Showcasing your secret work
At some point in your professional career you will want to have a portfolio to showcase your work. For the majority of designers and developers this is just a matter of registering a domain and building a site.
However, for some, it isn’t quite that easy. Maybe you worked for a private company, a private-beta application or a top-tier agency that likes to keep their design and development consultants private. This can cause an issue when you decide to venture out on your own looking for more contacts.
The first, and probably most obvious way around this is to ask the company you worked with for the ability to post work, but sometimes the “secrecy” requirement comes from the client the agency worked with. For instance, I know developers that work at agencies with clients such as Ford and Lincoln, but they cannot disclose which projects and creatives the team was responsible for.
I actually have been in this position for the last few years. Other than my writing projects, I have been working on entertainment based projects that are forbidden from portfolios, with an exception. It turns out I am able to post and talk about these projects on an “ask basis”. What this means is, per project I can ask to publish the information in my portfolio for future work, as long as I don’t directly compete (common sense).
This exception is not the norm, but definitely welcomed by me and other creative professionals. Sometimes the top-teir work makes you a ghost in the industry, so what I like to do is take “lower profile” projects to keep my skills and portfolio up-to-date. This way I can keep working on the fun projects, but maintain an active work list, if need be.
I hope this information helps others out there that have a “secret” portfolio and if you have other tips, please post a comment.