Student Portfolios - what do you want to see?

kimothyschma's picture

Hi, everybody. I just discovered Typophile today and I'm already totally addicted. I'm a third year graphic design student in a five year program where we "co-op" (like a paid internship) and attend class in alternating quarters. Right now I'm in the middle of my second co-op quarter at the only job I've had. When I interviewed there, I used a large black case portfolio with acetate pages to showcase my work. This was required by our teachers, and all the work was printed full size/originals.

Here's my question: I'm going to be interviewing again in a couple months and it's time to start putting together my new portfolio. I have too much to put into a large portfolio case, and I would prefer to design the layout for my portfolio and bind it into a book. Do you have any advice for a professional-looking student portfolio? What would impress you when looking at another designer's portfolio? What are some standards for your own? Anything anyone can offer would be appreciated. (I think my supervisor might have said 10x15 was a good size but I can't remember! Is this a standard size?)

hfrancke's picture

Don't use plastic sleeve portfolios. Build your book yourself. Something like this:
http://www.brightorangethread.com/edu/student_work/gd/09-1.html
http://www.brightorangethread.com/edu/student_work/gd/21-1.html
http://www.brightorangethread.com/edu/student_work/gd/21-2.html

These examples are built by the student. A book very close to the 10x15. To me there is not standard size. It just need to fit on a desk without overtaking the desk, big enough to show the work (which might be 75% of original size). Have mocks up of each project ready in case they want to see the complete piece.

Be sure to include projects that show you can handle a lot of data. For conference you might design the invite/announcement, the program, the signage. You need to show depth. Too many portfolio have very short projects, cover and a spread or two. Show you can design a book with 10 different spreads (same system of course).

blank's picture

The most important thing I can stress is do not have a fixed portfolio. The high-concept work that will get you a job at a boutique design firm will flop hard at conservative in-house job interviews. Either use a solution that allows you to change out the pages or have more than one portfolio.

oprion's picture

I always found books and flat cases to be too constraining for various differently-shaped elements you might want to include. A simple black box could do the trick.
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kimothyschma's picture

Wow, thanks for your responses - all really good advice. Those books look like quite a challenge. I have bound a book before, though, so I think I can do it.

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