Mimimum Viable Case Studies

Case studies suck to create as a designer and are awful to read for hiring managers. Here’s a few tips on what you can do instead.

A simple outline to follow:

A real example:
Here’s the exact PDF portfolio I used to land a lead product design role:
👉 Tyler’s PDF portfolio

Things that you absolutely need, aka the minimum viable case study:

Note ☝️
this is more than enough to start a conversation with a hiring manager. Full stop. If the final result > doesn’t hit the bar for the role you’re applying to no amount of writing, process images, etc is going to turn > things around.

Here’s what I’d recommend if you have time and want to round out your MVCS:

General portfolio tips:

Portfolio case study VS interview case study

First, these don’t have to be the same thing. Case studies in your portfolio can be higher level, lighter, simpler. If you’re asked to present a case study during an interview you then have options.

Simplest option is to add a “talk track” to your case study. During your interview have talking points ready to share about the work as you walk through it.

A more complex option is to pick one of your case studies and expand it. Add more detail, more media, etc.

Footnote: who the heck are you?

TL:DR: I’ve hired 20+ designers (mostly product + brand) and reviewed well over 10,000 portfolios.

I currently lead product + design at a Series A startup. Prior to that I was VP of Design at Buffer. And prior to that I ran a product design agency for years. This is just my take as both a designer and hiring manager. Your mileage will vary :-)