Art & Design Productivity Podcast

We send you our lovely email with art and design tips and techniques from the Uncanny Creativity podcast

Want to make more art in less time?
Email address
First Name
Skip to main content

How to Make Your Graphic Design Portfolio

If you're working steadily in a graphic design job or just starting to look for work, it's always a good time to have an up to date portfolio. The hard part is to figure out how the pieces fit together. I've already discussed the basics of what should go on the pages in Tips for a More Perfect Design Portfolio, but building a perfect portfolio is a process that continues over and over again throughout your career.

Books

Building Design Portfolios by Sara Eisenman tackles how to build your portfolio and, for hiring managers, it tackles how to look at portfolios critically. It contains a series of interviews with leaders in the field, provides inspiration and shows real world portfolio. Graphic Design Portfolio Strategies for Print and Digital Media discusses portfolio building for graphic design students. How do you take your student work and present it for employers, graduate schools and fellowships? This book tackles that question with illustrated examples of successful student portfolios. The Graphic Designer's Guide to Portfolio Design is another book helping students transition into becoming professionals. This puts the portfolio in the context of resumes, interviews, and cover letters

Articles

12 Steps to a Super Graphic Design Portfolio from Youthedesigner.com starts us off by telling us about the case. Choose carefully and consider how you want to present your work. My tip would be to think about yourself in an interview or with a client. Find a case that fits a style of presentation that works for you. My own portfolio is a leather case with sheets of thick photo paper printed pieces. Especially for interviews with multiple people, passing around the works in my portfolio and letting people handle them and really look at then has went over well. These were designs for magazine layouts so it mimicked the original experience. AIGA has a great article on "Presenting your portfolio by Steff Geissbuhler of Chermayeff & Geismar Inc. It's both from the point of view of someone who hires designers and from a design who has been there himself. Brian Scott writes in "How to Create Your Freelance Graphic Design Portfolio" that you should include your best work and only your best work. I agree. It's better to show five perfect pieces than to show eight that include work that you aren't happy with. Your enthusiasm about every piece in your portfolio has to be there. Tips to Create an Effective Graphic Design Portfolio from Twit Taboo emphasized the importance of variety. Show off different concepts and skills in your work. I'd add that you should make sure that each skill is somehow relevant to the specific position and company you're applying to.

Read More

7 Lucky Gift Ideas for Artists

If your thinking of getting something for the artist life, this guide is for you. Birthdays, holidays or just a gift for Monday and Tuesday. Here's a wish list: Start off with a basic A Complete Graphic Pencil Set. The #2 pencils from school were great for filling out classroom exams, but an artists needs a soft 9B, a sharp 9H for details and all that in between. Inspire your craftsman with this Green Guide for Artists. If you think he or she will be into creating non-toxic paints, glues and recycling paper then pass this one on. This Acrylic Paint & Easel Art Set will get anyone who has lost their painting habit back into the game. Twelve colors of acrylic paint, six brushes, a wooden palette, a 11" x 14" Canvas Board, a plastic palette knife, a tabletop easel and a sturdy portable tote. If you're feeling creative yourself, follow these directions to make a Paint Chip Wallet. It just takes a little sewing. Encourage your artist to get out their in showing prints (or photos) of their work with a Presentation Portfolio Case. The one pictured has ten slots for them to show off their very best work, although it is expandable. For a more complete way to store all of those supplies, how about a Storage Box with lots of compartments for the big and small utensils. If bigger is better, then maybe you can help define your artist's space with a Drafting Table.

Read More

15 Paths to More Sustainable and More Green Graphic Design

Graphic designers can help apply the principles of efficiency and waste reduction in our industry. This can save us money and time if we're creative about it. After watching The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard, I'm just beginning to understand the meaning of sustainability. Recycling works and buying recycled goods helps because there is only so much space on the earth to put all the trashed plastic so we might as well put it back in our stores. That principle might be applied to all kinds of things and on this page I've looked for an answer to how the graphic arts fits in. While I'm still not totally convinced that all of these methods are viable for everyone, but it's still an interesting discussion. If there is something you're doing to be more efficient and less wasteful with your design, share a comment.

Books

Green Graphic Design by Brian Dougherty and Celery Design Collaborative is a book explaining how to make every step of the design and production process a little greener: paper, printing, binding, shipping, packaging. SustainAble by Aaris Sherin aims to educate on sustainable applications and tackle sustainability in paper, printing, formats, materials, inks, and practice. Packaging Sustainability by Wendy Jedlicka talks about making effective packaging that is minimal eco-impact. Design for Sustainability: A Sourcebook of Integrated, Eco-logical Solutions by Janis Birkeland takes design to every level covering specifics in industrial design, materials, housing design, urban planning and transport, landscape and agriculture, and energy and resource use.

Articles

Kirsti Scott talks about Sustainable Graphic Design on the Hot Design Blog. She argues for more efficient practices, working from home to reduce travel, using only recycled or bamboo papers and even using fonts that use less ink. The Green Resource Guide tells us the story behind Green Signage in Produce. There are great photos showing how the reclaimed items factor into the farmer's market look of a grocery store. In "Making Sense Of It All: How to Promote Your Brand While Staying Sustainable", Delia Bonfilio of Fast Company talks about the challenge of balancing environmental ideals with business realities. Paragon Muse talks about implementing some green practices in their post Joining the BandWagon: Sustainable Design. They are promoting recycled papers to their clients. They have redesigned their business cards with tree free paper and use only soy-based inks. They make some great points: the need for actionable ideas, more education and spreading the word. "Tips: Sustainable Graphic Design" by Metropolitan Group gives us a number of ways to ease our impact by requesting biodegradable elements from others in the chain, creating multi-use products, using designs that require less white space (less paper), targeted mailing (instead of blind mass market mailing) and other ideas. In "Sustainable Graphic Design in Malawi" by Jesse Rankin, we're asked "how can graphic design actually help Malawi in the development process to becoming a self sustaining country?" and given some very powerful answers. "Sustainable Design" from Drawing on Experience gives us 10 Best Practices for Sustainable Design.

More Resources

Renourish is a sustainability toolkit. Great way to start getting things in motion in your production process. Lovely as a Tree wants to tell you everything about environmentally aware graphic design with tips about paper choice, printing considerations, case studies and a database of printers and paper sources in the UK. Design Can Change is a pretty website with a message: you as a designer can help. AIGA Center for Sustainable Design has more case studies, interviews, and resources.

Read More

Uncanny Creativity helps artists and designers do more with less stress

Get free art and design productivity tips and podcast episodes by email! We're here to help you get more made in less time.
Email address
First Name
Secure and Spam free...