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Is your folio ready for the new year?

Posted over 7 years ago by Rebecca Thomas
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Before the internet shook the industry up, designers had to produce a printed portfolio to tout in the hope of an interview. These days nearly everyone is connected to a device and able to view your digital collection of work at the touch of a button. This has its advantages thanks to instantaneous sharing online; but also has a downside that includes visibility. Your very best projects may be on a website and posted on social media, but how do you guarantee it’s being seen? You need to standout from the crowd and present memorable content. 

Here at Pitch, we believe the answer is a succinct website/portfolio that piques the interest of a potential client through engaging content, stimulating imagery, sketching and scamps, original ideas and finished visuals. Here are a few key points from us to help you to spruce up your folio for 2017.

Be thoughtful 
Don’t attempt to cram everything you’ve ever created into your portfolio. Instead, set aside time to evaluate all of your pieces and exclude anything you’re not proud of or isn’t relevant to the flow of the piece. You need to show the best of what you do, not all of it.  Don’t be afraid of white space either, portfolios’ that are clean, simple and concise, avoid overwhelming the viewer and are much easier to navigate.

Select the strong stuff 
The projects that you know were successful, that got rave reviews and had good result – bring ‘em up front! People have short attention spans (especially busy people up against a deadline!) so show your best first and don’t make them dig through reams of work in order to find it, because the chances are, they won’t.

Style wins
It has been said that a great portfolio is a varied one, but its important to keep things tied together with a consistent background, style or motif throughout your folio/website. Your samples must be cohesive and flow well to form your brand and not look like a group of many peoples’ work. It should be consistent and showcase your creativity.

Decide how many
Depending on who you ask (suggestions vary) but we suggest that you always go for quality over quantity. We’d suggest no less than 10 pieces and no more than 20 – keeping the viewers’ attention is key. No matter how great the work is; the viewer will still only click through a few projects at a time so try featuring one project alongside a handful of additional pieces. This format draws the viewer’s eye directly to the project they’d like to see first, without dividing their attention. 

Even if your portfolio is digital, you may still need a physical one at some point. Having high-resolution samples is beneficial whether you’re producing a hard-copy portfolio or not. Large, high-resolution pieces and clear close ups are perfect for sharing on a website, they're stunning and give your portfolio a high-quality look.

Stay current
Don’t include anything that's older than five years (unless you feel it is relevant). Trends, techniques and technology changes quickly and you don’t want to look dated. Remember that your folio is an introduction, if a client wants to see more, or something specific, they will ask.

Add credits
Most projects are self-explanatory but some are not, thereby including notes about the project, who the client was, what skills were used and how the project was marketed, may be of benefit. Consider including project notes and how you solved the client’s problem. If you designed a marketing campaign, it’s great to include who else worked on the project, how they measured results and how successful it was to give more context to each piece.  

Showcase the process
Maybe your client didn’t select the logo or creative route that you liked the most. In your folio you can use this as an opportunity to showcase the multiple logos you designed and the rational behind each. It’s interesting for potential employers to see how you work from the brief to output. Sketching and scamps are back in fashion, so don’t be afraid to pop these types of samples in too, even if they’re not the final shiny visual. 

Second opinion
You’ve looked at your chosen pieces a dozen times and they’re becoming a blur. Before you finalise your portfolio, get a fresh set of eyes to give it a once over and feedback to you. Gauging someone else’s reaction may help you to figure out if it flows and represents you as a creative. Also, nothing can kill your credibility faster than a portfolio full of grammatical errors and incorrect spelling. Not proofing your content is a blatant indication that your work habits are sloppy. 

And finally: review, add, delete, repeat
If you think you’re done and ready to publish, we’d suggest reading over these points again. Remember to keep your work current and set a schedule to review your portfolio every six months; add any new projects and delete any pieces that look dated or tired.