Now, I’m not here to crush designer dreams. If your goal is to design for Nike then work towards that goal. Goals are good. But chances are that as part of your career you will need to produce designs for someone other than a well known shoe brand.
Let’s take health insurance. There is no physical product to silhouette in PhotoShop. There are lots of things that need explaining, and moreover, convincing people they need it can be hard as hell. Not only do we need to cater for different user types having come to our web page based on different triggers, (typically a life event), but there would also be a range of business requirements. Even if you apply big, bold typography and tell a compelling story through parallax scrolling and clever animation, you still need to include disclaimers and other highly unsexy legal copy.
I have also seen some really nice re-designs of Netflix and IMDB. Definitely a fun area to stretch your design legs, but did you know that some major Hollywood stars has in their contract that their faces can not be obstructed by graphics. Yup, there goes your big fancy overlay typography. (For the NEON project we dubbed this the ‘Cruise-Clause’). And that is just one out of many business requirements you need to consider.
Designing shoe and headphone product cards can be a fun exercise, but in the absence of any rationale it’s mostly just visual masturbation. My point is that UX and UI design is about problem solving for both business and customer needs. If you can show that you have understood and designed for that while still making it sexy, then I’ll be truly impressed.