100 logos in 100 days: How to build a portfolio fast

June 30, 2009

A colleague complained to me the other day that he feels he is talented enough to get lucrative design jobs, if only he had the portfolio to back his work up.

It's the chicken and the egg conundrum, he said — what comes first: a great portfolio or great clients to fill that portfolio? The obvious answer is “portfolio,” but building a great portfolio can be tedious, especially if you're not getting paid to do it. But the investment is necessary, and in the long run the work is minimal. In just 100 days, you can have 100 samples in your portfolio, which will be more than enough to prove your talent and experience.

  • Start by choosing a niche. Listen to me on this: You might think you can get more jobs by being a jack of all trades, but you'll only dilute your value. Yes, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but you can't possibly catch them all so why try? You don't tightline if you're fishing for perch. If you're a graphic designer, you might choose to specialize in print brand identity, web design, billboards or something else entirely. We'll assume you're choosing logos.
  • For the next 100 days, create a new logo every day. You don't have to go through the motions of actual client conceptualization, sketches, drafts, comps, options, etc. A good-looking first draft will do.
  • For at least some of your logos, you can draw inspiration from existing high-profile company logos. Pretend like you're doing a redesign for, say, Microsoft, Adidas or Calvin Klein, then just place the words “Designed On Spec” to indicate that you were not actually hired by the company but have created potential (speculative) options you would present to them if you were hired. This can lend an air of prestige and credibility, even though Bill Gates hasn't cut you any checks lately.

Follow these steps, and in just a little more than three months you'll have an impressive 100-logo deep portfolio primed to win work. logo-collage Image CC license Flickr.

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:21 am #
Brian's picture
Brian January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

Wow Robert! Your logos are incredibly clever and well-designed! Sexy Cooking? The Facebook Gun? Awesome! But I really dig the Day 13, Flying Pictures, Smart Cube and Wine World logos - seems like you hit an extra creative spurt during that time period.

I encourage everyone to check the rest of Robert's logos out and then to take the challenge yourself: 100 logos in 100 days, and let's add (per Robert's own rules) that no more than 100 minutes can be spent on any logo.

Kudos to you, Robert - great designs, and I'm sure others will be inspired by your work!

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

I tried to concentrate more on the ideas and the pure fun of it, that's why some logos aren't really logos but illustrations. That's the freedom I took in this project.
I am really happy with #13, World Wine Fest, New World Odor and in general with 15-20% of all the logos.
It was fun but sometimes stressful when the clock is ticking and you have no idea what to create for that day :)

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