You have come to a point in your graphic design efforts where you have developed a greater confidence in your work. Your collection of graphic art designs are beginning to accumulate and you feel ready to set out in search of work. The question arises, In this age of ever advancing technology do you bother to bring a physical portfolio of your designs to an interview or do you rely solely on a virtual presentation?
What is right for you may depend on several things. Here are some questions worth considering first. Does the company you are interviewing with produce a physical product with packaging? Are they strictly an electronic file creator? Who are their top clients? Applying some common sense towards the type of company you are dealing with is the first place to start. With all the technology being endlessly updated every six months or so, it's easy to over think your presentation. There's almost a certain nostalgia for the days when everything was hand drawn and posted on a board. One suggestion would be to call ahead and simply ask the interviewers if they would like any physical examples of your work. I prefer to just always bring along a few anyway.
The number one must have is a business card with your website on it. If you do not have a website yet, learn how to set one up here, or get a free gallery portfolio set up at a third party website and put that web address on your business card. See our article on Behance and Adobe's creative cloud. Behance offers free and paid portfolio sites as of this writing.
You must have something to leave behind for the interviewers it creates a longer lasting connection and possible opportunities for others to see your work. We suggest going even further than a simple business card,be the creative person you are, one idea we like is a mini gift bag with your logo on it and a small assortment of your work inside. You may think this is not cost effective, but you are not just having one gift bag printed out, as an Artist you are in business first and foremost for yourself, and you would be well advised to take the time to build your brand up before taking your work out to the world. This adds a great deal of credibility to you as a professional and also lays the groundwork for your future autonomy. Companies that create physical products and packaging will definitely want to see and touch actual product.
A number one no,no. Do not show up to a company unexpected with a portfolio or your work on an i-Pad, trying to show it to a company executive on the fly. Most interviewers, like to establish some credentials before hand and can be permanently put off on you by this type of tactic despite the quality of your work. Always behave in a professional and respectful manner and your opportunity will come.
6 Ideas For Your Portfolio
Now, on to some ideas. Once you have established the companies preference and have a scheduled appointment here are some ideas to help your chances of success.
1- Place your best artwork in the first and last position of your portfolio. It has long been shown that people are more likely to remember what they see first and also last. Just think of when you are told a list of things to remember, you will see that the same principle holds true.
2- Do not overwhelm with too many items. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. We like to see between 10 to 15 examples of graphic art and feel that is an ideal amount.
3- Do mention many other companies or people that you have created artwork for. It's a small world and you may be surprised what a change there is in the interview when someone knows some of the same people you have worked for.
4- Do not be too elaborate in your packaging if presenting a physical portfolio. Some people have a box within a box within a box, kind of like the Russian doll that keeps opening to a smaller and smaller one. Your creativity will shine through in your work, clean professional packages or cases will do just fine, be sure to keep it easy to access your work.
5- When using an electronic device to display your work, be sure you are familiar with it and have tested it first. You do not want to present an online slideshow to an interviewer if you are not familiar with the device or the software. Practice with friends or family first.
6- Have fun, relax, explain your creative processes that went into some of your work, be open and let your human element come forth.
Let us know if you have any questions or issues you would like addressed.