How graphic is too graphic?
September 22, 2009 6:14 PM   Subscribe

I'm back on the job market and considering applying to a few graphic design firms, help me decide how fancy to make my resume.

I've been working in print shops for the last 6 years, doing pre-press and some graphic design as necessary. I've done a few other little graphic design projects on the side as well but haven't amassed a very large portfolio.

In applying to graphic design firms, should I get really design-y with my resume and cover letter? I've always believed that simplicity is best in resumes so I go to great lengths to lay out my resume very cleanly and simply. But looking at these firms' websites makes me feel that this approach might be inadequate and that I need to supply something with more flair and colour.

So what I really want to know is, does a full colour resume package with a logo and other graphics sell me better or does it get dismissed as noise? More generally, should I include samples of my work at this stage or wait to be asked for them?
posted by wabbittwax to Work & Money (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm currently interviewing web designers. Flashy can work, if it works. If it doesn't, not so much. Overall composition, typography and taste matter a whole lot more. Have something that catches the eye, but because of the skill, sense of proportion and experience you show.

Include samples. That's pretty much all I look at.
posted by signal at 6:43 PM on September 22, 2009

typewriter + cotton paper
posted by mmdei at 6:53 PM on September 22, 2009

A big part of being a good designer is recognizing when taste and restraint are called for.

Keep your resume simple: use it as an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to design something clean, clear, and readable. Your portfolio is where you put the flair.
posted by ook at 7:16 PM on September 22, 2009

I was just redoing a friend's resume. He is an artist and is going for a job managing an art store. The woman who was helping me edit and I had a nice little laugh about people who make six-color trifold resumes with die-cuts and spot varnish. Just do it clean.
posted by rhizome at 7:22 PM on September 22, 2009

In applying to graphic design firms, should I get really design-y with my resume and cover letter?

There's a time and a place for getting design-y, and your resume is not one of them.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:47 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'd tend to vote for clean and simple, but on really nice paper. Leave the design for the samples or portfolio.
posted by advicepig at 8:10 PM on September 22, 2009

I hire designers. Hundreds, maybe thousands by now.

Don't, don't, don't, don't try to be 'creative' with your resume. Use one typeface. Be ridiculously tidy. Hand-kern it if you like. Show how me you understand white space, but don't show off beyond that.

I swear, all the best ones are Helvetica, or some slightly more stylin' sans, a whole lot of whitespace, and nothing else. KISS works.

As for samples: not unless asked, but your resume can certainly contain a discrete link to your online portfolio. And it will be followed. If you wish to be clever, give each resume you send out a slightly different URL, so that you can check your server logs (or your Google Analytics, or whatever) to see who's looking, and what they're looking at. You can use this to adjust your portfolio over time, too. It's like a secret survey.
posted by rokusan at 8:24 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Think more Jan Tschicold and less Hatch Show Print and you'll be golden.

And yes, samples. A letter sized (landscape) PDF is perfect. Shows great on a laptop and prints without problems. But don't mistake quantity for quality. Five to seven good pieces sounds about right to me. Good luck!
posted by muscat at 10:01 PM on September 22, 2009

« Older Renting Jewelry??   |   Where do you put *your* VPN? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.