Work And Glasses

Portfolios Uncovered

Posted on October 29, 2013 ยท Posted in Self Promotion

A well created portfolio can make or break your creative career, so make sure you get the formula spot-on.

The purpose of a portfolio is to impress, and to introduce and attest to your create skills. As such, it requires a certain amount of context. It should show a prospective employer or potential client what you are capable of producing, how you solve creative problems and how you rise to challenges. Above all else it should provide a visual calling card for them to remember you will.

Simplicity, honesty and attention to detail are all important, but there are a myriad more tricks and tips to ensure that your portfolio sings louder than those of your contemporaries.


Digital Portfolio

  • Think like a client – What would a prospective client or collaborator want to see on your portfolio website? Examples of your work, for sure – but also information on what other specialisms you have, what your availability and experience is, as well as clear contact points and a spot of personality.
  • Use simple language – Don’t sprout gobbledey gook or marketing mumbo jumbo on your website, and refain from long winded creative rants. Keep your commentary short, simple, direct and informative, mentioning a project name, a brief description and a link to any further work.
  • Keep the typography simple – The typography you select for your online portfolio needs to be subtle and in a percentage of black. Preferably a default and web safe font, using grey type and a light weight so the text sits back and lets the work do most of the talking.
  • Don’t forget the news – Giving your portfolio a sense of timeliness and topicality by including regular dates and news stories. New work coming on a regular basis, clippings from interviews or images of private projects all contribute toware and help boost your reputation as a creative

Print Portfolio

  • Think about numbers – For a printed portfolio you don’t want more than 10 peices. You can show more with a digital portfolio, but don’t overwhelm your viewers. be just as judicial in selecting good work, and categorise and group your work as much as possible.
  • Take a pro’s approach – Invest time in taking good photographs and improving them in Photoshop. Sure this can be a chore, but you’ll reap the rewards when your prints come back looking awesome.
  • Be consistant – How you shoot your work – for example, what backgrounds you use, colour, type and formats – should be consistent through out your portfolio. Show any prospective clients that you understand the importance of a coherent graphics identity to hold a diverse selection of work together.
  • Show evolution – It’s important to keep your portfolio up to date, but it should also somehow present your journey so far. It’s cool to have some ‘old’ but good projects in your portfolio, especially when they show your evolution as a designer.
  • Express your self – Your portfolio is a tool with which to express yourself, so decide which projectw are most important to you and include them. What work are you most proud of.


  • Keep it short – If its over two minutes, it’s to long. You really have to think of a show reel as a pop song or an advert – you’ve got around 20 seconds to impress, so that means grabbing attention and keeping it high quality.
  • Don’t forget the details – It’s essential to put you name and contact details at the end of your show reel. it might sound obvious, but people do forget! accessibility is also crucial so make sure you’ve created your reel in a format that everybody can view.
  • Behind the scenes – Including shot breakdowns and development work can be as important as the final result, but be inventive with how the process can be animated. this can also be a great way of showing a piece that you don’t have the resources to complete, for example.
  • Physical call outs – If you make a physical package and send your DVD out as a promotional piece, be sure the packaging says as much about your work as possible. Provide a decent amount of visual info, but make it easy to take in. try to sum up your work with sequential thumbnail stills.