Attention recent graduates: What to include in your portfolio - part 2

January 14, 2009

Read Part 1.

Let's cover a few basics.

Choose a portfolio that will accommodate a 17-inch-by-11-inch sample. It should be easy to carry (even in heels, girls). I prefer the cases that have the separate books inside. They are more versatile. Buy the best one you can afford because you will have it for years. This is no place to skimp. Just like your interview clothes, it is a reflection of your professionalism

Mount all the samples on black or dark gray paper. You want them to notice your samples, not the background. The mounting paper color should be the same throughout your book and should fit snuggly in a clear vinyl sleeves. You may choose to use spray mount, tiny pieces of double stick tape or a recently found favorite of mine, glue dots. Glue dots hold pieces in place and can be easily repositioned without damaging your sample

I like to put a red dot on my portfolio so I know which side is the front. This way I’m not flipping it around on the conference room table and getting flustered. Make sure that you have your name, address and phone number on your portfolio and extra business cards and/or resumes inside Last but not least, store your portfolio flat whenever possible. If it must be vertical, store it with the pages hanging. This will prevent the vinyl sleeves from rippling. Also, don’t forget to dust if off before you go on the next interview. Dust really shows up on the black.

A few great additional items to consider: an online portfolio, a PDF portfolio on CD or a leave-behind printed from your color printer, which includes small images of a few of your best pieces.

With these few preparations you will be ready to handle anything.

Please share your ideas/suggestions. Tell us what has worked or hasn’t worked for you.


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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.