How To Perfect Your Portfolio

Perfect Your Portfolio: Tips for a Modern, Professional Look.

There is no one set formula to having an amazing portfolio; there are several things to consider to give it that dynamic feel. Consider these four questions and decide what’s good for you.

What medium do you want to use?

  • Hard Copy Portfolio – Traditional A3 portfolio; this is the way design interviews have been conducted forever. It’s a tried and tested format; people know what to expect, and then it’s down to careful editing as to how the folio will be received. On the flip side, it is bulky and indiscreet if you are trying to go unnoticed. Also, there is a physical limit to how much you can carry around. On the flip side, there are no power or internet issues, so it is a fail-safe method.
  • Electronic Portfolio or on a tablet- Some people take their folios on a memory stick, but the problems occur when files don’t open… gulp!! For this reason, it is safer to take your own Macbook, laptop or iPad and, providing it’s fully charged, avoid any unnecessary difficulties.
  • Online websites- People are increasingly looking at sites like, or to host their online files. The benefits are obvious, there is nothing to carry, and it is always out there, until you meet at a venue where there is no wifi or worse still, no computer.

So if you are planning to attend interviews and need a portfolio strategy, make sure that you check out the wifi or have a laptop at the venue beforehand. It would be really unlucky to show up to an interview and not be able to show the fruits of your labour, so be prepared!

What stage of your career are you at?

  • Just out of college
  • A couple of years experience in office so very up to speed with technology
  • An experienced professional with several projects under your belt
  • A Leader who has been running the show

Whatever position you are in will require a differing level of consideration. In the early stages, the problem is not having enough info to add, whilst later it can be the opposite of too much. (If this is the problem, go to the section which is on Editing and Sifting)

Editing and Sifting- Where are you now?

Begin a folio with a design you are proud of and only show work where you have played a significant part so that you can talk about it passionately. If the project is too far back in your career (say ten years plus), then you could be in danger of living on past glories. Keep the first project to something impactful; literally, it will be the scheme that sets the scene for what will come next.

Some people begin their folios chronologically, with student work. In reality, if you have been working a few years, then this is not the best foot forward as by the time you have got to ‘today’, your interviewer may have already zoned off. Remember where you are now is why they are hiring you, so show relevant work first.

If you have been working for several years, then don’t include everything; it could be too much. Edit it to show your strengths and best project with recent ones first, whether as a designer or as completed projects.

If you show up with multiple bags and folders with no structure to how you present, it can give the impression of disorganisation, so edit accordingly and plan the presentation.

The same with electronic folders; if you have multiple folders littered across a desktop with no order to the rationale, it can reflect poorly if you are going for a role where the organisation is required. Instead, create a pdf with a smooth roll and leave nothing to chance.

Aesthetic arrangement?

In the case of Design portfolio it is worth thinking of all of the following areas of creativity:

  • Technical prowess
  • Aesthetic sensibility
  • Design Development
  • Completed/as-built projects
  • Visuals that show software dexterity
  • Production information

In the case of architecture, interiors and product folio sketchbooks are always loved, but if you are more technically orientated, it may be with an emphasis on details.

In the case of Graphic Design – The key give take away s for a winning portfolio include PDFs being in High resolution and having the grid structure orthogonally in place with no overlapping. The right-hand client box also reassures that projects have been done in industry practice rather than elsewhere.

We can add an informed and industry-focused eye, so make an appointment to discuss; it would be our pleasure.