AIGA Portfolio Festival with Lee-Sean Huang
By AIGA August 18, 2020
AIGA Portfolio Festival with Lee-Sean Huang
By AIGA August 18, 2020
AIGA Portfolio Festival with Lee-Sean Huang
By AIGA August 18, 2020

On the last day of the Portfolio Festival, Lee-Sean Huang gathered participants for Rewind, Pause, Fast-Forward: A recap and reflections on the learnings and insights of the Festival with thoughts on what’s next.

His keynote marked the conclusion of AIGA’s first national portfolio celebration. The successful event included:

·   80 reviewers from around the United States and Puerto Rico

·   300 designer presentations (20% students, 42% recent graduates, 35% working professionals)

·   Reviewers and designers convened from all corners of America and the world

Festival Highlights
Lee-Sean moderated most of the festival’s events. Below are some of his highlights: 

How to Ace the Virtual Interview: Tips for Creative Job Seekers and Hiring Managers
Presented by Diane Domeyer and Kara McKevitt of the Creative Group
Employ the STAR format during interviews: describe the Situation; talk about the Task you performed; describe the Action (what you did); and present the Results.

How to Network When You Can’t Do It In Person
Presented by Heather Olsen (AIGA Fellow and Founder, Soladay Olson), Timmy Parker (Freelance Creative Director), Phen Grant (Artist) and Grace Ling (UX Design Intern, Electronic Arts) A recent graduate, Grace is currently interning at Electronic Arts. With a background in pre-med and engineering, she discovered design on her own. This year, she founded Design Buddies, a discord community with over 3,000 members. Her experience reminds us to create and connect with the communities you need. Technology makes it easier than ever. (And sometimes, you must rise to the occasion and become the organizer.)

Presenting Your Portfolio (on Zoom) presented by Leon Rodriguez
It’s important to adapt your content to the client. Showing five portfolio pieces is a solid guideline.

Designing Your Portfolio Language presented by Jessica Gardner
Jessica is a language teacher and editor who often works with individuals who speak English as a second or third language. Her formula includes integrating credibility, terminology and hierarchy into a presentation.

How to Make the Perfect Portfolio presented by Dan Mall
A great portfolio should be a love letter that you customize to a potential employer. Be creative in how you express your interest and describe how your work fits into the organization’s goals.

Storytelling as a Tool presented by Ellen Lupton
Focus on the narrative arc and emotional range when presenting to provide feeling. Remember to vary the intensity, adding humor and passion when you can.

Mentorship presented by Michael Bierut
A mentor can be someone you never met and can also be a peer.

Making the Right Fit or Fitting In presented by Lisa Babb
Lisa asked participants to answer these prompts:
I am…
I care deeply about…
My dream job or opportunity is…
My design is..

AIGA was thrilled to observe the high level of organic networking that occurred within the sessions. Spontaneous creative collaborations also appeared, such a pic pixel drawing pit. 

Designing the Conversation
Lee-Sean provided details about his design journey. A musician, he started designing album covers and swag for his band. He returned to school at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program where he was introduced to new forms of expression and technology. He created a set of headphones called the Headbanger Phones that changed the music based on head movements. He also hacked a Nintendo Wii controller which evolved into a performance piece. Eventually, Lee-Sean landed at Purpose in New York City as a designer.

Teaching followed, and he expanded from graphics to service design which involves facilitation and curating conversations that harness wisdom and the power of community. In 2018, he joined AIGA as a staff member and also hosts the Design Future Now podcast.

Bestiary for Creative Concept Development
Lee-Sean demonstrated this mini conversation sprint to help develop any creative idea. He was assisted by Academy of Art University student Julia Fernandez who shared a work in progress.

Two people are required. One person begins by discussing her design ideas while the other pretends to be an animal. Six distinct conversations emerge using the personality of the following animals: silent sponge, paraphrasing parrot, probing puppy, suggestion squirrel, disagreeable donkey, and affirming anteater. 

The result is focused feedback that moves the conversation forward. Lee-Sean encouraged participants to adapt the framework as needed.

Connecting the Dots
He concluded with a Milton Glaser quote from the 2004 AIGA Design Legends Gala: 

“Linking beauty and purpose can create a sense of communal agreement that helps diminish the sense of disorder and incoherence that life creates.”

What will you design next?

Tags Portfolio Festival