As a graphic designer, your portfolio is everything: it should be constantly evolving with every new job, accomplishment and skill you learn, and the design itself – whether in print or digital form – should demonstrate all your creative abilities. A portfolio should showcase your entire creative process from idea conception to design comps and the delivery and launch of the final product. For both working freelance and working in-house graphic design, your portfolio should act as your business card in all future endeavors.
With a killer portfolio that speaks for itself, the rest of the application process will be a piece of cake. Provide a CV, a cover letter, and perhaps if you’re a freelancer, send it all off from your own branded email address to add a touch of professionalism and sophistication. But first, perfect your portfolio by following a few simple tips:
1. Print or Digital?
While there are particular advantages to both digital and print portfolios, and some companies may only ask for one or the other, there is a lot to be said for having both options ready to go. The shareability of digital portfolios is undeniably a huge advantage, but so too is a print option for face-to-face meetings, interviews and presentations. If choosing both options, it is important to remember that simply printing a digital portfolio does not suffice. These are two different mediums that require different design approaches.
2. Adapt Accordingly
With each new job on the horizon, there may be a different skillset or visual aesthetic required. Before overloading your portfolio with every job – big and small – that you’ve done in your entire career, first think what will actually speak to the company’s identity and go from there. Tailor your portfolio accordingly and make sure it displays appropriate examples that are best suited to the job.
3. Curate with Care
The thing that will make your portfolio stand out from the rest, is a certain theme, style or aesthetic that runs throughout and is what makes your work unique. There should also be a certain sense of cohesion throughout, which can be in the form of a color scheme, a format or a unique font, and will tie all the various elements of your portfolio together. And remember, go for quality not quantity.
4. Stay Up to Date
When choosing what to include, make sure that all your projects are relatively recent. It is also a wise idea to review your portfolio on a regular basis and weed out anything that may appear out of date. While your selection should display a large breath of work, it should however represent the current state of your design. Bear in mind that graphic design is a rapidly changing industry and the technology and trends change very quickly. By showcasing your newer work, you are not only displaying your skill, but also your knowledge of the evolving industry.