How important is it for your portfolio to be cohesive?

I’m currently a de facto in-house designer at a small nonprofit, which has helped me a lot with getting experience, and I’ve been able to do design work for a few non-“house brand” projects, which has helped me build out my portfolio a bit, but to really fill it out I definitely need to include some of my own concept work.

For context, this is my first explicitly design oriented job after graduating 2 years ago with an English/art history BA— but this is the career path I want to go down. After my contract is up this summer I’m going to be job hunting again, hence me worrying about my portfolio.

The problem is that since I have probably less experience than others my age and no design degree, I’m going to be casting a wide net. I don’t want to pin myself down to one design avenue (publishing/editorial vs branding/logos for example), so I want to include lots of different pieces that showcase a “range”. But I’m worried my portfolio is going to look schizophrenic? For example, I have this concept for a meal kit service that I’m designing which would probably play well to an agency, but I’m also thinking about designing concept book covers because I’d also love to work at a publishing house.

SORRY THIS WAS LONG. All that to say, how much variety is so much that “you” don’t come through clearly to someone looking at it? But when is a focused portfolio so focused it starts to limit you?

submitted by /u/chinatowngirl
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