Creating a Great Design Portfolio: Print Versions

No matter what stage you’re in, in your design career (or hobby), your portfolio will always be the most important tool in your repertoire. If you’re applying for jobs, physical portfolios are an almost mandatory part of the process, and having an online portfolio is a must for any serious designer these days. Portfolios are meant to be the most accurate representation of you. They should present your very best (or most important) work in a way that tells your individual story. Every portfolio will be different, but this mini series will provide some tips that will help you make sense of the whole portfolio process.

If You’re Creating Your Portfolio For An Interview:

Curate Role-Appropriate Examples
When you’re applying for a job, the physical portfolio you bring will likely be a one-time-use collection of your work. With that in mind, you need to make sure that a large portion of the work you present paints a picture of how you are qualified for your job. If you’re applying for a job designing logos, your portfolio will look very different from the one you would present for a web site design position.

Show off Your Skills
Just because you should be focusing on presenting a majority of role-relevant work, that doesn’t mean you can’t show off other work. The rule of thumb for a physical portfolio is to have at least 20 pages of work, so make sure you dedicate some of that to work that you are proud of. No matter what the occasion, always work to find a way to fit in your most brilliant projects. Don’t be afraid to show off.

All interviewers will want to know what your capabilities are. The beauty of a printed portfolio is that you can show your creativity through its physical presentation as well. If you have the means to do so, feel free to make your portfolio another part of your portfolio story.

Here are some beautiful examples of “out-of-the-box” portfolios:

Nathan Hinz’s Beautiful Portfolio Made from Found Materials:

Alper Yildirim’s Amazing Folding Portfolio:

Alper Yildirim portfolio

Alper Yildirim portfolio

Alper Yildirim portfolio

Create Case Studies
Be sure to write up brief, succinct case studies for some of the work you present. Case studies are fantastic to put your projects into perspective. Include the thought processes, stages and and problems you encountered within the project’s development. Including your work process allows for your potential employers to learn so much more about you as a designer.