14 May 2017
Author Spotlight: Grace Domecus & Her Design Portfolio
We interviewed San Francisco design student Grace Domecus, who made a portfolio book we really loved. Her project conveyed her personality, skills, and style so well, we asked her to talk a little about her book.
What kind of book did you make? How did you decide on size and paper type?
I made a portfolio book for all the projects that I have done in the past year of school. I picked 8×10 in. because it was big enough that my work had room to be displayed, but also small enough that it could fit into a purse or backpack. I wanted it to be portable enough for interviews or want to transport it. I chose the ProLine uncoated paper for the weight—having a paper that is on the thicker end makes your book feel more luxurious. Also, if you don’t have a large amount of projects in your portfolio, a thicker paper can make your book feel bigger.
What were you trying to communicate with your portfolio? Why was making a book a good fit for the task?
For my portfolio, I wanted to both communicate my design skills and my design aesthetic. Making a book was the best fit because it allowed me to design my portfolio pages and cover myself, as opposed to some of the popular portfolio cases. Portfolio cases allow you to design your pages, but the covers are often plain (or can be customized for a high price). Being a design student, I did not want to drop a lot of money on a portfolio, but I still wanted to have something eye-catching. Creating a book was not only the more affordable option, but it also allowed me to create an attention-grabbing cover so I could stand out in interviews and on portfolio days.
Why did you find that a book is a useful branding piece for design and art students?
When you are a student in design or art, your work is your whole focus and often becomes your identity. So, having a place where all your work is collected allows you to give anyone a glimpse into yourself and your designs. Also, when you graduate and enter the work force, the ability to brand yourself and your work in a book allows you to be competitive in a field where companies are sent a massive number of portfolios. A book is helpful because you can print a high-quality, larger book to bring to interviews, and print smaller high-quality trade book to leave behind or send out.
What was the book creation process like for you?
The book creation process for me was very different from anything I had done before. My typical projects I had done up to this point were assigned to me, and I had to design under pretty strict parameters. Creating my portfolio was the first time I was doing a project for myself, and it was really open to whatever I wanted it to be. I enjoyed getting to go through all my work from the year, polishing it up and photographing each piece for the book. Through the whole process, I got to work on a larger scale scale project with learning about my own design aesthetic and how I wanted myself to be presented to the world.
Which tool did you use to create your book?
I used the Blurb plugin for Adobe InDesign to create my book. I have experience working in the software as a design student, so using the tool was very natural. The plugin allowed me to easily create a template for my book, complete my usual design process, and upload to the Blurb site. InDesign was perfect for this project because it allowed me to create templates for the different pages I was going to use, and then populate those templates.
What do you plan to do with your portfolio?
I am hoping to use my book as a physical piece to bring to interviews for grad schools and future jobs. Having that physical piece both gives the interviewer something to look at, and it shows that I mean business. Then, when I later update my portfolio to include current work, older versions will be used to show my design evolution.
We’re glad Grace took the time to share with us, and we wish her the best of luck in her next steps as a designer! Have any tips for creating a portfolio? Share them in the comments below!
Jessica is writer, teacher, and photographer who makes her mark with empty coffee cups, ink spills, and red lipstick. She’s passionate about creativity, people, and the written word. She believes anything worth doing is worth doing beautifully. When not chasing the perfect sentence, she’s stalking Bay Area beauty camera in-hand, amazed and grateful that she gets to call San Francisco her home.