I went through 500 junior UI designer portfolios in 2022 and almost 150 in 2023 already. Then I tried tracking their career — finding out who ended up employed and who didn’t.
The results were quite interesting.
Looking at the data and my comments to their portfolios I noticed patterns. Those patterns in turn led to a simple cutoff line being drawn.
You need to be THIS good to get hired.
There are levels of skill to UI design. If you want to get hired you need to at least aim for level four. You can also go above level five, it’s not the absolute top, but four and five are definitely a place to be.
Most designers I reviewed were on level 3 — almsot there, but not quite. Some were at level 2. There were a handful on level 1.
I paid special attention to levels 4 and 5 though as after just months the majority (88%) of them got their first UI (or graphics design) job.
This breakdown is not about problem solving (unless you count ugly, unreadable UI as a problem — which I do). This is about making a UI design that people will find interesting enough to spend more than 8 seconds looking at it.
The main areas of evaluation are:
Layout and structure (consistency)
Colors and gradients
five levels of UI design
level 1 (left) vs level 5 (right)
From level one to level five
There is a stark difference between levels one and five. Most regular people, non-designers, can immediately tell you why the design on the right is better. Some people will argue the opposite, because there are outliers everywhere. That’s ok.