Developing Your Graphic Design Portfolio

Published on April 19, 2013 by arothstein

Graphic Design, Portfolio As a student, the art industry is fun and carefree. There are pressures to get your work done but for the most part; the idea of the art world is a prancing kitten in an Irish meadow. Then graduation hits. The once happy cat has turned into a post-apocalypse zombie feline that is bent on destroying your dreams.

OK, there might be a slight exaggeration on both ends, but entering a competitive art field like graphic design can leave a lot of graduates wondering how they can become the sole survivor in the job game. Let’s take on the BEAU graphic design program first, and explore the biggest need for anyone in the field; a portfolio.

For starters, a portfolio includes: a bio statement, resume, artist statement/design philosophy (how you design and why you do what you do) and work samples.  “People like someone to connect with, that there is someone behind these designs,” says BEAU Graphic Design Program Chair Erin Coleman-Cruz. “If you don’t have a resume, a bio statement can cover everything.”

With today’s emerging media, portfolios can come in two formats, either digital (PDF) or print. “Both are common and it can really go either way,” added Coleman-Cruz. “Print portfolios are standard because traditionally you wouldn’t have a digital one and there is something to having a physical copy.”

Some other helpful tips when developing a portfolio are:

  1. Have your entire portfolio collected in digital format (take pictures of the items to save)
  2. Always collect your work and save it on digital backups
  3. Eventually narrow your work down into categories or a timeline
  4. If there isn’t a cap on the work to submit, 10-20 is a good range. 20 pieces is max.

Check back next month for a follow up on how to strengthen a graphic design portfolio. And we’ll see if we can incorporate zombie cats again too.

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