Creating the perfect portfolio
For the past month, we’ve been looking for a new junior designer at work and I’ve had the honour of seeing all types of portfolios… I must say, it has been interesting for all the wrong reasons. So, to inspire you, I have put together a list of do’s and don’ts for portfolios.
1) First and foremost, DO NOT put a portfolio together in PowerPoint. Many may disagree, but I think a PDF is much more relevant – not to mention easier to transfer and you won’t have font/ style issues.
2) Do not come to an interview accompanied by scraps of paper and cut outs. The person interviewing you is most likely to come to the conclusion that you are untidy. If you do have loose pieces of paper that represent some of your work, rather present them in a booklet.
3) Avoid silly background designs. In fact, keep the background completely white. If it’s a photography portfolio, black and white is perfect. You do not want anything to distract people from the art work.
4) Always bring something with you to leave behind. The interviewer needs something to show his or her superiors when decision time comes.
5) Do not scan in your work, rather use the original digital work. This should be obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often I’ve seen this.
6) If you have a portfolio website, simply include a hyperlink to this on your CV. For me, this is the best form of presentation. It shows the creative ability to keep up with the times, as well as a splash of innovation.
7) Not everyone can make a website, so why not put together a mini mag as your porti and CV. You could include a magazine cover, contents page and all. Binding such books is cheap. Avoid flip files as they are as just as tacky as a PowerPoint presentations. Don’t spend too much money on it though, as you’ll be leaving this version of your porti behind for the interviewers to go through.
8) A Flash presentation is a super option. Nothing is more engaging than a Flash presentation that includes a very short intro animation. To make the presentation more powerful, add a hyperlink back to your website.
9) Do not place all of your work in the portfolio. 12 to 15 examples of your best work should do the job. You do not want to overwhelm the interviewer I personally get bored by the 15th artwork example, no matter how brilliant it is.
10) Don’t use other people’s work!
So, which is the best type of portfolio? Is it the PDF, Flash, website or printed version?The best way to approach this dilemma is to cover all your bases by including all of them. Yup – all of them. Some interviewers may not have Flash player to play your flash portfolio. Some may want the ‘touchy feely’ option and some may simply want a link to your work so they can browse through it in their own time. What I’m saying is, be extra prepared.
I hope these points direct you in the right direction.
If you have other tips on creating a powerful portfolio please do share them in the comments section below.