Why I Do Portfolio Reviews

By Egotist / /

With Portfolio Review night coming up on Tuesday, I can’t help but remember the first time I showed my design work in a job interview.

It was an in-house designer position at a local software retail company, Software Plus. I was excited personally because this was the place I would go and buy video games for my PC. Needless to say, this was long time ago.

I showed up in a suit and had a black plastic binder filled with color print-outs of bad anime-style video game art (which was basically a bunch of drawing of dudes with guns), and a few logos that I made for friends video game fan websites. The whole portfolio was printed the night before at Kinkos

Of course, it went horrible. The very nice person who was interviewing me kindly said that my work was great (no it wasn’t), but it really wasn’t focused on business communications. They were looking for someone that could help assemble printed catalogs, create ads, and make retail signage.

The interview was only around 30 minutes, but it seems to awkwardly drag on forever.
I got a call the next day letting me know I didn’t get the job. Shocker. At the time, I had no professional connections, and besides my encouraging friends, I didn’t have any peers to bounce my work off of.

Lucky I became friends with a graphic designer named Jim Murphy, who helped shape my work into something more appropriate and commercially viable.

So every year, I try to do portfolio reviews for young designers whenever I’m asked. The latest is for the AAF Ad Club St. Louis on Tuesday 4/25 at Atomicdust. So far there are about 20 people signed up, but there’s plenty of room for more. We also have some really great professionals hanging out and giving advice.

I always want to show that St. Louis is a great place for creative people to have a career. Whether it’s design, photography, writing, digital, or whatever is next, there is a bunch of people here rooting for you and wanting to help make it happen.

So there’s my first portfolio review story. What’s yours? How did it go?
Leave it in the comments, if you dare.

See you Tuesday. https://adclubstl.org/events/stlportfolionight/
(I leave you with a piece from my original portfolio, a burning Wu-Tang Clan logo from 1997.)”


Mike Spakowski is an enthusiastic young man and spends his days at Atomicdust.