It’s 4:58 am and I can’t sleep.

I guess I am still a bit Jetlagged after my 28 hours journey door to door from France to Singapore. I was in bed with my mind fully awake thinking about writing to guys. And I remembered something when I was at school, there was an interesting debate about:

Q: Should we show all our work in our portfolio? 

The portfolio is the document that is even more important than a degree for a designer. It shows who you are, and how creative you are so companies can predict how well you will do in their team. So take care of it, and do your best to produce a great one !

Give your portfolio the best chances to promote you !

The pressure on it is so big that some students are afraid of getting their ideas stolen during the interviews. So they purposely hide the best of their work.

To me, I would not recommend you this strategy. As a student designer, you aspire to be a professional designer. To get there, you need to be daring and be ready to show ALL WHAT YOU GOT. I mean the best and most relevant of your work. Show who you are, and how you want the world to perceive you. They can be your interviewers or clients. And don’t slow your path of progress down being afraid of being copied.

Most people you will meet during your career are nice people, and are NOT interested in your work, but THE WAY YOU WORK. Do you see what I mean?

Show how much creative you are so you can be spotted, hired, and go further in your career. This is how you will build your own path and story. This is how you will meet great and skilled people that will pull you up. Use your porfolio as your best leverage.

A hidden work in a cupboard is equal to inexistant. Give life to your ideas by showing them.

It’s kind of a bet. You may be copied, alright. But you got so much more to win as a fresh element. Trust in people, and you’ll meet great one who will trust you too. Be positive !

Note that newer you are in the industry, even more chance you have to surprise people! As your portfolio didn’t reflect years of experience, but your high creative potential! Use your freshness as your advantage. You want people to see  you as: Wow that young candidate is promising!

Your sketches, your ideas are the most valuable thing you could have. Don’t hide them in your cupboard so they take the dust. Instead, show them, magnify them and let them shine in your portfolio!

Earlier and higher level you start, faster you will grow. By showing high quality content in your portfolio as a student, you are rising your chance to welcome great opportunities during your first years in the industry. Make your growth exponantial by targeting a high level from start.

Take note that your first steps in the industry are not happening after being graduated, but during your first internship. Believe me that it will come earlier than you expect. You might not feel ready yet, so don’t wait, work hard, and show your portfolio with pride. That’s how you build yourself since your first internship. Do your best, show your best! 🙂

If you are still not convinced and believe it’s still a risky bet, remember these 2 things:

  • Creative people will always get new ideas, no matter who copy you.
  • Be proud of being copied. That’s a great indicator that you are doing great and inspire people! Be a leader and keep inspire challengers.

I invite you to read about Ora-Ito’s story. A famous and great designer who get well known and media coverage by publishing his work online of products using big brands. People thought they was actual products and tried to buy them – even though they were all virtual. Ora-Ito was like an “Industrial design hacker” who influenced myself and other students of the school.

Lesson I learned from a personnal story of copycat : /

When I was student, one of my classmate copied one of my work I published online on It was one of my first design of sneaker and it has a sweet texture of shark skin. I was told about a classmate who copied my work – and I didn’t react or try to find who it was as I felt it was ok. I mean, school is made for learning, so it was fine to me.

What I didn’t know is that he included my work (the copy) in his portfolio – and it happenned that we both was interviewed by the same company for the same internship the same day.

The interviewer spotted the similitude and it went “pretty dirty”, as it didn’t reflect good on us and the school.

The other candidate confessed that he did that without negative intention, and realised his mistake. It was a naive action, and he regretted. He was just inspired and tryed out new things and on the spot thought it was ok.

He came to me and we spoke a bit about it. I didn’t felt any anger, I didn’t even wanna blame anyone. I know how much he’s a great guy and a creative designer. And we all learn lessons from our mistakes. I hope he did.

The “after story” is that he was still selected for the internship despite of the copycat. I will never know if I was even considered as a serious candidate or not, but life bring me to an other path and I went to Japan for a car Internship at Daihatsu (Toyota).

Couple of years later, I was hired in the above company that was Adidas.

We can’t control everything in life. But I believe that having a positive attitude, even though it may be tough sometime, life has much more to give us back.

TIP: If you are aware of a classmate who copy you and added your work in his portfolio – Don’t react like how I did – ignoring the fact thinking that it’s ok.

Try to know who copied you, and have a fair chat about it. Don’t hate or look for conflict. Your classmate may actually have a lot of consideration to your work. Ask him to take his responsabilities and remove it from his portfolio.

Know how to forgive his mistake, your friendship is more valuable.

If you can solve problems without conflict, I believe you acquired a great human skill as a Designer. 

I hope this is helpful. Have a wonderful day!

PS: I am preparing for you guys an online Design sketching course, and I am looking for exercises to illustrate the topics. Tell me what product you want to learn how to sketch in this little survey:

PPS: To know more about the course, remember to Subscribe to the blog!




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