Portfolio pieces from previous employers

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums PORTFOLIO & RESUME Portfolio pieces from previous employers

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    Clayton Munson

    When you change companies what kinds of files do you take with you for use in your portfolios?  DWG, PSD, JPG, PDF, etc. 

    What kinds of rights do we have as the designers to take these files with us?

    Chris Whitted

    There used to be a few discussions on this topic, but I can only find one recent one at the moment:


    The short answer is it depends, and it’s best to ask. As far as rights, laws vary from place to place as well as depending on contract wording, but typically your employer owns anything you create when working for them.  If it’s purely for your portfolio, there likely isn’t to be much of an issue and you should get copies of whatever format you think you might need.  If you only get a couple of low res jpgs for a website and later decide you want to print an 11×14 format or use a blowup of a particular area you’ll wish you had the psd, for example.

    Mike Metevier

    bla bla bla.  Look, take them in all formats as possible.  So long as your honest about what you did on the project, your fine.   On my protfolio i show all kinds of work i did at other places, i state this during interviews of course to show what i did and where.  I usually leave the logos of the company i worked for when i show them on line and my physical portfolio.  I have never been approched about why i am showing my work that i did at a firm, in fact i have been told when i was laid off to feel free to print out copies of work i did if i wanted to.  


    Also, I recomend to all, as your working on your projects, make physical and digital copies for yourself, when your laid off its not the time to run around and try and play catch up.


    Agreed, Mike.  It’s dog eat dog out there and it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.  If you’re still lucky enough to have a job in an office, copy every project folder you need to help you get that next job.  Your present company is NEVER as loyal to you as you are to it.  As Mike said, just state what part of the project you worked on when you go to your interview.  Don’t worry about what you take from your old employer.  If you worked on the project, then you helped make it happen. When I say take everything I mean everything.  Take images, folder directories, spread sheets, cad details.  Take everything that will make you a better catch for a new firm and a missed opportunity for your old firm.

    Trust me. When a principal at your old firm tries to market a project that you worked on or did ALL the work, he will not mention your name but he will take the credit.  So don’t feel the need to mention theirs unless asked.  The Don said it best, ‘It’s not personal.  It’s just business.”

    Craig Anthony

    Ditto that. I never even thought about whether or not I should take copies of my work. Isn’t there an unwritten rule that allows a person to show future employers their capabilities? If you don’t have a portfolio or work samples you’re going to have a really tough time finding a job.


    “…make physical and digital copies for yourself, when your laid off its not the time to run around and try and play catch up.”


    Oh so true. I gave a firm I worked for 2 weeks notice on Friday and on the following Monday I was given a warm and friendly exit interview. Following the interview in which I was asked a load of questions about my experience with the company, I was told to pack my stuff and I was escorted out the building. How classy was that? I regrettably failed to get copies of my work before I gave notice, so needless to say I was screwed.


    Your present company is NEVER as loyal to you as you are to it.”


    Those are words to live by. Until your employer proves that they care about you, assume that they don’t. Don’t be fooled by empty smiles.

    Mike Metevier

    wow, they escorted you out of the building????  That is not that uncommon.  The bigger the firm, and the more of a jerk the HR person is, the worse you will be treated.  The most important thing is to MAKE PHYSICAL AND DIGITAL COPIES OF EVERYTHING YOU ARE INVOLVED WITH AS YOUR DOING IT.   Dont think you can get it later.  Many firms i have worked for were nice and told me flat out that before i leave i am welcome to print out copies of my work, but you just never know, besides, when your told your laid off your not in the frame of mind to go back over years of projects and find examples of work you did. 


    Hopfully you still have friends that work there that will email or send you copies of your work.

    Craig Anthony

    That’s right…escorted out the building like I was some kind of a bum. It was the first time in my professional career that I wasn’t taken out to lunch or given a going away party. I went from being groomed as the company’s LA/Marketing guy to instant dreg. Talk about awkward, what do you say to your colleagues as you make a quick exit carrying a cardboard box with a potted plant sticking out the top of it? No time for long good byes.


    It was actually humorous to me at the time, because I was in shock that an ENR 500 (or something) company had such a bush league policy. I had worked for some pretty rag-tag small outfits previously and my departure was always handled with class. What a stupid policy, why would anybody want to give a company a two week notice knowing they’ll immediately be shown the door and throw away two weeks pay. I vowed that I would never treat an employee that way. I know companies do that because they’re concerned about sabotage and loss of production, but you just don’t treat people that way-especially professionals.


    The company had IT security dogs there on-site 24/7. I didn’t want anyone to risk their job snooping around my old files on the server and copying my work for me.


    Also, don’t just take PDFs and jpegs. You want to be able to enhance or tweak the drawings for your portfolio.   

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