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Portfolios



I'm forwarding this to the lsit because I feel that i contains a great deal
of good information. I'm sorry if this causes duplication in some instances.

Peter

From: John Knapp <jknapp@HOOKUP.NET>
Fri, 20 Jan 1995 10:23:56 -0500
To: Multiple recipients of list GRAPHICS <GRAPHICS%ULKYVM.BITNET@uga.cc.uga.edu>
Subject: Portfolios

Hi all:

Following is a rough draft of a presentation I will be giving to a
freelancers' professional organization. The spoken pre-amble to these notes
will be about "what are people looking for in a portfolio?". Would anyone
like to offer any other pointers or philosophy? Any comments/exceptions to
my ideas?

_______________________________________________________________

* Consider your book a way of communicating what kind of work you can do,
would like to do, or could do given a chance.

* Customize your book to the occasion. This involves taking out pieces that
will be of less or no interest to the parties you are showing them to, and
putting material of most relevance first.

* Chronologically is not usually the best way to sequence pieces. Grouping
by type of work lets the discussion flow better.

* Put your best foot forward - start and end with strong pieces.

* Rejected or otherwise left-over linos and colour proofs which may be
disposible after the project, may have a home in your portfolio, and
typically they cost you nothing.

* Put your money where your mouth is. This means prove that you are
thoroughly involved in your discipline(s) by creatively applying your
skills to the presentation and layout of the material in your portfolio.
For example if you wrote the copy for some of the advertising you art
directed, you could write brief case histories or strategy notes and mount
them beside the pieces. If you are a packaging designer, try packaging your
book and resume.

* Keep resumes in your portfolio case. It's one less thing to carry, and
sometimes the person needs another copy or an original not faxed.

* A lot of creative directors want people to leave their books for viewing
at their convenience. Trouble is, they may take their time. The other
concern regarding this, is that you are not there to explain the work, in
which case consider a system of labels, which would give briefly some of
the information you would normally give verbally. This is also an
opportunity to relate other info like time-frames, strategy, production
processes, and your role in the project.

* Like any presentation, you should plan what to say about each piece
before the meeting. Remember to take credit for only what you did on the
project (this shows that you are ethical - you are ethical, aren't you?).
Visualizing yourself presenting will help you fine tune everything, and you
can sort of judge yourself from the client's viewpoint.

* Show rough stuff. A lot of people need to see sketches, thumbnails and
linears. This is particularly effective if you can use it to show the
development of a piece from ideas through to printed/produced work.

* Backups! What if your portfolio gets stolen? What if it gets wet? Always
get at least five samples of printed material. One form of insurance is
35-mm slides of the work (again, get more than one of each). Slides are
also a good way of showing your work in some cases - for crafts people,
architects, signage designers. Look for some unusual or slick cases, which
will also protect them better than those vinyl 3-ring pages. Slides are
good for mailing a portfolio long distance.

* Get wired. People are starting to distribute samples of their work on
floppy disks, CD-ROMs and on Internet. The World Wide Web is one area to
especially watch for in this respect, because you can set up what's called
a "Home Page" for info/advertising about yourself or your business, which
can contain graphics, hypertext and video clips.

* Plastic laminating. It saturates the color, even for B&W lasers and
photocopies, and provides durability, and prevents that nasty problem of
fusing to the inside of vinyl portfolio pages. Laminating can also lend
durability to pieces which must be handled by the viewer. Logos are one
area where B&W lasers are not just acceptable, but terrific in proving that
your design works in one color, which is how most logos inevitably have to
be printed, at least for some applications.

* Pop for colour proofs out of your pocket. Iris and Fiery proofs look
great; to save money, go for Canon Color Lasers or equivalent thermal wax
proofs. In a way you can't afford _not_ to beef up your portfolio if you
are looking to move forward with the type of work / job you do. It's common
for people to be impressed by colourful pieces, metallic inks and varnishes
etc. which may not have been permitted in the printed piece because of
budget. Many creative directors however, can overlook the materials and see
the pattern of how you think. What some designers do is design for their
portfolio and then restrain or modify the piece to satisfy the job
requirements or reactions of the client, or they do some alternative
versions which are really for themselves.

* Don't skimp on hardware. Top quality portfolio cases show that you are
established (although this goes in the same category as what you wear to
the meeting).

* Neatness counts. A case full of loose pieces may give an impression of
disorganization, and it is more difficult to control and sequence the
presentation. Vinyl ring-bound pages are generally a good solution.

jknapp@hookup.net       John Knapp      Oakville, Ontario, Canada

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