“The 2017 Industrial Design Speaker Series Wraps up with a Panel Discussion and Portfolio Review”
By Zach Samalonis
Last week in the Jefferson ID Department, students learned what employers look for in design portfolios. The discussion panel featured professionals and alumni from Bresslergroup, DESIGNLYNX, TerraCycle and Shea + Latone, making an excellent close to the 2017 Industrial Design Speaker Series. Students packed the Tuttleman Center and participated in both group discussions as well as one-on-one conversations to receive feedback on their portfolios.
Jefferson alum Tom Dooley from Bresslergroup was able to give students an idea what it’s like to work in an environment surrounded by other professionals in different fields. He explained that at Bresslergroup “industrial designers must be well versed in their skillset and must be able to work with other disciplines, such as electrical and mechanical engineers.” Tom also was able to shed some insight on what it’s like working for a larger agency and how the company is always changing.
Jefferson alum Brian Orme of DESIGNLYNX showed students the other end of the spectrum and exposed them to life at a smaller agency. He was able to contrast against Bresslergroup and show how even though the two companies are different in size, they both look for similar things in portfolios. Brian answered questions about how to stand out and the importance of learning other skills (outside of the classroom) and using them in the work that students do.
Kelsey Moffitt discussed her work at TerraCycle and was able to connect with students as she has only been in the field for a little over a year. Kelsey explained to students that at TerraCycle prototyping is part of their everyday work and how each day the work is different. Kelsey’s stories about her experience at TerraCycle allowed students to see the difficulties of applying for positions, but how positive experiences can come from a little hardship.
Jeff Theesfeld and Shaun Smith (both Jefferson alums) were able to shed some light on their journey at Shea + Latone and how the two of them became partners and ended up taking over the busisness after their bosses were ready to retire. Throughout Shea + Latone’s presentation, the importance of craft and putting yourself out in front of the world was stressed. Both Jeff and Shaun felt that as students create their portfolios, they should consider their audience and “present your truest self”, even if this meant that you had flaws. “Every designer isn’t going to know everything” says Jeff “but, it’s important to present your best self and remember the little things… There is a lot of low hanging fruit that can impress employers that many designers forget about”. Jeff and Shaun ended their presentation stressing the importance of networking and gave anecdotes about how networking helped them land their first positions at Shea + Latone.
The night ended with an extensive question and answer period, along with a breakout session that allowed Jefferson students to network and have their own portfolios reviewed and critiqued. The 2017 Fall Industrial Design Alumni Speaker Series was a huge success and the department hopes to continue with another Series in Spring 2018 in continued celebration of the 20th anniversary of the department.