Top Ten Tips

  1. A comprehensive portfolio package should include more than just a portfolio book. You will also need a website, resume, cover letter, and perhaps even a business card and other types of promotional materials.
  2. Your entire portfolio package should function cohesively with unifying visual elements that tie together these separate, but related pieces – all establishing and reinforcing a consistent, positive message about you.
  3. The most powerful way you can communicate your unique identity – your strengths and abilities – is through examples of your work. You need to make sure that every piece included in your portfolio is an example of your very best. Industry standards and best practice suggests a portfolio of 12-20 works.
  4. While the work in your portfolio is obviously a very essential part of your ability to market yourself and should be considered carefully, you should not stop there. A portfolio design that communicates a strong overarching design concept will stand out and provide further evidence of your unique experience, skills and talent.
  5. Develop a brand statement for yourself, capitalizing on your unique abilities and creative vision. Let this guide your approach in the creation of a distinct concept that fuels the basis of your portfolio book and website design.
  6. Your book can be so much more than a simple (and often generic) container for your work. Think of it as a well thought out and impeccably crafted creative statement in and of itself. Doing so will help to set you apart and speak volumes about your initiative, drive and passion for your field.
  7. When it comes to the construction of your book, craft is key. Get help through books, courses, online services or ask/pay someone to help. Remember, if you’re making it yourself, practice makes perfect.
  8. For the interior of your book, images of your work must remain the focal point within the page’s composition. Any contextualizing information and spatial relationships must be seriously considered, remain consistent and hierarchically secondary so as not to distract away from the work itself.
  9. Your portfolio website is just as important as your book. Make yourself aware of the design issues specific to the web and interactive solutions before beginning the process of creating one.
  10. Your portfolio will only serve you if it is seen. Develop marketing materials to support your book and website. There are many routes to take with mailers, electronic mailings, leave-behinds and business cards. Try something that’s a bit more innovative and clever or you run the danger of it just getting tossed.

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