UWF Portfolio Night review

portfolionightTom Moore

Contributing Writer

Graphic design students had the opportunity to network with local business and advertising professionals at Portfolio Night on Tuesday in the Communication Arts Building.

Officially kicking off at 5:30 p.m. with pizza and drinks, the event brought in professionals from nine local businesses for one-on-one reviews of students’ portfolios. As they introduced themselves, professionals imparted words of wisdom, such as: “Generalize, but also specialize. Take a class outside your field, social media, computer-aided design, then pick a specialty that you are passionate about.” “Never stop learning.” “Build solid, long-term relationships with people you look up to.” “Learn to collaborate.”  “Get out of the classroom and experience life.”

Graphic arts faculty from both UWF and Pensacola State College also attended the event, which is sponsored by the American Advertising Federation Pensacola and the Pensacola Designers Group.

Like speed dating, each student had five minutes to talk to one of the representatives and demonstrate his or her passion and interest. Each student then had 15 minutes to have their mentors review their portfolios and offer suggestions or corrections.

Crystal Yu Barrineau, event facilitator and founder of Angri Bunni Studios, graduated from UWF in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Pen Air Federal Credit Union hired her as the sole graphic designer for 18 branches, from Northwest Florida to Brewton, Alabama. She worked at Pen Air for five years before gaining the experience to strike out on her own.

When asked what she felt was the most important gem of wisdom she would impart on her younger self, Yu Barrineau answered, “Always keep your options open. In this economy, in this area, never turn down any opportunity. No matter what, even if you have to take up a job as a waitress, which is fine, keep passing out your business cards, talk to people, network and develop your contacts.

“Other than that, do business locally, spend locally, and develop local connections. All the businesses I have out there are local graphic design businesses, and all are actively hiring local designers, offering internships and providing students with co-op opportunities.”

Senior graphic arts major Christy Highers attended the event and said she received valuable feedback. “It’s really important for me to have my portfolio reviewed by someone other than my peers so that I can get insight as to what I need on a professional level for post-grad.”

Highers said one take-away from the event was to always apply for the job even if you don’t meet the requirements. She plans to do freelance work and was greatly inspired by this quote from a mentor: “If you’re not uncomfortable, then you’re not growing.”

“You basically have to create your own inspiration,” Highers said.