Preparing Your Graphic Design Portfolio 2013

hey youtube this is graphic designer roberto blake and today i’m going to be talking to you about how as a graphic designer you can approach and prepare your portfolio work in the year 2013 and how portfolios have changed since years and years ago ten years five years back etc do the changes in technology changes and expectations with regard to presentation and just changes in terms of what is expected from graphic designers today so let’s cover some of the obvious things um today it goes without saying that you have to have an online portfolio of some kind it also helps if you already have some type of online presence but a big question a lot of designers have is well what does that mean and how is that different from my print portfolio I’m going to go ahead and talk about some things that I know you were told in design school some of them I’m actually going to have to contradict first of all in graphic design school if you were told what I was told you were told that you need to present only ten or twelve pieces this is not universally true and it also can be detrimental to you and I’ll explain why it’s told to you in the first place and then why I have to somewhat correct that now it’s told to you because in general art directors and creative directors are very busy people and they also are so experienced and I’ve seen so many things and their expectations are framed in a specific way that they will know within the first couple of pieces if they want to continue moving forward with you or not now that being said you do have to impress them with your first few pieces immediately but there comes a point where if it only whet their appetite or if they have something specific in mind that they would like you to do and being you’re not a mind reader it can be detrimental because you might have missed the opportunity to reinforce their feeling because it might be that there was one or two particular pieces that you did something with that started to pique their interest and you don’t have anything else consistent to go with that to show that that wasn’t a fluke so there can be that part of it the other thing is if the nature of the job is specific to a type of area of design and because you’re trying to show a well-rounded portfolio you only have a few samples excuse me you only have a few samples of this a few samples of that etc in a well-rounded portfolio that makes some sense but if it’s a specific job let’s say Web Design you might need to have a lot more samples of various different components of that for example if you are applying for a position that deals in web design it’s not going to be enough to just show you know four or five or six websites and different things for that because web design is more than just the actual web sites Believe It or Not web design could also mean that they want to see if you can do banner advertisements and do banner ad campaigns they may want to see if you can not only do those but do different formats for them in terms of not just the static ones but also animated ones as well so you might have to have a sampling of static banners animated banners and websites on top of that and then there are different types of websites there’s websites there’s actual websites that are built on content management systems web sites that you coded by hand in pure HTML web sites that might have actually had web development or interactive components and there are also mobile web sites and mobile web sites come the flavor of stand-alone mobile web sites web applications or responsive web design in terms of a website that scales to fit whatever media it’s on so you can see how involved this is and that’s not just showing you know one or two things it’s actually pretty involved because the expectation is going to be that you at least have some knowledge of all of this because let’s be realistic someone in a higher peering position wants to pay you the one check to do as much work as possible so while it sounds great to be a specialist and you should have a specialty being well rounded and being able to demonstrate how well rounded and all the capabilities you have gives you an advantage in the fact that this person is making a monetary decision not just a creative decision they actually have to think about you as an investor and also as a risk and the fact that if they put you on the team that’s a slot they’re taking away from someone else how much work can they fill by filling this slot with you that’s the important question that’s the question in terms of from an investment side of it or from a risk assessment side that someone in the hiring chair is going to be making and that may or may not have been communicated to you so it’s more than just the presentation of okay well don’t bore them or they’ll know what they’re looking for and they’ll know if they see it in the five or ten pieces I mean sure but at the end of the day there is an advantage to be held in terms of volume if it’s done correctly and if there’s enough diversity but let’s move on and that was a specific example with web design let’s go back to more of graphic design and presentation in general without any regard for what field you’re in as a graphic designer without any regard for you and your speciality is you’ll usually have a print portfolio of some kind now in most cases your print portfolio will probably be one of these this is the traditional eight and a half by eleven you know art portfolio and you’ll have a couple of pieces in it and you’ll be able to interchange those out of the sleeves um this is just what my very old print portfolio looks like back when I was mostly doing um you know freelance work and self-initiated work and you know just has different things that you’ve probably seen on my website before so you know one of the things that if you’re a student you’ll be tempted to do is use a lot of your school projects now if you went to something like the Art Institute or fi T or School of Visual Arts then your portfolio and your student work may actually consists of some mock campaigns or some you know work like that that actually simulates a actual piece of client work and that may be passable as client work but aside from that I’ve been actually talking to a lot of people and instead of student or assigned work they prefer to review self-initiated work they want to see what you’ll do creatively will someone specifically giving you guidance or instructions because in truth when they assign you a project they’re going to give you a lot of creative control in most cases and they have a goal that they want you to reach they’re not going to tell you how to get there they’re not gonna tell you what techniques to use they’re not going to give you but the most minimal of constraints and see what you do and then correct you afterward or dismiss you out rightly so it’s important for you one to explore your own creativity but it’s also good to showcase what you would do and what represents your best work for you inside your portfolio because it’s an honest expression of who you are what your capabilities are what you’re comfortable doing and what you like to do your portfolio should actually be full of the work that you want to get and that you want to work on if you work on what you think will sells you’ll only be doing work that sells and that’ll make you feel like a sellout at the end of the day if you want to do work that you enjoy and be proud of and be passionate about then put that type of work in your portfolio now let’s talk about presentation formats we’ve talked about the fact that you’re going to be expected to have a web portfolio but you need to be capable of presenting at any time and you won’t always have your book on you and you won’t always be able to fire up a laptop so what do you do what you can do is you can go ahead and you can make sure that your website is responsive so you can pull out your mobile phone and you can showcase your work in a true elevator pitch right then and there with your phone because the odds are you will have your phone on you but in some cases you won’t have a good connection or maybe the site is down what have you and that’ll be a disaster to avoid that I also recommend putting your work in the image gallery of whatever your phone is whether it be Android or iPhone or what have you and you’ll be able to present your work in that way too and it won’t be a problem so that’s what you should do in terms of having the ability to pitch at any time and present your work and put your best foot forward at any time I also recommend that you have a tablet and work in the much the same way with this and a tablet actually can be much better for you in some cases than a standard print book presentation wise and it gives you some options especially if you have web or interactive elements and components it gives you the ability to showcase those because if you just have your print book on you you can’t show off the websites or the motion graphics or whatever else you might have done the same way it doesn’t translate but at least if you have the multimedia components that are easy to use instead of a laptop like a tablet or a phone or smart tab I refuse to call those things phablets but whatever then you at least have the ability to showcase something that looks well in print web any form of digital motion animation etc so you don’t have real limitations and constraints when you use something like a smartphone or a tablet so let’s go down the list of some of your presentation materials you have to have a website that website needs to be mobile in some way whether that is that you have a mold version of it or you have a responsive web design in terms of your mobile portfolio you also need to go ahead and have it actually on your phone not just the gallery on your phone but you should probably go ahead and have an PDF that you can send from your phone as an email attachment in real time when you’re talking to someone so you need that obviously you’ll want to have a business card for yourself so they can go to your website and they can look over your work contact you via the email request more of your work and your portfolio you’ll want to have your print book on you when you can and you’ll also want to have some type of laptop possibly to do a sit-down presentation on a larger screen or stream to a big-screen TV if you have an HDMI cable etc so those are the things that you need to have in order to be able to present and to be able to sell yourself let’s talk a little bit more about what your website should be like um you should keep your website as simple as and clean as you can always keep the ability to contact you somewhere in your website whether it’s on a sidebar the header or the footer be consistent having on every single page of the website um you also should not hold yourself to the same constraints that you might in a print portfolio with regard to your website it’s the web you have unlimited capacity showcase all your work but more importantly categorize your work please categorize your work because what people want to do is they’ll want to look at you for the opportunity that they want to hire you for and if you have all this wonderful work but it’s not categorized but they want a specific thing from you you need to make it easy for them to just get two samples of only that type of work so that they can isolate it and make the decision that they need to make you know instead of forcing them to look at everything and sort through them themselves it’s like giving them a big stack of paper and saying here no you don’t want to do that categorize your work make it easy for people to find what they need to find to make an evaluation and make a business decision about you let’s talk about that with regard to different print portfolios as well yes have a single well-rounded standalone print portfolio I recommend not only having more than 10 or 12 pieces but instead of showcasing your pieces on just you know one piece per page I recommend possibly going to a magazine format with your print portfolio and here’s why if you looked at magazines magazines incorporate almost every single skill of the graphic design range when you think about it so it’s a great presentation format for presenting your skills and demonstrating that you might be a decent writer as well and be capable of doing more than just creating pretty pictures so there is that advantage to the format it also allows you to do some things that are just more creative and show that hey maybe you can put a bit interesting background to these things maybe you can crop and compose them in an interesting way etc so it’s not just you showcasing your work but it’s also showing that you put some thought and creativity into the presentation itself so that could give you an advantage that someone else may not be utilizing and it can really show your stuff okay let’s step back over to websites really quickly um if you don’t have a website and domain of your own accom what have you there are a lot of great online options for you to promote your work you can utilize Behance that net for example which if you have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription you actually get a free version of the pro site for Behance which has some more options in terms of presentation and a professional look so that might be something that makes the value of creative cloud better for you or an additional fit or a bonus or what have you also if you have a Creative Cloud membership you can utilize Doby business catalyst to host your website and there you can make whatever website you want using Dreamweaver hand coding in some other way and we’re using Adobe muse and you can present your site that way that’s it for this tutorial on ways that you can improve and showcase your portfolio’s how to approach portfolios its graphical designers in the modern era now in 2013 I’ve talked about how you can go ahead and produce a mobile portfolio multiple online digital portfolios easily the advantages of having a print portfolio still in the fact that you need to be well-rounded with it instead of showing the smallest sampling of work that you have you know we’ve covered the use of tablets so I hope I’ve answered most of the questions that many of you have whether you’re an old or new designer and wondering how you can best showcase your talent currently and you know I just hope that this video had some helpful information for you you can always feel free to contact me through my youtube channel it’s your email if you’re happy to talk with you even review your portfolio discuss some ideas you know throw some stuff up on a whiteboard and just see what sticks you know we can hash it out I’m always happy to help another creative person so there is that go ahead and like this video if you enjoyed it subscribe you know talk to me in the comments and don’t forget I have Photoshop tutorial videos every Thursday so stay tuned for those all right I’ll see you guys on the next video