Portfolio Ideas and Tips

We asked our members to submit tips and ideas of keeping a portfolio updated and fresh.

First decide on your format. Panels of board with mounted work or a flip style ring binder with vinyl sheets. I like the vinyl flip books opposed to the mounted work on boards. It keeps your work shown in the order you choose and in a consistent manner. The boards could be awkward to handle and what if they are dropped. You can show layout spreads or panels of printed work then have the real printed piece loose in a folder. An art director once told me it might be a good idea to group different types of projects--for example: sections for Web work, logos, printed pieces and etc. Choose only your best work to show. Best to show 8 really great pieces rather than 15 pieces that have some weak pieces thrown in for filler.

It's always good to have 2 or even 3 versions of your portfolio. A smaller size (9" x 12") for portfolio dropoffs--be sure that you have back ups of your work as there is chance of misplacing your book--maybe color copies or inkjet prints are good for this version. It is also good for mailing to a prospective employer or client who requests a portfolio. I have even sent off an 8.5"x 11" size book with inkjet prints and color copies. A larger size (11"x15") is good to have when showing your work in person.

Design yourself a nice leave behind piece to give the client or reviewer after your interview. Postcard size pieces with artwork and contact information is good--almost like a larger size business card with a sample of your work. Think of designing a piece that will represent your style of work and something that the art director or reviewer would keep on file or on their desk. You might try a simple logosheet or logo flip book. Maybe a bookmark with illustrations on them. Be creative.

Showing printouts of Web design work is good. Maybe show the home page and a secondary page. A brief description of your role on the project and listing the url is suggested. Printing 2 screen shots per page should be sufficient. If you are on a limited budget, print outs from inkjets can be used to show in your book--the technology is remarkable now.

Consider creating an on-line portfolio for yourself. Your work can be seen by the world with a touch of a button. Employers can review your work instantaneously after receiving your resume or an inquiry--this could be a good thing or a bad thing--it may save some time by both parties. On the otherhand, if your work is a creative fit then it may spark an interview and possibly land you that job. Clients can get a good idea of the style and type of work that you do and sometimes a site is used for referencing color combinations or type treatments for a client. Preliminary sketches and concepts can be uploaded to your site with ease and updating new work is easy and inexpensive. Don't forget about referrals--past clients and visitors to your site may refer someone to your site looking for your particular style and craft--this has happened to me a few times. They say if you are looking for a job in user-interface design then you should have an electronic version of your portfolio--a Web site designed in html or Flash.