Portfolio Pressure

“One week to go until my interview for a course I really really wanted to get into…and I still did not have a printed presentable portfolio. Stress o’ tha’!”

Creating your portfolio whether online or in print can be an extremely daunting task for anyone, particularly those of us starting out in graphic and web design.
I don’t know how many websites I read and re-read, and people I consulted constantly second-guessing every approach I decided upon, while trying to figure out how I would present it…sufficed to say…it was a LOT.

“What if it wasn’t what they were looking for?! What if those applying had more experience than me?! 5 days to go…and I still haven’t found a printer!”

In many ways I count myself lucky as someone who has always had opportunities to be creative thrown their way through voluntary work, and through family (whether I was ready and willing to do that or not 😛 ). This meant I already had work ready, and had the necessary preparation done, to put SOMETHING together at the very least! …

“Printer found! Success … and one day until my interview!
*promises never to let anything get this close to a deadline again*”

I actually found it difficult to find print-specific examples online. Most graphic designers tend to present their online portfolios in an exclusively web-based format, using slideshows, lightbox, and shadowbox style presentation methods. Don’t get me wrong, it’s inspiring work! The thing is, when you are physically presenting your work to a client, or are applying for a course or a job, there is less room for them to explore your style and approach. A client looking through your website has time to examine it. A client meeting you personally will only briefly flick through your portfolio, so their first impression of the work you present there and then is the only possible lasting one.

There are a few key things I would say about creating a portfolio:

1. (…and always rule number 1) Ctrl+s/cmd+s was created for a reason. Use it.

2. Space is a portfolio/design’s best friend. Cluttering up your portfolio with too many images and too much text are the murderers of good design.

3.Being precise and concise when it comes to text and content is vital. Remember, your portfolio is all about showcasing your skills and your ability to get a message across quickly and effectively. Pick out 10 of your best pieces, and use those only.

4. Lastly…use your instincts. Don’t doubt yourself. If this is your first time putting together a portfolio, then just remember, it isn’t going to be your last either.

“Printed, pristine and perfect. MY PORTFOLIO!! Place on that course…?…MINE! Heehee! :D”

You will make countless revisions of your portfolio over time, and so you should! And you may look back on the original in years to come with fondness, or with astonishment at just how far you have come since then, but either way be proud what you and you alone have created. After all… (no pressure or anything)… it is supposed to entirely represent you at a moments glance. 😉

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