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Creating Sound Design Portfolio Made Easy: A Complete Guide

Table of Contents

After you’ve mastered the fundamentals of sound design from your music school or music course, the next step is to look for a job as a sound designer, right?

However, simply comprehending sound design isn’t enough to secure a job. You’d have to showcase your skills and convince your potential employers to hire you – and having a sound designer portfolio is a good way to go.

But how do you create a portfolio that effectively demonstrates your skills and persuades future employers to hire you? Leave your confusion behind as we’ll discuss how to start building your sound portfolio in this article.

How To Create A Sound Design Portfolio In Easy 7 Steps

sound design portfolio

Image source: Freepik.com

  1. Make A Short But Catchy Description About Yourself

First impressions matter. This is why you should always start your portfolio with a short but catchy introduction.

You can introduce your work experiences, educational background, and skills. However, since this section isn’t a resume, you may use a more relaxed tone to introduce yourself.

  1. Choose Your Best Works

The main essence of making a sound design portfolio is to showcase your best works. By best, we’re referring to the works you’re most proud of or have gained remarkable recognition.

For example, if you have any projects featured in a video game, film, or TV series, you may include them in your portfolio. Or, if any of your projects won a competition, adding them to your portfolio will demonstrate your ability to produce outstanding work.

On the other hand, if you showcase any project you carelessly made, for the sake of just filling your portfolio, it will appear disorganised and unprofessional. So make sure you curate your works, ensuring only the best pieces are included in your sound design portfolio.

  1. Diversify Your Works

Aside from choosing your best works to display on your sound design portfolio, one thing you shouldn’t miss out on is to diversify your works. While having one specific specialisation, for instance in video games, can be a selling point, don’t let it prevent you from mastering other fields.

Sound design encompasses wider media forms, including films, TV shows, podcasts, and more. This is why you should try to diversify your work to show that you, as an individual, are up to challenges and adaptable.

If your work still lacks diversity, here’s what you should do:

  • Experiment with other mediums: If your speciality lies in video games, it’s now time to expand your skills in other mediums, such as films, TV shows, or podcasts. This will help you learn from the challenges and requirements of different media.
  • Try other sound design styles: Sound design is a field that requires high creativity. So there’s nothing wrong with getting out of your comfort zone and trying a different style of sound design.
  • Show your ability to operate various tools: Working as a sound designer requires your skills in operating audio-related tools. So it is important to showcase your ability to operate various tools, such as Logic Pro, Pro Tools, FL Studio, and more.

Overall, by diversifying your work, you’re proving that you’re an adaptable individual. This will further open up more opportunities to work in various fields.

  1. Describe Your Work Processes

Sound design is broken down into three stages: pre-production, production, and post-production. These stages are interconnected. Your ability to execute them highly influences the final sonic palette output.

Make sure to articulate these processes in your sound design portfolio. Use an interesting storytelling concept to keep your potential employers or clients hooked.

To be clearer, here’s what the three stages entail: 

Pre-Production Stage

The pre-production stage is when all the planning starts. You can describe your efforts in understanding what sounds are needed for the visuals you’re working on.

If you happen to work with directors or producers, you may also explain how you process their briefs. Show that while you’re able to follow directions, you’re still adding value by bringing your own artistic vision into the mega plan.

Production Stage

This is when you begin creating the sounds needed for the projects. Explain the whole process of obtaining the sounds to make the visuals of the projects more lively and engaging for the audience.

Recording real environment sounds, instruments or objects, and voiceovers are the common methods that sound designers use to obtain sounds. Other techniques such as sourcing sound libraries and foley are also used to get the necessary sound effects.

Post-Production Stage

This is the last stage of sound design which entails blending the raw audio you produced to match the visuals. Clearly explain how you carry out the process to achieve cohesive and dynamic soundscapes.

It’s also important to mention the tools you use during the audio post-production stage. This may include digital audio workstations (e.g., Logic Pro, Pro Tools, or FL Studio), plugins and hardware processors.

  1. Ensure Your Works Are Easily Accessible

A sound design portfolio serves as a means to guide your potential employers or clients in evaluating your skill set. That’s why your projects must be easily accessible without any technical issues occurring that can frustrate them.

One of the most common technical issues is file format incompatibility. This issue typically happens in web-based portfolios, where projects are unable to load without using a certain software.

In this case, you need to convert your files to widely compatible formats and make your portfolio easily accessible. MP4 and WebM are the recommended formats, as they strike a balance between compatibility and compression, ensuring smoother video playback and faster loads.

  1. Update Your Portfolio Regularly

Keep your sound design portfolio updated regularly. This is because as you continue to hone your skills in this field, your craft will improve over time. The projects you made years ago may be different in quality and style than now.

As someone looking to advance in the field, you’d want potential employers or clients to see your current skill set. Without updating your portfolio, you risk coming across as stagnant, as the skills you had previously may no longer reflect your current abilities.

That is why you should update your portfolio regularly. Ideally, every time you complete a project that you are proud of, you should be able to immediately add it to your portfolio. 

  1. Include Your Contact Information

Contact information helps potential employers or clients to reach you out if they’re interested in collaborating with you. Ensure that you have your email or social links presented in your portfolio.

Recommended Platforms To Display Your Sound Design Portfolio

There are vast options of platforms that you can use to display your sound design portfolio. You can choose between a simple method and one that is more complicated but appears more professional. Details are as follows:

Social Media

Using social media makes it easier to display your sound design portfolio. You can upload your work to platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook and describe each of the projects in a single post.

Apart from being a simple method for displaying your work, social media also makes it easy to connect with other sound designers. You can share your techniques and exchange ideas with professionals from all over the world – which in turn, increases your likelihood of landing lucrative projects in the near future.

Website

Using a website to display your sound design portfolio may be more complicated, as it requires your aesthetic sense to construct the web. However, despite being more complex, it makes you appear more professional.

Aside from looking more professional, a web-based portfolio allows you to rank in search engines by implementing SEO strategies. This helps potential employers or clients find you through search engines, which can lead to lucrative projects.

What If I Have No Work Experience?

Having no past work experience after finishing music school or any other music courses shouldn’t stop you from creating a sound design portfolio. Here’s what we recommend you to do:

  1. Create Personal Projects

Even without work experience, you can still showcase your sound design skills by creating personal projects. The most common way to make personal projects is by redesigning sounds from existing audiovisual content such as films, video games, or TV show clips.

The purpose of redesigning sounds is to learn how to make sounds from existing content better and more interesting. It lets you explore your creativity by identifying which sounds are good and which can be improved.

  1. Include Your Student Works

The student works you produced during your studies, such as in the Diploma in Electronic Music Production and Sound Design, count as past projects. You can include them in your sound design portfolio by also describing your learning processes for creating the sounds.

For example, you can discuss the concepts you learned in your coursework and how you applied them in your projects. You may also highlight the exploration you went through to discover new sounds, techniques, and technologies.

How To Get A Job With My Sound Design Portfolio?

Most full-time sound design jobs require 2 – 3 years of working experience. Don’t worry. Even if you don’t have much experience, your portfolio can still lead you to becoming a sound designer in the following ways:

  1. Network With Like-Minded Individuals

As previously mentioned, showcasing your portfolio on social platforms is one way to get your sound design works noticed. However, simply having your projects noticed won’t get you anywhere unless you network with professionals in the field (e.g., sound designers, audio engineers, filmmakers, and more).

By networking with those individuals, you open yourself up to new opportunities. The potential may include engaging in insightful discussions, receiving mentorships, or being hired into apprenticeship jobs.

  1. Try Freelancing Platforms

Freelancing platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr allow you to find short-term or project-based sound design jobs. Many clients on these sites don’t require specific years of experience, as long as you have a portfolio demonstrating your skills.

As a freelancer on these platforms, you can search for job postings that match your qualifications and negotiate directly with clients. Although freelancing lacks financial stability, it offers an excellent opportunity to gain practical experience, build a portfolio, and establish client relationships.

  1. Apply for Apprenticeship Jobs

Apprenticeship jobs are usually offered by production companies, sound design studios, or post-production facilities. As an aspiring sound designer, this is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience and mentorship in the industry.

Apprenticeship roles provide you with hands-on experience and professional mentorship. Those who will guide you typically include sound designers and audio engineers from whom you can learn and receive feedback on your work.

If you perform well in the apprenticeship programme, you may be promoted to a full-time sound designer position. Your seniors may also invite you to take part in future, interesting freelance projects.

Final Thoughts

After all, your understanding of sound design is insufficient to help you land on lucrative projects. As an aspiring sound designer, a portfolio is a must-have item to showcase your skill set in the industry.

In this article, we’ve explained 7 aspects that you should pay attention to when creating a sound design portfolio. These include:

  • Writing self-introduction
  • Choosing your best works
  • Diversifying your works
  • Describing your work processes
  • Ensuring your portfolio is accessible
  • Updating your portfolio regularly
  • Including your contact information

So we hope that inspires you to create your creative and engaging portfolio that further lands you on a full-time or freelance sound design job. 

As you continue to explore your passion for sound design, you may consider enrolling in a course offered by Orita Sinclair

We have a Diploma in Electronic Music Production and Sound Design and another programmes in our music school which allows you to learn sound design in an immersive environment and connect with other like-minded individuals while receiving professional guidance. 

For further questions, contact us today.

FAQs

How do I make a sound design portfolio?

To make a sound design portfolio, you must collect your best works on a single platform. Don’t forget to describe each of the works to let potential employers or clients evaluate your skill set.

How long should a sound design portfolio be?

Your portfolio should include a 1- to 2-minute video for each project. Avoid making the video too long, as it may bore those watching it.

Why should I have a sound design portfolio?

You should have a sound design portfolio because it serves as proof of your skills. It’s hardly possible to land in a job without it as your employers or clients can’t assess whether or not you’re the right fit.

About Orita Sinclair

Founded in 2002, Orita Sinclair is one of the oldest music and design schools in Singapore. We are committed to fostering a love of design and music in our students by encouraging them to be bold and imaginative in their endeavours.

Here at Orita Sinclair, we believe that theoretical and practical foundations are equally important with the music and graphic design courses that we offer. For that reason, we have put in place a forward-looking curriculum that grounds students in key principles before being guided by field practitioners in applying theory and technical craft in authentic, industry-oriented projects. One of our best programme is Diploma in Interaction Design.

Our supportive learning environment prepares students for the demands and challenges of the music and design industries. At the end of their graphic design courses or music courses, our students are ready to step out into successful careers or pursue degrees at renowned universities.

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