As a communication designer or developer (or both), your portfolio is your calling card. It is the first thing potential clients or employers want to see, to find out what you can do, why you do what you do, and how you do what you do (for more on how to prepare your portfolio for job hunting, see Why Your Design Portfolio Should Emphasize Process, Not Just Content).
Being a dynamic job seeker does not just mean approaching the mission with energy and enthusiasm. Those qualities are important! But there is a specific, scientific meaning to being a dynamic as opposed to a passive job hunter.
In today’s world, job seekers and employers connect through online job boards and networks. Job boards and online job networks overlap but are not the same thing, and a proactive (as opposed to sit-around-and-hope) approach to job hunting requires understanding the difference and the relationship. Let’s break that down.
Let’s start this exploration of job hunting networking with some good news for coding and design students: If you are entering the job market with coding or communication design skills (or both), you are entering at the right time with the right skills.
Once you have assembled your design portfolio content, the remaining piece of the puzzle is to find a place to post it for review online.
Let’s quickly run through the main components you need for your portfolio.
Your design portfolio and your resume are a team. Together, they introduce you to potential employers and clients.
If a potential employer or client is looking at your design portfolio, they saw or heard something that made them want to examine your work and learn more about you.
The foundation of a good design portfolio is good projects, nicely displayed. But that’s not enough. Employers and clients want to know how you created those projects, what skills they demonstrate, and what those projects reveal about you.
As a designer at any level, your portfolio is a most valuable asset. It represents what you can do, the methods you can apply to implement stakeholder objectives, your unique style and approach, and your accomplishments.
When designing digital products such as websites and apps. there are many apps to choose from. Which one is right for you? In this article we’ll talk about Adobe XD, Sketch, Figma, and Adobe Photoshop.
XD is the newest of these apps, and Adobe is putting a lot of effort into developing it quickly. Updates are released every 1–2 months, and XD has come a long way since the first beta versions.
XD aims to be the all-in-one solution for UX/UI design from wireframes to visual design, visual prototyping, voice prototyping, animation, and more. Despite XD being a relatively young app, it has some features (such as voice prototyping and repeat grid) that are not found in its competitors. While it is more advanced in some ways, it does lack some essential features. For example, there is no color management so on Display P3 monitors (like iMacs and Mac laptops use) the colors are not accurate, you can’t add multiple fills/strokes, and text styles are merely a find/change for formatting, just to name a few. Not having true styles severely limits their use because you’ll accidentally change things you didn’t intend to. There are no graphic/object styles, and exporting features are poorly implemented. Keep in mind that each app in this list has pros and cons, so none of them are perfect (Sketch and Figma also have their own set of limitations with styles for example).
Because XD came later to the game, it can open up Sketch, Photoshop, and Illustrator files and convert them into fully editable XD files. This makes it easier to switch to XD from those other apps. Being an Adobe app, it also integrates better, allowing you to edit photos in Photoshop and send an XD file to After Effects (if you need something beyond the animations you can create within XD).
XD has gained enough features that designers and companies are now starting to use it. Especially on small projects, some of the missing/poorly implemented features won't be much of an issue. However on larger projects, those limitations might become a bigger issue. Adobe has been rapidly fixing things and adding features, so we’re seeing more and more people choosing Adobe XD.
Overall XD is quick and easy to use. We like the integrated design approach Adobe is going for, and we look forward to seeing XD continue to improve. It’s especially strong in UX design, prototyping, and animation when compared to the other apps.
You can use XD for free to see if you like it. The free version of XD gives you the full app, but with some limitations such as only one shared link (for prototypes and design specs) and no ability to save local files. If you need any of the premium features (such as multiple shared links or the ability to work with local files), you can get XD for $9.99/month (USD) or XD with all the CC apps for $52.99 (USD).
Learn more in our Adobe XD classes.