Thursday, 11 December 2008

20 Portfolio top tips

1. Start with your strongest piece of work and end with your second strongest.

2. Start with work that you regard as your most experimental or ‘arty’ and progress on to more commercial work as you go through the portfolio.

3. Less is more… don’t have too many pages in a portfolio 10-14 (ie 20/24 images)

4. Generally have one image per page (but you can break this rule and still live!)

5. Group work that is associated together.

6. Don’t mix portrait and landscape pages in a portfolio, have small runs of each.

7. Don’t display work on that awful cheap black sugar paper that comes in portfolio sleeves, in fact don’t mount work on any paper, buy some quality printer paper and print directly on to this.

8. Vary the sizes of the image in the portfolio, try to have a rhythm or story to tell in the portfolio.

9. Don’t be tempted to print images too big, your work will look better if you give it room to breathe.

10. Only show your best work, as art directors often say they remember the worst image in a portfolio not the best. If in doubt leave it out!

11. Have both unity and variety of work in your book, but remember that too much unity is boring and too much variety is bewildering.

12. If you work in two or three different styles or have different skills ie animation and illustration have two separate portfolios for each.

13. Always have cards or samples of your work with you and in the front or back of your portfolio, name address, e-mail website telephone number etc.

14. It is essential to have some presence on the web ie a virtual portfolio, increasingly this is the way imagery is commissioned. Consider using a blog as an online portfolio if web design is not your thing.

15. ‘Drop Offs’ are sometimes used by clients so your portfolio has to speak for its self. You may consider small explanations to accompany the work. Use a small, understated typeface in a subtle grey, always put the text in the same position on each page if possible.

16. With this in mind if you can afford to have two portfolios it helps to make the most of your time on visits to clients.

17. Try to make your book memorable or stand out from all the other A2 Daler/Artcare portfolios……but in a good way not a tacky way! We suggest that you buy an A4 or A3 portfolio dependant on your work. There is metaphorically and literally no room for A1 or A2 portfolios especially Daler/Artcare ones these are DEAD.

18. Pratt (sold in Paperchase) or Panodia make some nice portfolios you can see both here: Buy one with removable sleeves rather than fixed sleeves.

19. You might want to consider other alternative presentation methods, a box file type portfolio similar to the kind used by photographers, or something you have had bound or constructed that fine, just make sure its beautifully made.

20. Combined with promotion your portfolio and your website are your ticket to commissioned work, invest time and effort in them and it will be rewarded.

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