Developing a portfolio requires you to evaluate your work as unemotionally as possible.
It requires a keen sense of organization and ability to arrange written and visual materials into a unified graphic package.
A good portfolio illustrates your strengths and demonstrates that you have a clear understanding of format, graphic design, concept development, problem-solving, and business communication.
It not only represents a body of work, it displays the work in such a way that your design skills are evident.
1. Identify the objectives of the portfolio
Who is the audience? What do you want the portfolio to express to them?
What skills do you want to emphasize?
What do you want to focus on in the future?
2. Portfolio Audit
Complete the portfolio audit:
Select projects to include
Decide how many pages to devote to each project; which pieces of work will represent the project and which will be excluded
Decide what type of reproduction method is appropriate for each piece
Decide the order of the projects
Audit: Story Board
Audit: Thumbnail Sketches
Sketch out relative size and position of work in more detail than storyboard.
3. Portfolio Format
Determine the portfolio format:
Size (standard, oversize, or mini)and
Shape (vertical/portrait or horizontal/landscape or square)
Folding and mounting processes
4. Enclosing System
Decide on enclosing system:
1. Zippered with spiral binding mechanism, sheets, and protectors
2. Zippered, with individual boards
3. Attache, individual boards, no binder
4. Customized case (wood, metal, cardboard)
5. Easel binder with sheets and protectors
6. Small box for diskette
Methods of Binding
Corrugated cardboard box with folders
with bi- and tri-
5. Graphic Design and Page Layout
Graphic design: Decisions about placement of text and typography, size, placement, and distribution of illustrations, and choice of reproduction method. Do the portfolio and the visual images communicate the intended message? Do the graphics help communicate the message or get in the way?
Page layout: Use of a template or grid to guide you in positioning and scaling images or text and help you maintain a consistent design.
Ways of arranging columns of text on horizontal or vertical formats
Ways of arranging heads
Sample Page Layouts
Vertical 2-column Horizontal 2-column
Flexible 3-column grid
Best way to arrange projects and pages within each project
How much weight to assign an element
May be governed by design process, changing size of images, growing complexity, evolving forms, or change of scale
Will help determine number of pages devoted to each project
How to create good transition between projects
TYPES OF PORTFOLIOS
Traditional portfolio for interview
Sample portfolio to mail with resume
Digital portfolio for interview and/or to mail
Include range of project types
Include range of presentation types including manual drafting, freehand, CADD, and other digital images
Start and end with best work
Include some elements to create unity and cohesion between projects (e.g., graphics, typeface, size, titleblocks)
Consider presentation time (include only what you have time to show)
What to Include
Brief explanations/descriptions of design problem, design concept for each project
Concept drawings and ideation of projects included in portfolio
How much text is necessary to include in your portfolio? For a direct client presentation written words are not as important as the visual experience. Your interaction and people skills become most important. With Websites it is much like a magazine. Use approximately 2/3 photographs and images and 1/3 text, but make the text count. Stating your philosophy, the name project, size, scope, date and other specifics provides valuable information .
TRADITIONAL PORTFOLIO FORMATS
Take a good look at your work and do whatever you can to emphasize your abilities. “Satisfactory” portfolios are easy to come by, so figure out a way to make yours dynamic.
Should be easily transportable or shipped
Common format sizes:
20” x 30”, 8” x 10”, 8-1/2” x 11”, 11” x 14”, 11” x 17”,
16” x 20”
Orient all examples either horizontally or vertically if possible
Mount originals or images of sketches, plans, and renderings on backing material and insert into plastic sleeves
TRADITIONAL PORTFOLIO FORMATS
For large portfolio formats, include original work
For smaller formats (more common):
Professional quality photographs
PMTs to reduce working drawings and other B&W technical work
Photocopy reductions of B&W technical work
35 mm slides
TRADITIONAL PORTFOLIO FORMATS
One approach for a small format portfolio is to increase the size of each image or photograph, attach it into a board and then individually pull out each photograph to view, rather than having someone thumb through a portfolio quickly. Show only the best of the best and think about what you might say regarding each project.
Submitted with cover letter and resume. Offers a quick look at your work.
Send to targeted firms
Reduced color or B&W copies
Scanned images used in conjunction with page design software
Need well-designed package to house documents
Digital or PowerPoint Presentations
Some firms may have equipment specifically designed for PowerPoint. This method creates a slide show with flying text, custom graphics, and sound for effective presentations.
Select common font
Provide good contrast between text and background
Use clear images, free of distortion
If sound is included, be sure it is appropriate and not annoying
This method enables you to leave a sample of your work with a prospective employer to view and generate a "wow" factor. Consider eye-catching animation.
Make them idiot-proof
Include instructions for operation and troubleshooting
Make sure they will play on the majority of computers
Coordinate case with portfolio and resume
Include contact information on case and in presentation
This method allows prospective employers worldwide to view your work. The key to success with this method is keeping it extremely professional and not linking to any personal site, if possible. Scan only your best work and minimize the size of each graphic, so each page loads quickly.
The best way to present your work is to find the most dynamic alternative available to you. The position you seek and the type of firm you are considering will influence what they might be looking for in the work presented by a student. It is best to show a broad base of abilities and styles.
Remember selling yourself to a prospective employer is much like selling your services to a potential client. Make the presentation as slick as possible, give it thought and add your own personal style. A portfolio presentation that is easy to alter, as you develop and projects change, is preferable.
First impressions count and the attention and detail you give your portfolio shows.