Portfolio Review: A “Can’t-miss Event” for Emerging Designers

It’s time again for AIGA Houston’s annual Portfolio Review! Next Thursday, April 18 at 6pm, at the historic Heights Fire Station (register now).

There really is no better opportunity for an emerging designer to get rapid-fire critical feedback on their work, their level of polish, and their presentation skills from some of the most successful design professionals working in the Houston area today. Be prepared for some of the realest, most constructive critiques you’ll ever receive.

For some young designers, such a thing may sound terrifying. And it certainly can be – but in a good way, as you’ll soon see. Meet Michael Edwards and Erlinda Ayala, two of Houston’s hotshot emerging designers who’ve braved the gauntlet that is the AIGA Houston Portfolio Review and lived to tell the tale.

Michael Edwards
University of Houston, Class of 2012
Designer at Origin (origindesign.com)

The AIGA Portfolio Review is an amazing event for students. I was privileged to attend two reviews, and both times I expected the focus to solely be on the visual aspect of design. Instead, not only did I receive important aesthetic critique, I also received on-the-spot training in portfolio presentation.

For me, AIGA Houston’s Portfolio Review worked as a rapid-fire feedback loop. From one professional to the next, I learned what to say and what not to say about my work. I molded my words based on a reviewer’s positive or negative response. I learned to anticipate questions with answers. I learned when to physically present a hand-made book or when to only show a picture of its layouts. I learned a little something about when to speak and when to listen. This, my friends, is a can’t-miss AIGA Houston event!

Erlinda Ayala
Art Institute of Houston, Class of 2012
Designer at Spotlight Creative, LLC (spotlightcreative.com)

I’m just going to say the AIGA Houston Portfolio Review is a little terrifying. As a student attending this event, I never felt completely ‘ready’ for the review – not because I didn’t work hard enough, but because it’s a bit intimidating having designers that I admire review my work.

Not knowing what to expect, my first year at the review didn’t start very gracefully. My Portfolio Review roller coaster went like this: from nervous wreck, to ‘meh,’ to telling terrible Comic Sans jokes, and finally to excitement for the next review. After a while, I started to relax and get comfortable. Once I stopped worrying about how stupid I may have sounded, I realized I was getting some great advice from great people. Don’t miss out, these reviewers are here to help and really motivate you. Take a chance, get excited, and have fun!

Register now: houston.aiga.org/event/portfolio-review-2013

If you’d like to attend but don’t have a portfolio to review, we’ll be issuing a limited number of complimentary Observer Passes. Past attendees willing to share advice, or educators accompanying their students for support are examples of someone who might qualify. If you’re interested, email Andy Rich at president (at) houston.aiga.org

By Andy Rich
Published April 11, 2013
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