Attention recent graduates: What to include in your portfolio - part 1

January 14, 2009

This is a question I hear often for designers entering the design field for the first time. Many have little of no “real” work to put in their portfolios. Here is my advice: You should include 10 to 15 pieces. Choose 10 pieces that illustrate your main specialization, plus five or so that demonstrate other talents or areas of interest. It doesn’t have to be printed work that you were paid to do. It can be school work, color printouts, photographs or screen shots. Include designs that you did as favors for friends and family, the business card you designed for yourself or a tutorial. With these samples, you are trying to do two things. Show your design ability and show your knowledge of the software. As you get new samples, make sure to keep your portfolio updated. Place your best pieces first and last. It’s typical for the person to glance at the first few samples and thumb through to the back. They will remember the first and last items. And remember, you don’t have to show them everything in your portfolio. Be aware, if they look disinterested, move on. You may choose to group your pieces by skill, showcasing your web design, for example. Show before and after examples, making sure that the before and afters are clearly labeled. Oh, about labeling, it’s also a great idea to label each item. You can include who the project was for, what the challenge was, and what your solutions were. This information is invaluable if your nerves get the best of you, or if they ask you to leave your portfolio with them for a few days. Consider customizing your portfolio for each interview. Find out ahead of time what clients they serve or what kind of work they are looking for and include those examples in your book. This will be easier as you have more work to include. Don’t rule out creating a few layouts just for them. If they do a lot of health care work, make up a couple of health care ad layouts. It’s always a good idea to practice explaining the pieces in your portfolio. Do it out loud. You will want to have something to say about each piece, pointing out which skills you used to create them and what your thinking process was. Perhaps what you learned in the process. Look for Part 2 tomorrow. And as always, we welcome your comments and posting suggestions.

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January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

[...] « Attention recent graduates, what to include in your portfolio - Part 1 [...]

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.