Clockwork was thrilled to participate in the Portfolio 1-on1 festivities with AIGA Minnesota again this year and give a $1,500 scholarship to an emerging experience designer. And I was personally thrilled to be able to help decide who would walk away with the awards.

This year’s stats…

  • Scholarships Offered: 7 (more than ever)
  • Portfolios Submitted: ~57 (more than ever)
  • Judges: Paul Wharton (Larsen), Bill Burns (Ultra Creative), Jamey Erickson (representing Software for Good), Me

All of the judges were expecting to see more digital work this year because of its unavoidable importance in the industry. There certainly was more than previous years, but it still wasn’t to where we all thought it should be. There was 1 —I repeat 1 — iPad submitted as a portfolio. That iPad belonged to Nick Kluskowski, who is in his third year at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Upon opening said iPad, I was immediately impressed as I swiped through: The quality kept building, the thought processes kept emerging, and then finally the animation started to happen. This, in my mind, is the portfolio of today’s designer.

In Nick’s portfolio, I saw someone who understands the value of not only creating something beautiful, but something that has an experience. His portfolio was the perfect representation of someone who understands the medium. It was a portfolio of someone who is genuinely interested in learning and exploring everything they can about “experience.” Someone who knows that UX, design, and development go hand-in-hand to create those experiences. Those qualities couldn’t align more with what it means to be a Clockworker, so Nick was the obvious choice. Design ability evolves as you practice, but the genuine passion for digital and the fearlessness that I saw in Nick’s portfolio can’t be taught.

Here are a few samples of Nick’s work: