Some sage portfolio advice from graphic designer and Graduates judge Shaz Madani

4 July 2014

We’re a week into our Graduates 2014 and have so far announced four of the grads that we think hold some of the best talent in the country. This year we asked some very special judges to come in and help us with the ever-difficult task of whittling down the submissions to a honed 15. We asked Shaz Madani along as we have long-trusted her seemingly effortless, stylish and informed designs for the likes of Giles Duley, Riposte and Elephant magazine. She very kindly answered a few questions post-judging about her thoughts on the submissions this year.

What impressed you about the entries you judged this year?

The quality of finish was astounding. The presentation and documentation of all the work and websites were of very high standards. You could easily have believed some of the entries were from practicing professionals.

What were you looking for?

Something unique and exciting that instantly catches the eye. But also with so many of the entries winning us over with their presentation it was important to ensure there were clever ideas and original concepts to back them.

What did you see too much of?

There was a lot of stuff, particularly in the graphic design category, that seemed to blindly follow trends leaving the ideas behind. Doing design for the sake of design. Too many wiggly lines and “post internet” aesthetics. I also heard there were a lot of bananas and pineapples in the pre-selection!


Shaz Madani: Business cards for Giles Duley

What are the most common mistakes young designers make when trying to sell themselves?

It’s so important to be selective and have the ability to edit your portfolio. Often seeing one bad project can outdo all the good work. It’s tempting to put in everything you’ve ever done, especially as a young graduate, when you just want to show as much experience as possible. But it’s not about quantity. If there is something you are not proud of, don’t put it in.

What would be your main advice for Graduates about to enter the design world?

Take some time to test out the water. There is often so much pressure on getting it right straight away and knowing all the answers. But you just have to try out some different things to find what’s right for you. Explore the possibilies and set yourself on the right path.


Shaz Madani: Seize the Day: A Dateless Diary for Magma books

Supported by Represent

We are very pleased that The It’s Nice That Graduates 2014 will once again be supported by Represent Recruitment. The graphic design recruitment specialists have developed a peerless reputation working with designers of all levels and matching them up with the right positions in some of the top agencies around. Represent’s support has helped us grow the Graduate scheme over recent years and we are thrilled they have partnered with us again in 2014.

Share Article

Further Info

About the Author

Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and worked across online, print and events, and was latterly Features Editor before leaving in May 2015.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.