Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Portfolio Preparation

Whether you are a designer, illustrator, photographer, or artist it is important for you to have an effective way to show your work and talent to potential employers or clients. The portfolio is a crucial part of the hiring process. It may not only get you an interview, but it also may clinch a job offer.

As any marketing professional will tell you, packaging counts. And that's especially true when it comes to your portfolio. Although creating a strong portfolio may seem like a daunting process, it doesn't have to be.

Selecting Samples
The first step is deciding which pieces to include - the goal is to select items that best represent your core strengths and industry experience while showcasing your creativity, technical ability and range.

Organizing Items
If properly organized, your portfolio will demonstrate to clients how your skills will meet their needs and how they can profit from hiring you.

Customizing Content
Ultimately, your portfolio should resemble a well-written resume - it should be relevant and easily customized. Always match your qualifications with the unique needs of the potential employer. Researching the company's website, learning about its history and the various products and services it provides, and any material it produces (e.g., brochures, annual reports, design samples), will help you identify which of your talents will best serve the company.

Portfolio Format
Printed Portfolios

Traditionally the contents of a portfolio have been presented using color copies, 35mm slides, or examples of publications (tear sheets).

The most common type of portfolio is the simulated leather, multi-ring portfolio with pages that allow inclusion of loose samples. This has the advantage of keeping your work in sequence and well protected. Avoid large, "student" size books which are too big to fit on an art director's desk. Most artists choose 8 ½ x 11, 11 x 14, or 18 x 24".

Online Portfolios
All artists and designers are using technology to showcase their work. (You can let employers know you would be happy to provide high quality printed work or slides upon request – if applicable to your field). Your online portfolio holds the advantage of showcasing your services 24/7, enabling potential clients to find you with just a few clicks. Make sure it clearly conveys who you are and the services you offer, and provides complete contact information.

Find the Right Online Solution -- You can create a unique portfolio and you don’t have to be a web designer. Find technology that you feel comfortable with (for example, blogs are a great (free) option, just use the ability to upload photos and text to suit your needs (you are not going to use blog features). Remember, it is about showing off your WORK not the portfolio.

For more detailed information about portfolios visit

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