Designing Your Graphic Design Portfolio

When you start working, your great graphic design portfolio is going to help you land that great job. Your portfolio represents your skill and artistry, so put it together carefully because your artwork is going to speak for you.

Sort through all the work you have done – paid or unpaid, including design school assignments – and select the best work. Be critical here and take help from friends or professors to get an unbiased view. Leave out your not-so-great efforts, because it’s better to show 10 samples that range from excellent to good, rather than 20 to 30 samples which may include artwork that is passable or so-so.

Let your portfolio begin with your very best design and let the final artwork be your second best design. This way, you not only kick off with a strong impression, but you also leave your potential employer with another strong impression as his last memory of your artwork.

Graphic design is found in printed materials, on the web and on CDs and DVDs, so to make a complete graphic design portfolio, include samples of your work in all three media.

Quite a few clients need printed artwork, so select your best designs including as many different projects as you can to show off all your skills.

Include, for example, letterheads and calling cards, your best logos, any CD or album covers that you may have designed, a completed campaign, brochures, designs for paint boxes or toothpaste tubes, posters and banners, newspaper or magazine advertisements, labels, postcards – a wide-ranging selection of your work, you understand? Include a few pieces that you have really excelled at, like a random artwork or photographic study showing your Photoshop skills. The best of each project should give you 10 to 15 samples, just enough to interest a client without overwhelming him. Mount your artworks well on a neutral coloured sheet to show them off to their best advantage. Use a professional looking portfolio case to carry your samples. A case that allows you to add and remove leaves is a good idea, because then you use only as many leaves as you need to display your work.

A website portfolio is practically a necessity, with the internet being almost the main vehicle of communication, information, and most buying and selling today. Having a website in your own name not only makes you look professional, it also gives you an email address @yourownname.com.

Keep the website design simple. A neutral color background will allow your artwork to stand out. Keep your image samples at 100kb -150kb, so that they load quickly and no one with a slow internet connection will have to wait. The navigation should be easy, and available on every page, so that the viewer can go back and forth easily. The design of your website itself will display your artistic skills and add another dimension to your graphic design portfolio.

Your CD or DVD portfolio will be a slightly different version of your website. You can use the same design and pages, if you like. The image files can be larger, since no download will be necessary and you can add a little animation to make it interesting – and display yet another skill! Again, be sure to make it easy for your client to find just what he is looking for.

Have fun putting your graphic design portfolio together. Make your portfolio, website and CD/DVD easy on the eye and interesting to go through – and your clients will enjoy seeing your work!