What to Include In A Good Design Portfolio

You just got the call about an amazing design opportunity.
Whether it is an in house gig, or freelance, you are going to need a portfolio.

Take my word for it.

Problem is, if you’ve gone to design school, you probably have a whole bunch of work that you want to display.
At least not all of it.

I would say 10-15 pieces is a good number to have.

Here is what I include in my portfolio: (And if any of you readers have advice here on how to make mine better, I am always looking to improve!)

And if you are ever interested, on my Facebook fan page is a small portion of my design portfolio. I need to update it when I get the chance. Check it out here.

Good Logo Design

Okay, I’m sorry, but as a graphic designer, you will most likely not be designing logos 100% of the time.
That’s just not how it works.
Even free lancers have to do some other work.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know how to do some great logo design.

Pick about three GREAT logos from your collection. In my school, we did a lot of logo design, so I picked the best three, and I made sure to pick three from very different industries. It is important to show that you are diverse. And it is also important because an engineering firm won’t want the same style as a skateboard shop.

Or maybe they will.

You never know.


Identity Packages

If you don’t know what this is, Tuts Plus has a great article here on how to create them.

I would include one or two that you are very proud of. I currently have two in my portfolio, but once I find something better to include, I am going to take them out because they are not my favorite pieces.

And that is the best part about having a portfolio.. include what YOU are proud of.

Publication Design

In my job as an in house designer, most of my work is Publication Design, or Desktop Publishing. (That was my original title when I got hired — fun fact) I like to think it is one of my strong suits.

I would include a few good layouts. Make sure they are branded well for whoever they are for. For example, for the company I work for, all of the publications I design have the same shade of blue, the same shade of red, and the same logo.


This might be from more of a marketing stand point, but if you design more than one thing for a company, pay attention to the branding.

Identity packages are an easy one. That is mostly copying the logo and using the same colors.

But what if you have to design promotional products?

Pay attention to how you brand any company. It can come down to colors, fonts, or even the language used (in advertising, mostly). Think about it. Apple is a great company to look at for this. If you look at their website, do you see anything out of place?

Nope. Because they keep it consistent.
That is the best advice I can give you: be consistent. Corporate America digs it.

Vector / Raster Artwork

This might be a controversial choice (sound off in the comments if you feel differently) but I like to include examples of my artwork. It might not be applicable to the job at hand, but it still good to show that you have an artistic side. Show off. One of the pieces in my portfolio won an award at an art show — you better believe that piece is in my portfolio!

In my experience, being well rounded is a good thing.

It is a fine line, however, between being well rounded and not really knowing much of anything. What I mean is, companies look for people who are well rounded with an array of knowedge over subjects in their field.  If you are too focused on one subject, your knowedge is too deep and not wide enough. Focus on too many things, and your knowedge is shallow but too wide. Look for the middle ground.

This piece isn’t something I would neccesarily have to do for my current job — but if they ever do need something like this, they know I can do it, because it is in my portfolio! I believe it also shows your expertise in a certain program if you do something cool like this.

This pertains well to design programs as well. You should know all the big ones. Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator. That’s what I know. And I know them well. I have ventured into Dreamweaver, and some others, but my knowedge in those is still very shallow. But that is another post. Maybe I will do a What To Know In Graphic Design Programs post. What do you think?

What do you have included in your portfolio? Include links, if possible! I want to see your work!


Little Letters

Dear Impatient Lady Behind Me, Honking at me to turn left into oncoming traffic is not a smart idea. I hope the hand signal I gave you conveyed the message I was trying to get across: You and your hurriedness to get some where are not more importnat than mine and my truck’s well being. Dear Dakota, I am glad you finally gave in to my wishes and let me get a kitten. Dear Kitten, thank you so much for filling a void in my heart that I didn’t know I had. I hope you love me half as much as I love you. And I’m sorry I haven’t decided on a name yet for you. Dear JR, thank you for being good to my Abigail. If you weren’t (or if this ever changes), please be aware that I have ways of hurting you. You don’t mess with my best friend. Dear Weekend, Why did you have to pass by so quickly? I don’t want to go to work tomorrow. Dear America, thank you for being a great country to live in. We have our problems, that’s for sure, but I still love living here and being an American. Happy Fourth! Dear Readers, I hope you are enjoying what I’m writing! I love getting comments! Let’s be friends!

I believe in..

… telling the truth, no matter if it is painful.

Because I don’t want to live in a world where you can’t trust anyone.

Because I don’t think I wouldn’t be a good friend / girlfriend / daughter if I didn’t tell the truth.

Because my feelings are real, and I shouldn’t have to hide them.

…knowing the difference between right and wrong, and following your own personal compass.

Because we are all in this world together. We don’t need to be enemies.

Because doing something wrong when I know it is wrong gives me the willies.


Because there is no better feeling in the world than being loved by another human being.

Because everyone has a soul mate. And I love mine more than words could ever explain.

Because love is the beginning of all great things.

6 Best Things About Being An Adult

Dear Kids,

Don’t believe what people say. Growing up sucks. Being a kid is great! No responsibilities, you get summers off and 2 weeks for Christmas!

Enjoy it while it lasts.
You can never get it back. Unless, at some point in the future, my prayers get answered and someone creates a time machine.

Knock on wood.

But, you will become an adult. Even if you are kicking and screaming trying to fight it.

If you are an optimist, like me, here are the top 6 things about being an adult.

1) Alcohol. You can never enjoy its perks until you are an adult. I’m serious. I tried it when I was a teenager, and let me tell you, beer pong and Jack Daniels get old fast. Sometimes you just want to drink a glass of wine and relax. And get classy drunk.

I know you probably don’t believe me, but seriously, take my word for it.
I have gotten drunk enough since I’ve been a “real” adult (post-21) to understand this.

2) Living on your own. This is one of the best things, but also one of the hardest. When you’re a kid, and even a teenager, if you don’t have any bills, like I did, it can be hard to learn to budget money.

But you get used to it.And being able to decorate your house how you want, being able to sleep next to the person you love (even if he does tell you to scoot over when you are TOTALLY not on his side) , and not having to vacuum all the time.

Are all AMAZING things.

Except the vacuuming part. I need to do that more often. And dishes. I hate doing the freakin’ dishes.

3) Tattoos. I have one that I got when I was 18. I wish I had thought it through a little more, but its become a part of me. And since its on my back, sometimes I forget that it’s there. (I have a bad memory) My next one I have wanted for a while, but I’m going to think about it a while longer. Maybe in a few months. Just promise you will say no to tramp stamps. Or, at least thinkabout it first.

4) Having a job. Having a job is SO much better than going to school. For one, you get paid. And two, you get paid. (Sorry, that’s my favorite part.) Third, if you’re lucky, you will find something you like. And that makes all the difference. Going to work everyday to a job you like is SO much better than going to school and getting detention doing math.


5) Staying out as late as I want. There have been nights that I have stayed up drinking (or being otherwise occupied) until the wee morning hours. It is awesome. It usually takes me a day and a half to recover, but its worth it. Granted, most nights I am dead by 11 PM, but it is still nice to have the option. With no one to stop me. (Sorry, Mom!)

6) Cereal for dinner, ice cream for breakfast. I know this is going to catch up with me. In fact, it probably already has, but I love cereal. I can (and have) eaten it three meals a day for dayys. Although, the flip side of this is missing real food. But for that, just go over to your Mama’s. She knows how to make the good stuff.


life rearranged
As you should know by now, I LOVE Instagram. In fact, I love it so much I have done multiple posts about it.

I haven’t done a post about my life in Instagram because I have no life.

Therefore, I haven’t taken many pictures.



It’s Friday, and because I am on a beach somewhere in my mind, here is my life in Instagram these past few weeks.

1) They eat my food, they do my dishes. ‘Nuff said.

2) Key Lime Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream Sandwich. To die for. I love Costco.

3) Moscato. My love. Where have you been all my life?

4) This is my view a lot these days.

5) Julia and I on her graduation day. I just about melted. And my butt fell asleep. Wonderful.

6) Chocolate malt. No one holds my heart quite like Superior Dairy.

7) I love me some web editing. Fun fun.

8) Abigail has a miniature pie maker. It was amazing. And awesome.

9) I love seeing my designs in action. 🙂

10) I curled my hair. It made me feel sexy. I must do it more often.

11) Strawberry margaritas with my momma. She buys the good tequila.

12) My man brought me home a bottle of champagne, cookies, and a photography magazine. He knows the way to my heart. (Hint: I love surprises :))

P.S. If you aren’t following me on Instagram, you really should.

Friday Letters

Dear Friday, thank you for finally getting here. I have been waiting not-so-patiently  for you all week long. Dear Boss, thank you so very much for the raise. It feels so good to be appreciated for all the hard work I do. Not to gloat, or anything. Dear Sunshine, I love you. I really do. But I am tired of 100 degree weather. So thanks for getting back into the 80s this weekend. Dear Backstreet Boys, thank you for being my guilty pleasure. How else could I escape to the 90s without you?  Dear Scooter, Didn’t we talk about this last week? PLEASE stop waking me up right before my alarm. I really need my beauty sleep to become the gorgeous creature I have to become every single day. Dear Dakota, thank you for the surprise of champagne and cookies this week. I think this should become a weekly ritual. Dear Disney Songs, listening to you makes me dance. And be more creative. And happy. And lots of other things. Thanks for being on Spotify so I can listen to you all day long. Dear Uncle Kracker, Thanks for writing “Good to be Me”, it has been my theme song since it came out. Why? Because, damn, it feels good to be me. Dear Dakota, I wish you had the weekend off again. I love doing nothing with you.  Dear Frank Beddor, you write increasingly addictive books. I just can’t put them down. I wish I could write my blog like that. Can you send me some tips? Kthanx.


Family Reunion

I haven’t shared very many pictures of my own lately.

Because I am a bad blogger.

And most of the pictures I have taken lately have been of Waterman gates.

It’s been all work and no play for my poor camera.

Well, the situation has been rectified!
I finally got some pictures worth showing you.
Because I am very self-concious. Even though I am probably the only one reading this blog.
Probably because I say “because” so much.

I’ll work on that.



My Aunt Jonye came back home to California from Texas (I say home, but really she has lived longer in Texas than she did here..) and I have to spent a large amount of time with her whenever she is around.

Because I love her.

And because I love you guys, here are some pictures! This is my first time making a collage type thing, so be nice. 🙂


Happy Father’s Day to My Dad

As you may or may not know, the Dork and I do not have any children.

So you  know what that means?

That Father’s Day is still about the best Dad in the world, mine!

I have told you about my parents before, but I didn’t get a chance to tell you about the awesomeness that is my dad.

My dad is very different from my mom. Where she is outgoing and loud, my dad is more reserved, like me (I’d like to think). We have always had a great relationship, me and my dad. Even when I was a baby I would cry when he went to work. But I think every kid does that at some point. 🙂

My dad and I (and by association, Dakota) have a lot of interests in common, such as electronics, nerdy stuff, cars.. the list goes on and on. And when Dakota and my dad get together they can talk and talk and talk and talk.

You get the point?

They talk a lot.

Although my parents are very different, and sometimes seem as they are on other planets in terms of who they are, the older I get the more I realize they bring out the best in each other. My mom brings my dad out of his shell and makes him have fun, and my dad reigns in my mom when she needs it.

The older I get, the more I realize that there is no one in this world better for my dad than my mom.

My dad couldn’t neccessarily give  Brother and I everything we ever wanted, but he made sure we never went without.
We learned the value of money. Brother and I are both better off in the finances department because my dad warned us about the evils of buying on credit.

My dad, more than anything, wants us to have it better than he did. And I think so far he has succeeded. At least with Brother. 😉

(I had to put this this picture to show how I missed the tall gene. My dad is 6’6″ tall. I’m 5’5″. How is that fair?!?)

My dad didn’t have a particular religon growing up, because his dad was Jewish and his mom is Baptist. So we were not really raised with a particular religion, but we were raised to know right from wrong and to listen to our consciences. I hope to teach my children the same way.

My point is, my dad did the best he could for us and thanks to him, and my mom, I think Brother and I turned out pretty well. At least, Brother did. 😛

 I wish all the Father’s out there the best Father’s day possible! And if you live in California, hold off on doing your yard work. It is supposed to be 104 here tomorrow. Take the day off.

I love you Dad, Happy Father’s Day!

If you like this post, and maybe like me just a little bit, come vote for this post at Mr. Wonderful Contest at My Little Life. Just click “Like” under Jessie Kay Graphics and Design! If we win we get a $100 gift card! Thanks for your support!

Five Question Friday

1. Would you grow your hair out to donate it?
Of course I would! It would take me forever, though, because my hair grows so slooooooooooowly.

Seriously. Like molasses at wintertime.
It is one of my hopes for my life, though.
To do SOMETHING good for someone else.
AND my hair is finally grown out of the dye that used to torture it with.
So I’m eligible!

2. What song makes you think of summer?

“When The Sun Goes Down” by Kenny Chesney
“Boys of Summer” by The Ataris
“All Summer Long” by Kid Rock
“But I can see you-

Your brown skin shinin’ in the sun
You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby
And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone”

(I had to listen to it. Sue me)

3. Are you a flip flops or sandals kind of person?

I’m a sneakers person. I go barefoot at home. But at work, (I work at a manufacturing facility) the guys bring in scraps of metal on their shoes. That hurts when it gets in your feet.
There is reasons why they wear steel toed boots. People who wear sandals in my office either don’t have the guys coming in to their area, or they are just crazy.
Its alright, though, because I have ghosty white feet. Like the rest of me.
And no one wants to see that.

4. Favorite summer treat (ie ice cream, snow cones, etc)?

Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt! Guilty pleasure.
And I love a nice cold Smirnoff to go with it 😉

5. Do you do something special for the father of your children on Fathers day?

I’m not a mother yet but I do get my dad cards and little presents when I can.
Last year I got him a book of why I love my Daddy. It was a children’s book, but it was cute.
And he likes the sappy stuff.
I will be posting something for my Dad, though, so stay tuned.

Friday Letters

Dear Dakota, thank you for curling up with me and watching Jack and Jill, no matter if you were feeling too sick to go do other things. Dear Truck, thank you for not doing that not-wanting-
to-start-thing. I guess that talking-to I gave you helped. Keep it up. Dear brother-in-law, please stop eating my cereal. when you pay rent I might share my cocoa pebbles. Until then, you are
eating my primary source of food. Stop it. Dear Abigail, I’m sorry that your birthday wasn’t the best ever, but I am glad your truck is getting fixed! Dear Brother, I miss you more every day.
I can’t wait for the news if you are being stationed here! And I can’t wait until you come to visit in October, too! Dear Weekly Review, I am looking forward to you tomorrow. Nothing I like
more than to scratch 3 things off my to-do list and add 50 more. Dear Scooter, Please stop meowing at me at 4:30 AM. I am aware I don’t wake up that early anymore. I don’t need you as my
alarm clock. Especially since what you want is for me to lay out Dakota’s blanket. He’s not the one who wakes up for you. I am. I will lock you out next time. Dear Friday Night, why are you taking so long to get here?! Dakota’s off and I want to drink! Hurry it up, bro.Dear Microsoft, please program a way for me to put two spreadsheets on my seperate monitors. I really hate having to switch back and forth. It’s annoying.
Lots of love,
Jessica ❤


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