Helpful Tips for Graphic Design Portfolios

Graphic design portfolios can be the result of a difficult set of choices for their creators. High quality materials, good presentation, and designs are important facets of a good portfolio. Many graphic designers also work in multiple fields, which means they have to maintain a range of materials in their portfolios. Standards in graphic work are extremely high, and portfolio presentation is the indispensable primary method of getting jobs.

Creating the portfolio

The big issues in creating a good, representative portfolio suitable for all lines of work are materials, range of products and values in terms of presentation:

  • Hard copy materials: If you are working with  solid products, like paints, gouache, tempera or other sensitive, high maintenance media, the portfolio has to be properly protected. Cumbersome sleeves and folders must be purchased, but be sure your selection of portfolio materials is portable.
  • Multiple content ranges: Graphic designers working across multiple ranges like advertising, interior decoration or other media have to keep portfolios within each field. The portfolios for each area should be created separately, to simplify management.
  • Commercial content: Graphic design portfolios are generally based on commercial products. These are the designer's primary job-getting assets. The portfolio, to cover all lines of employment, can be fairly large. The size of the commercial content portfolio is a potential problem, because the value of the work is difficult to evaluate. It's advisable to have a well-organized archive portfolio for the older work and keep the new work in the current portfolio. 
  • Online materials:  Graphic designers are usually required to show proficiency in particular forms of software as part of their job criteria. The portfolio, therefore, has to be organized to deal with these requirements. That can be a real problem, because of both volumes of work and the fact that some designers will use several types of software in creating their designs.
  • Multimedia graphic portfolios: To create an effective multimedia portfolio requires planning. Work in this very lucrative area includes all the issues of the other forms of graphic materials in the portfolio, as well as the multimedia content. It's advisable to keep both pre-production and finished products in the portfolio to cover all possible requirements from clients and employers.

Creative options with graphic design portfolios:

The best way to work with a portfolio is to use a flexible, creative approach:

  • Digital presentations: The different presentation formats can be set up in advance. You can experiment with your materials to find weak spots in your presentation, and work with different combinations of media. You can also run these presentations online, and get feedback from your site visitors.
  • Hardcopy: You will need to maintain a working portfolio in this form for production materials. That can be a very good way of showing your range and proving your skills in multiple forms of hardcopy media.