Your graphic design portfolio is your professional calling card. No matter how strong your connections, design school background, or even your resume, your work should speak for itself. Here's how to build a winning graphic design portfolio from the ground up. Graphic Design Portfolio Basics
There are three types of portfolios: print, online, and DVD or CD. It's a good idea to have all three available.
- Print. The classic portfolio: a black book with removable pages is ideal, so you can customize the portfolio to an individual employer.
- Online. Invest in your own domain name and build an online showcase for your work. A good website also speaks for your design savvy.
- DVD/CD. A compact calling card you can send with your resume. DVDs are a good choice for animation and allow higher quality images.
If you're in design school
and don't yet have an extensive body of work, your first step should be to create quality content. Here's how to build design samples for your portfolio:
- DIY. Just do it--make a sample brochure, website, logo, poster, book or CD cover, etc. About.com offers some downloadable templates and graphic design 'makeover' projects to get your creativity flowing.
- Volunteer. Nonprofits and charitable foundations rely on publicity--yet they often can't afford to hire an established designer. Do some 'pro bono' work for a good cause, and you'll have a completed project to add to your portfolio.
- Build a Website. Your personal website serves not only as a showcase for your other work, but also as an opportunity to demonstrate your design skills.
Once you've built a body of work, it's time to learn how to set your design portfolio apart with eye-catching designs and dazzling range.
- Show off Skills. Include ambitious projects that showcase a particular skill, such as 3D modeling or CAD. "Dramatic use of scale, focus, and color will make your work stand out," comments graphic designer Stu Constantine.
- Demonstrate Range. Select or create samples that reflect the range of your experience with different media, technology, and project types. Constantine recommends including work that demonstrates various contributions to a project, from concept to execution. This may include sketching, rendering, model-making, 3D design, and photography.
- Don't Skimp on Quality. High production values are a must--invest in quality printing and materials for your portfolio, high-resolution images on your DVD, and a sophisticated online presentation using Macromedia Flash.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. But with a broad, well-developed graphic design portfolio, you have a strong chance of landing a first interview.