I am trying to decide what kind of projects to include and to create/add to my design portfolio. Besides relating to Google's aesthetic and showing pieces that involve matching hardware/software elements, what would make my body of work stand out among a saturated pool of talent?
What are some work samples that you might suggest including in a compelling portfolio for a Visual Designer? Interaction Designer?
The first step is do identify the projects you are the most proud of and that you consider being a good representation of your current skill, the ones you want to put forward for your application.
Secondly, you need to understand what you are applying for. In the case of Google, we separate Visual design from UX designer. While these two definitely overlap in-situ, these job titles give broad strokes of required skills for your initial interview. For example, Visual design is not a hard requirement (although a plus) for UX designer, what is required here is a great understanding and experience of what makes a good system/app/site architecture. So in the case of UX designer, you might want to focus on case studies and deep process description with deliverables. For Visual designer, you will have to shift your focus on visually solid example of your work.
Be drastic it what you pick and thorough when you want to present something. Make sure to represent your contribution in the case the project was created in a group. It is important for the recruiter to understand that what you are showing is your work. Sometimes, designers tend to favor great but inaccurate or too broad visuals, which ends up making their actual contribution hard to find or understand.
Finally, what also can make you stand out is self-assigned work or things you did outside your regular work projects. It can be design work you did your friends or even passion that have little to nothing to do with design. Google and other companies are looking for candidate personality and culture fit above pure skill.
Thank you so much for the detailed and prompt response. I really appreciate your two cents.
In regards to showing case studies, how would one go about creating one? Would a re-branding project suffice for a case study?
As for showcasing work visually and thoroughly, can you direct me to a good example of that (either in your own portfolio or someone else's)?