How to Safely Go Around the NDA and Have a Portfolio



Hello All,

I believe most (if not all) UX/UI jobs have us signing NDAs. After signing it, it made me wonder what is safe to take to my portfolio. I understand that we can take what is open to the public already; AKA it launched. What happens to those backoffice tool designs? Those admin tools that isn’t necessarily exposed to the public and only accessible to the paying customer. I know some companies keep them hidden from even their websites to prevent competitors from copying.

Is the only way to get those on my portfolio asking the company for permission? But you don’t want to make it awkward by making it sound like you are trying to build your portfolio to leave.

Also, what about concepts you created for the company that never took off? Is it the company’s property? Do I have any rights in including those in my portfolio?

Is this even something we should worry about?

Would love to hear what everyone else thinks or does.


The conversation in this thread may have some useful information for you.


I spend my life signing NDAs, although they are for customers rather than my employer. (Which reminds me, I should start a topic on that.)

I think it’s always safer to ask, and having a portfolio doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re planning to leave. I think it’s good practice to have a current portfolio regardless of your employment plans.


Just put up your work behind a password protected page.


But how does it prevent you from breaking the law?

I left company almost a year ago and their product still hasn’t launched so the whole system I designed cannot be presented in my portfolio. That’s it. Too bad for me, obviously…
What I would do know (if I was looking for a job) is tweaking a few of the things of the design, colors, logo - obviously, labels on the buttons, maybe the whole functionality and still be able to put it into my portfolio. I’m wondering how this would be treated. What do you think?


I think you’re just being paranoid. Designers do this all the time. You don’t have show the entire project. Just write about your process and show some screenshots. If you truly don’t feel comfortable putting it on your site, just show it in person.


I get the paranoia and I think it’s much safer to be careful here, but I do think that if you change out the branding and are sensitive about what you use, then you’re fine.


So I work in public sector and we can’t share anything; everything is locked down. No way could we put work up there and simply password protect it. We can’t even save work to the desktop on our secure laptops.

So anything on our portfolio has to be heavily redacted: no headings, logos or anything that can identify the project.

In fact today, this very thing arose as I was thinking the current project I work on would make an excellent case study. So the way i’m going to approach it is to tell a story but use imaginary proxies for the elements that were involved; no way can the project be identified.

Just tell the story.


There’s a really good article about this here:


That is indeed a great article. Some practical solutions. Thanks for sharing.