    • conveys composition, sizing and position
    • shows that you can come up with more then one good idea
    • shows the relationship between graphic elements
    • shows general shapes of graphic elements
    • indicate photographic or illustrative imagery
    • are concept driven
  6. Submit a style board for each of your rough designs that...
    • shows thinking as it relates to the design principles
    • states the objective and your creative strategy
    • clearly shows quality and award winning industry examples
    • clearly shows creative usage of typography
    • clearly shows usage of a minimum of 3 design elements (ie: color, line, shape, texture, value, spatial depth)
    • has a visual hierarchy and is organized on a grid structure
  7. Communicate refined concept, detailed composition and typographic formatting of designs using tight roughs that...
    • work off of one of the previous thumbnail sketches
    • are drawn in proportion or actual size
    • convey type choice
    • convey type size, spacing and leading
    • indicate usage of color
    • convey photographic or illustrative imagery
    • are each an entirely different creative concept
    • are computer generated
  8. Develop creative design solutions that demonstrate effective use of the elements and principles of design by incorporating the elements into three rough designs.
  9. Develop / research copyright free illustrative or photographic images to incorporate into the rough designs.
  10. Deliver a digital comprehensive design...
    • that is printed out in gray scale to be marked up
    • is well crafted and presentable
    • shows visual hierarchy within the body text (usage of book, italics, bold, line / implied line, or shape for type reversal)
    • indicates usage of the design elements: line, shape, texture, value, spatial depth, and color
    • indicates usage of manual tracking, kerning and leading
    • has been spell checked
    • is as close to the finished printed piece as possible
  11. Be productive and use studio (class) time effectively by...
    • attending all class sessions
    • showing up with research materials
    • participating in concept development
    • using class time as an opportunity to get the job done
  12. Assess your work and make appropriate revisions by...
    • gaining peer feedback at the rough stage
    • gaining peer feedback at the digital comp stage
  13. Submit final design on or before the deadline date that indicates entry level graphic design by completing the list of items above.

Design Technology

  1. Create job folder(s) as instructed by your production manager.
  2. Prepare raster and vector images correctly for final product.
  3. Save all image files in an image folder within the job folder before placing them to ensure proper links.
  4. Create computer generated roughs.
  5. Create and package final files correctly.
  6. Prepare files correctly for print and/or non-print applications.
  7. Prepare pdf versions:
    • for print (x-1a)
    • for client presentation (smallest file size)


  1. Student examples
  2. Creative brief template
  3. Mood board template



  1. TBD


  1. TBD

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