Tips for Portfolio Preparation

Posted by Larry Brantley on December 01, 2008

The portfolio is the single most important element for a creative professional. We all should have one! It is something that is constantly changing and can be customized to fit a particular audience. Ideally, the portfolio should represent your greatest skills or work to date. Do not include anything in your portfolio that you do not enjoy or believe to be a personal asset. The other thing to keep in mind is that clients look for work that is marketable. Fine artwork should be kept in a separate book from commercial work.

Student books are different from an seasoned professional. Somethings that are common to both are:
1– The portfolio should be 15-20 work samples minimum
2– The presentation of the work should be uniform in size and manner by which the samples are presented. E.G.- 11 x 17″ black board & mounted.
3– The nature of the work should represent the type of position for which you are applying.

The portfolios should include as much diversity within the work as possible. It communicates a range of talent. Broadcast, web, and interactive multimedia samples will make a huge difference in your earning potential.

Unlike the resume’, a portfolio should be focused on an individual’s work for the last ten years. Anything older than ten years must be of high importance such as a award-winning design, campaign series or something that is near and dear to the individual.

Self promotion pieces always make BIG points with potential employers. The more customized the better. They won’t necessarily get you the job, but they will get you in the door.

A portfolio case is the best way to submit or present a book. Avoid spiral-bound books with large samples or pages where the sheets become entangled. It disrupts the viewing ease.

Always revisit your book and update the work. An ideal method of initial presentaion is through an online or interactive CD portfolio. Another idea is to mock up a mini-portfolio book. Keep in mind, this is just for a taste of your work, not the final presentation. You must get in front of the client to truly communicate the essence of your work.

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