“Portfolio Pointers” – from AGDM 2008

Posted By hazelbasil on Feb 28, 2009 | 0 comments

Taken from the book 2008 Artists & Graphic Designer’s Market [even though it’s a year old, it’s STILL relevant! Also this is to answer Jennifer’s question about portfolios.]

The overall appearance of your portfolio affects your profession presentation. It need not be made of high-grade leather to leave a good impression. Neatness and careful organization are essential whether you’re using a three-ring binder or a leather case. The most popular portfolios are simulated leather with puncture-proof sides that allow the inclusion of loose samples. Choose a size that can be handled easily. Avoid the large, "student-size" books, which are too big to fit easily on an art director’s desk. Most artists choose 11 x 14 or 18 x 24. If you’re a fine artist and your work is too large for a portfolio, bring slides of your work and a few small samples.

  • Don’t include everything you’ve done in your portfolio. Select only your best work and choose pieces relevant to the company you are approaching. If you’re showing your book to an ad agency, for example, don’t include greeting card illustrations.
  • Show progressives. In reviewing portfolios, art directors look for consistency of style and skill. They sometimes like to see work in different stages (roughs, comps and finished pieces) to examine the progression of ideas and how you handle certain problems.
  • Your work should speak for itself. It’s best to keep explanations to a minimum and be available for questions if asked. Prepare for the review by taking along notes on each piece. If the buyer asks a question, take the opportunity to talk a little bit about the piece in question. Mention the budget, time frame and any problems you faced and solved. If you’re a fine artist, talk about how the piece fits into the evolution of a concept and how it relates to other pieces you’ve shown.
  • Leave a business card. Don’t ever walk out of a portfolio review without leaving the buyer a sample to remember you by. A few weeks after you review, follow up by sending a small promo postcard or other sample as a reminder.