Creating Strong Relationships

Creating a Winning Portfolio
by The Creative Group

As any marketing pro will tell you, packaging counts. And that's especially true when it comes to your portfolio. Although creating a strong book may seem like a daunting process, it doesn't have to be. Here are 10 steps to get you on your way.

  1. Select the right number of pieces

    Choose 10-15 work samples that demonstrate the breadth and depth of your abilities. We've found that clients prefer to see approximately 10 pieces that represent your core specialization and another five that reflect additional talents or areas of interest.

  2. Keep samples current

    Each item should be relatively current - generally no more than three years old - and preferably still in use. Timely material demonstrates that you're up-to-date with design trends and technologies.

  3. Organize strategically

    The method of organization you choose will depend on the type of client you're targeting as well as your experience. Many corporate clients, for example, are interested in an industry-specific portfolio that demonstrates all the pieces you've produced that relate to their line of business. Some agencies and clients, however, will prefer to review samples by media specialty. It's a good idea to call ahead and see how the interviewer would prefer your work to be organized. Professionals just beginning their careers may want to organize their portfolios chronologically, with most recent projects first, since this method emphasizes creative development.

  4. Invest wisely

    Present your pieces in a professional portfolio that allows you to mount individual pieces on a firm mat or backing. Invest in a nice portfolio - it's worth the expense.

  5. Protect your pieces

    Laminated pages can help prevent items from falling out or becoming damaged during review.

  6. Label items with key information

    Create a small label for each piece containing the following information: the client for whom it was produced, your role in the project, the software utilized, and one or two sentences explaining why the piece is important.

  7. Be specific

    Demonstrate specific proficiencies in your portfolio. For example, if you specialize in graphic design, consider including at least one example of cross-platform work. If you specialize in project management, consider including flow charts or timelines.

  8. Create an e-portfolio

    In addition to printed versions of your work, supply electronic copies that are both PC- and Mac-compatible.

  9. Provide URLs where applicable

    If you include web work in your portfolio, provide URLs and a high-resolution color printout or copy of each piece. Additionally, consider demonstrating your work on a computer with an Internet connection.

  10. Leave something behind

    Choose one sample of your work to leave with the interviewer as a reminder of your talents.

This article has been written and reprinted with the permission of The Creative Group.

Want to create the ultimate portfolio? The Creative Group's new portfolio guide, "Book Smarts," provides numerous ideas and suggestions that can help you create a better book. Call 1.888.846.1668 for the office nearest you to request a free copy.

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