Portfolio Resource & Career Stories

Hi there—I’m Justin Lee, and I’m an alum and a former TA for this class. I just wanted to post some stuff that might be useful for anyone interested in pursuing design after school. In my experience, design as a career choice is woefully underserved at Penn, so I wanted to highlight two big resources I personally found useful:

Crafting Your UX Portfolio

For any of you interested in doing design in tech (user experience/product design/user research/interaction design), the following guide is tremendously useful:

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Hiring managers are generally looking for a specific type of portfolio, so it’s good to get in their shoes and understand what they’re expecting.

The Great Discontent

For those interested in more traditional design roles, the magazine The Great Discontent has a whole bunch of interviews on how creatives got started, and it’s a beautiful publication.


Relevant for this class might be Nicholas Felton’s interview

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alongside interviews of other famous designers like Stefan Sagmeister, Jessica Walsh, Ellen Lupton, and Paula Scher.

Hope these add some insight.

Visualization of Music

This is a visualization of the composer Baldassare Galuppi’s Toccata in D Minor. A toccata is a very special type of piece, a virtuoso piece typically for a keyboard or plucked string instrument, but also sometimes for full orchestras, featuring fast-moving, lightly fingered or otherwise virtuosic passages or sections, with or without imitative or fugal interludes, generally emphasizing the dexterity of the performer’s fingers. It’s a beautiful breakdown or analysis of this fast moving rhythm.

Rhetoric and Narrative

As you start to finalize your designs, think about their visual and spoken presentation. How are the design and the user experience structured for the best understanding? These questions concern rhetoric and narrative and are particularly relevant.

We can begin to define rhetoric as persuasive speech, and by extension, the organization of discourse. Visual rhetoric is defined as the study of how visual images communicate; the social construction of the visual. It is comprised of all the decisions you make about form–space, size, color, emphasis, interaction, sequence, etc.–and how you develop a hierarchy that enables us to successfully understand and experience the design.

Narrative derives from the Latin narrare–’to relate,’ and the Greek gno, ‘to know.’ We could say that narrative is the form of the story (not the content of the story) and that it relates all of its parts to each other.

Here is a text analysis and visualization
of the rhetorical structure of Martin Luther King, Jr’s I have a Dream speech.