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Mastering the Portfolio Struggle: Tips for Designers


Perfectionism Trap

Designers often grapple with an elusive goal—perfectionism. They aim for flawless designs, striving to create visuals that impress at every glance. However, this pursuit becomes a double-edged sword. The more they fine-tune their work, the tougher it gets to reach a point where they can confidently say, "It's finished!"

Take UX designers, for instance. They're continuously refining their projects. They go through rounds of testing, tweak elements repeatedly, and iterate endlessly. They're driven by the desire to offer users the best possible experience, leading to a perpetual cycle of adjustments and enhancements.

Similarly, brand identity designers pour their hearts into every detail of their logos and visuals. Each curve, color, or font choice is scrutinized meticulously. Their dedication to perfecting every aspect of the brand's visual representation often translates into an exhaustive and meticulous process of crafting and re-crafting, seeking that elusive state of flawlessness.


Why Can’t Most Designers Finish their portfolios?

Infinite Options: Designers face a sea of choices. It's akin to walking into a candy store with endless options. There's a constant influx of new ideas, fonts, color schemes, and design elements available. This abundance can overwhelm designers, leaving them in a dilemma about which option would be the most suitable and compelling. The quest for the perfect choice among these infinite options can prolong the decision-making process, leading to hesitation and delays in finalizing their portfolios.

Fear of Judgment: Criticism is a daunting prospect for designers. They worry that if their portfolio isn't flawlessly polished, it might not make the desired impact on clients or employers. This fear of falling short of expectations often holds them back from concluding their portfolio projects. The fear of not meeting the perceived standards can result in continuous revisions or hesitancy to consider their work 'complete.'

Time Dilemma: Designers lead busy professional lives, frequently managing multiple projects simultaneously. Juggling deadlines, client meetings, and new assignments leaves little time to focus on refining their portfolios. The time constraints become a significant hurdle in dedicating the necessary attention and effort to perfecting their portfolios amidst the pressing demands of ongoing projects. This time dilemma often results in portfolios taking a back seat and remaining unfinished.


How to Overcome the Struggle

Set Clear Goals: Understanding the main objective of your portfolio is crucial. For instance, a UX designer might aim to showcase their problem-solving skills, while a brand identity designer might focus on highlighting their unique visual style. Determining this purpose guides the content and structure of your portfolio.

Create a Plan: Break down the portfolio creation process into smaller, manageable tasks. Assign specific deadlines to each section, like dedicating a week for logo designs or user interface mockups. This organized approach helps in tackling the portfolio step by step.

Limit Choices: Avoid drowning in options by limiting choices. Focus on a few fonts, color palettes, or project examples that best represent your skills and design style. By curating your selections, you can streamline decision-making and prevent overwhelming yourself with too many alternatives.

Embrace Imperfection: Pursue Progress, Not Perfection. Accepting that perfection is unattainable is vital. Instead, consider your portfolio as a snapshot of your growth journey. Understand that completed work, even with imperfections, demonstrates your progress and abilities effectively.

Seek Feedback: Don't hesitate to seek feedback from peers, mentors, or online communities. Constructive criticism can be immensely beneficial, providing insights and perspectives that guide improvements in your portfolio. Embrace feedback as a means of refining your work.

Time Management: Allocate dedicated time for your portfolio regularly, even if it's just an hour each day. Consistency is key to progress. By setting aside specific slots in your schedule, you ensure continuous progress toward completing your portfolio. By setting clear objectives, creating a structured plan, curating choices, accepting imperfections, seeking guidance, and managing time effectively, designers can navigate the challenges and successfully complete their design portfolios.


Designers, often struggle to finish their portfolios due to perfectionism, fear of judgment, and time constraints. By setting clear goals, creating a plan, limiting choices, embracing imperfections, seeking feedback, and managing time effectively, designers can overcome this struggle. Remember, a completed portfolio, even if not flawless, speaks volumes about your skills and commitment to growth.

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