Why sketchbooks are important when applying for design jobs.

If you’re a design student or currently looking for your first design job,  sketchbooks can make all the difference at an interview.

As designers, we all have portfolios of what we consider to be our best work – we should also have sketchbooks full of our ideas.

We know to put the best bits at the front and the end, as these are often the pieces of work that are most recalled.

We also know that we need to show a range of talent and experience within our portfolios – from artwork to web design.

To be perfectly honest, your portfolio isn’t going to be that different from anyone else’s (if you’re a good designer in the first place).

So how do you show your interviewer that you are the best person for the job when they’ve seen 10 portfolios all full of equally great work?

You need something extra that elevates you out of the beauty parade and demonstrates your creative thinking and problem-solving capabilities.

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Branding sketch concepts

This is where sketchbooks come into play

If you’ve graduated in graphic design you’ll have a good portfolio, and so will everyone else that is applying for the same job as you – sounds harsh, but it’s a fact.

What everyone won’t have is a small library of sketchbooks where they keep all their ideas.

Sketchbooks will give an interviewer insight into your thought process, ideas and your ability to draw (yes, that is still important).

They’ll also demonstrate your grasp of the creative process and your ability to generate lots of ideas and communicate them well through sketching.

Sketchbooks also allow you to demonstrate a wide range of interests and projects – it’s also a good idea to annotate your sketchbooks so your thinking is explained.

Another good use for sketchbooks is to use them to store found design work that you really like – almost like a scrapbook of your own ideas and other design work that influences and inspires you.

David Foreman

David Foreman

Dave is the MD at Toast and has been working on branding, creative and web development projects for over 25 years. He's a founding member of Toast and enjoys a good rant.