Portfolio Building: Your Design Portfolio Isn’t Created Equal By Donald Silwick

I have long noticed the inequality of a design portfolio. I have even found myself praising my print endeavors many times more than their web counterparts. I used to think this was because there isn’t anything like the feeling of holding the finished design in my hand. It gives you a great sense of pride (and purpose).

Booklet Project

Alas, there’s a larger factor in these woods.

I recently designed a small magazine (you can find it here). I had one copy printed and converted the other into the flipbook you just saw via the link. While (in my opinion) they both look great, there is a major disadvantage if you were to present your portfolio at a meeting. Think about it, which sounds easier? Showing someone a printed spread from a flipbook for handing them a complete magazine that they browse the way it was intended?

Yes, you may say the above example is biased because a magazine is born, bred, and designed to be read as magazine and not a spread. However, I can counter that at some point all of your work must be reborn in print form for meetings/interviews. A wise man once told me to begin with the end in mind. In the end, you will need a hard copy portfolio in order to properly sell your services.

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If you are just beginning to build a design portfolio, I urge you to keep this in mind. There is nothing wrong with including web designs in your portfolio but keep in mind that seeing a print piece as it was intended will trump a print out of a web page every single time!

Takeaway: Great print pieces to include in a portfolio are: postcards, magazines/booklets, and flyers.

Tip: you can always create supporting print materials in the style of that great web design.

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