Crafting Illustrations to Help Students Find Jobs

 
 

In the fall of 2016, I began a partnership with Portfolium and their team. Our goal was to not only create illustrations, but tell their brand story and grab the attention of their target audience, college students and those who had recently graduated. Our partnership went on for close to a year and we were able to create a considerable amount of illustrations and story lines. Below you can learn more about the work we created together.

 
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About Portfolium

We're a mission-driven technology company based in beautiful downtown San Diego, California. We passionately deliver products and services connected to our one-of-a-kind ePortfolio network to empower and connect three key stakeholders: students, educators, and employers. Our team is made up of higher education professionals and faculty, recruitment technology experts, social networking pioneers, recent college graduates, and a former rocket scientist. At our core, we believe in the value of higher education, and we build products dedicated to demonstrating that value. To learn more, visit www.portfolium.com.

Note: Portfolium has since updated their website since we’ve worked together.

Ever Evolving Style

When we first started working together, Portfolium didn’t have a defined illustration style. In fact the only illustration they had on their site was a header illustration I created for them over a year previously. So there was a real challenge to develop a style that we could use throughout the entire website and for other purposes (such as presentations, marketing materials and more).

One of the first illustration projects we worked on together was three small spot illustrations (small illustrations that are placed on top or within text with the purpose to draw the attention to and compliment the text) that would be used for on-boarding purposes to their website. This would be a very important project because it would help to develop the initial style we would use moving forward with Portfolium.

As with all projects we began to work on sketching out ideas for the illustrations. One thing that Portfolium wanted was to incorporate “space” into their brand and illustrations as a metaphor for reaching new heights with your career potential. So we focused on the space theme with astronauts, starry skies, and a space colony theme.

Below you’ll find the original sketches we made for the project depicting the three main touch points for the on-boarding process (not in actual order):

  1. Constructing a resume & portfolio site showcasing your accomplishments.

  2. Show yourself to potential employers and recruiters as the best candidate for the job.

  3. Wait for the job offers to start rolling in.

 
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The original style that we developed was a very simplistic “line work” style featuring splashes of some of Portfolium’s brand colors. The illustrations were meant to draw attention to each of the on-boarding tasks but not be over bearing and were a success.d

Over time, the style we used would ultimately evolve. As we created more illustrations we found that this simplistic style was a bit dated and needed a bit of a refresh. This led to use going back to this initial project and revitalizing the style we used. Instead of being strict on our color palette we made it more vibrant and eye catching. We ended up losing The lines (except for some accents) and focusing more on a flat style. Below you can see the original illustrations and the new ones.

The impact these illustrations had compared to the originals was night and day. The bright and vibrant colors, paired with the friendly characters and atmosphere was pleasant to the audience eye and made them want to learn and see more.

 
 

Tackling & Rethinking the Portfolium Homepage

During the spring of 2017, we tackled one of our largest projects to date for Portfolium, a revitalization of the homepage. During this particular project I was able to introduce my good friend Peter Deltondo to Portfolium to help out with the design process. He worked on the UI/UX for the homepage and I helped them think about a unique solution for how to tell the story of how a college student and a recruiter could connect using their platform.

We met up at Portfolium’s offices in downtown San Diego and worked through a brainstorming session that eventually developed the concept you’ll see below.

The idea was to take their audience through the journey in an illustrated fashion from the student about to graduate, to the professor helping them prepare their resume/portfolio on Portfolium and finally the future employer finding their information on Portfolium and scheduling an interview.

 
 

Developing the Portfolium Mascot

During the height of us working together and our use of the original “space” theme. The Portfolium team came to me looking to create a mascot character. They wanted the character to be used in their chat widget and in some of their marketing materials.

This became one of my favorite small projects that we worked on together. I’ve always loved creating characters and I loved the idea of creating a robot character. We began the project by sketching out a few initial ideas of what the robot could look like and narrowing them down over the course of a couple of sketch iterations.

Within the final sketches we had a clear winner. Once we had everything dialed in, we began to use the new mascot within the majority of our newer illustrations.