This toolkit is a growing library of wisdom that highlights the hurdles of owning your content and building your platform. We not only curate the wisdom from creative leaders and artists, but also from the community—a balance of both, like cheese and wine—so that you’re supported and empowered to build your home on the internet.
Your work is a reflection of who you are. How you curate your projects influences the story people tell themselves about you. Like a resume, you don’t have to put everything out there, you simply have to highlight the work that lights you up and reflects the work you want to be doing more of.
Nowadays, there are endless tools and platforms that allow us to curate our projects beautifully and to also belong to a larger community of like-minds. Yes, upload your projects to places like Behance and the like, but always always update your website with the latest things you’ve shipped.
Practical wisdom from like-minded creatives
Meet Khoi Vinh, Principal Designer at Adobe. Previously, he was design director for The New York Times. He writes a widely read blog on design and technology at Subtraction.com.
As a designer and educator, he empathizes with the struggle of how to organize one’s portfolio. He adominishes in his Own Your Content interview:
“Students often ask me about what kind of work to put in their portfolios and my answer is: what kind of work do you want to do?
“What I look for is work that reflects a great personal passion, whether it’s for a certain kind of client or industry, or a certain kind of subject matter or even a certain kind of problem solving.
“I’d be much more interested in a portfolio full of made up projects that are representative of exactly what a designer wants to do more than anything, than I would be in a portfolio of highly competent but passionless work executed by someone who’s not thrilled by any of it.
“The passion is the difference maker.”
Meet Jen Hewett, a printmaker, surface designer, textile artist, educator, and author who has been blogging since 2006. She shares why it’s important for her to own her content and build an online platform where it’s easy to connect with her audience.
“I’m a printmaker and a surface designer, but a good chunk of my income comes from teaching. I teach online and in-person classes, and my book contains my class curriculum.
“I decided early on that that information is my intellectual property and my livelihood, and that I would only share as much of it publicly (i.e. for free) as I felt comfortable doing. That livelihood has been crucial as I’ve built the rest of my creative career. Because I have other sources of income, I’ve mostly been able to choose the projects I want to take on, and to allow my creative voice to develop without feeling the need to chase trends.”
Encouragement for next steps
Go to your portfolio and review it. What work is missing that you’re proud of? What projects need more context or clarity around it to showcase your skills and responsibilities? How might you better organize the display of your projects so that someone can immediately understand the work you stand for? What work shouldn’t be in there because you don’t want to be doing it?