How to Reboot and Present Your Creative Portfolio

Posted by Orfie Krejberg on March 13, 2014

The creative industry is a very “what have you done lately” type of an industry. Technology is ever changing, and with that so do the vehicles designers use to showcase their work. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to help pack your portfolio with the one-two punch you need to stand out from the crowd, and how to present in a way that will make a lasting impression.

Traditional ‘books’ vs. online platforms

The traditional portfolio of print-outs is still a very acceptable way of showcasing your work, but you have to make sure your book is in tip-top shape!

  • Make sure your book is in good condition! Don’t use books that have visible wear/tear and that look as if they’ve been around the block a few times. Invest in something new and think outside the box. Investing in a new portfolio doesn’t have to break the bank. Stores such as Hobby Lobby, Blick Art Supplies and office supply stores may have great options of portfolios that you can use. Don’t be afraid to stray away from the traditional black book.
  • Don’t show pieces that aren’t recent. This is key for more experienced designers who have a large library of work. You should not showcase work that you did years ago. If you don’t have recent samples, get them by doing pro bono work, freelance work or create spec pieces.
  • Downsize. You don’t need a book that is larger than 11×17 – anything larger is just too big.

Going Digital

Go new school and ditch carrying a book and use an iPad or laptop to showcase your work.

  • Make sure you can show your work electronically without the use of an internet connection and never assume that a computer or internet connection will be available when interviewing – you have to bring your own and have everything prepared and ready to go.
  • Include details about your role with each piece so the viewer has some information about what your exact role and contribution was with each piece being shown.

Staying on Trend and Presenting Your Work

  • Put your work in some kind of order –group pieces by project type, or by company – make sure you open with a strong piece and close with a strong piece (if going traditional). If your work is online you can categorize, and be sure to cross-browser test on a Mac and PC!
  • Stay up on design trends. There are tons of resources for designers out there including publications such as Communication Arts, Layers, Print, I.D., How and more. You can also check out other designers work on websites such as,, and Pinterest. Make sure you’re up on the latest fonts, color schemes, and avoid falling into design slumps by becoming complacent with your designs. Don’t just rely on the same old layouts and design styles – push yourself.
  • Don’t present your work using “we”… “we did this, we did that” – when you’re interviewing YOU are being considered, not “we”, so present your work specifically mentioning your contribution with each piece. Was it your concept? Did you do everything from start to finish? Were you given a concept that you had to flush out? How, and what did you do? Did you create the piece from a doodle on a napkin that was given to you? Did you do heavy photo retouching?
  • Re-create an old piece and make it new. If you look at your body of work you can probably find a piece that you would design differently. Refresh that work by recreating it using more updated fonts, color choices, and images. Would you change the layout? You’ll end up with a great before/after piece that you can showcase.
  • Talk about your process while you present. Do you sketch or go straight to the computer? How do you approach your work?
  • Do a dry run of presenting you work to a friend or family member, you could get some great questions or advice on how you can improve your presentation.

New jobs & exciting opportunities await!

If you’re ready to reboot your creative portfolio and get back into the career game, know that Paladin is here to help. Each day, our team adds new creative job openings to our site. You never know what exciting opportunities wait for you on the other side until you finally are ready to open the door.

Don’t wait. Apply today.

Posted in: Creative, Job Search, Job Seekers

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