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Art Students: Portfolio Show Dos & Don'ts

Art Students: Portfolio Show Dos & Don'ts

Elisha-Rio Apilado

The last semester of your senior year in design school is pretty tough.

It’s even tougher when your years of class taking and projects have a chance to become a piece in your portfolio. Pieces that together, will hopefully allow you to standout from the competition and get your perfect graphic design job straight after graduation.

Visual Art Degrees

What’s the name of this showdown? It’s the Portfolio Show.

What is a portfolio show?

It’s the ultimate critique, ever. It’s the one where you stand up in front of everyone and get stared at — okay not just you, but at all the hard work you’ve done for the past four years. The spectators range from family members, to fellow colleagues, professors, and most importantly, employers. Your portfolio and all your artwork transforms into bait to attract all those recruiting for their company or maybe looking for a freelance designer.

Show them your goods, the best of your goods. Those excuses you used for a final presentation in class such as “My Epson ran out of Light Cyan last night and they were sold out everywhere!” won’t work this time. So stock up on paper, on ink, and have your external hard drive at hand to back up your work constantly. The portfolio show has to be flawless and run smoothly. It’s the window to career opportunities. How well you do at the show predicts how well you’ll do (and handle stress) when you plunge into the dark waters of the real world graphic design industry.

The decisions you make in preparation and the execution of your portfolio show can affect your future career (or really, your goal to get a job right away). Now that doesn’t mean if you decided to wait a bit before getting a job you don’t have to follow these rules of what NOT do it. It’s better to do it now than never right? Get it right the first time. You’re going to be in a room full of your competition. Would you really want to be next to someone’s booth who has an outstanding portfolio set up, bound books and package design objects, while your booth is just your business card, resume and an aluminum book laying flat on the table? No probably not, as this is not at all a proper professional presentation.

In order for this not to happen, I’ve outlined the four faux pas of a portfolio show:

Next: The Four Faux Pas of a Portfolio Show →


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