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How To Create a Graphic Design Portfolio

How To Create a Graphic Design Portfolio

Nealeigh Mitchell | Art Bistro

Your portfolio is your most prized possession and the single most important employment tool. Sure, a degree from a prestigious art school and glowing recommendations can give you a boost, but if you can’t back up the credentials with impressive artwork, you won’t get the job.

Your creative book not only shows what you can do but also reveals how you think and communicate your thoughts. At its most basic, it demonstrates your knowledge of design principles and organizational styles. If done right, it can also shed light on your sense of humor and other personal qualities.

Perhaps most importantly, it establishes your uniqueness and connects your talents with the needs of the potential employer.

Think of it is your blood and guts bound into a book or uploaded onto a computer. The amount of care and time you spend compiling your best work can land you the creative job you want or keep you unemployed.

So how do you make an exceptional book that will stand out among the hundreds of creative job seekers trying to land coveted positions?

What To Include in Your Portfolio:

There is no one-size-fits-all magic portfolio that will dazzle every art director. The more our portfolio reflects an individual company’s needs, the more attractive you will be as a potential employee.

To that end, be prepared to swap out or mix and match pieces depending on the job description. You should also consider the type of job you’re applying for, as this should dictate the pieces you include. For example, studio work will likely require a broader range of skills than a photographer’s assistant position. It’s never a bad idea to show a little breadth, but if you’re applying for a highly specialized position, ditch the filler. Interviewers can spot a padded portfolio a mile away. You may consider crafting several books to demonstrate your distinctive strengths.

How do you choose which of your hundreds of pieces to include? Remember, a portfolio is often judged not by your best work, but by your worst. Just because your first magazine cover print has sentimental value doesn’t mean it has a place in your book. Also, choose pieces that are of the same quality. You don’t want your interviewer wondering about your current skill level.

Here are some of the pieces to consider putting in your portfolio. Some such as type or layout are suitable for all segments of the print industry while others like illustration, photographs, and storyboards are aimed at specific fields.

• Book Designs • Calligraphy
• Design Projects • Film and videotapes
• Fine Art • Illustrations
• Layouts • Logos
• Magazines • Packages
• Photographs • Storyboards
• Thumbnails • Type

Next Page: What Not to Include →

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