A graphic design portfolio is the best way to display and showcase your past projects, creativity, and talent. A graphic design portfolio is vital when trying to pursue opportunities as a graphic designer within a company or as a freelance graphic designer pursuing clients. The graphic design portfolio can contain any number of items, in several different formats.
The first important step in developing a graphic design portfolio is deciding what work to include. You should only include your highest quality work in your graphic design portfolio. If you include mediocre work in your graphic design portfolio simply because you are concerned about not having enough pieces in your graphic design portfolio, you will lose important job offers and clients. It is better to have a few pieces in your graphic design portfolio that really showcase your talent and creativity than have many pieces that do not help you build a solid reputation as a graphic designer.
The next step in developing a graphic design portfolio is deciding what type of graphic design portfolio you want to create. There are four main types of graphic design portfolios: printed pages in a binder, an online graphic design portfolio, images placed on a graphic design portfolio CD, or a slideshow of images placed on a graphic design portfolio DVD. Really, it is best to create one of each type of graphic design portfolio so that you are fully prepared to offer whatever your prospective employer or client is prepared to look at to judge your talent and creativity as a graphic designer.
To create a graphic design portfolio of printed pages, you should choose only your best work, and only the best quality printed copies. If you are unsure of the quality of your home printer, put the images on a disk and have them printed for you at a print shop. The best quality and most creative pieces can look mediocre if not printed with high quality printing. You should then present the pieces in a professional manner. The best color for a graphic design printed portfolio is black, and the most professional style is leather. This should be something that is spiral bound, a book, or a case so that you can add or remove pieces from your graphic design portfolio easily as you progress in your graphic design career.
To create a graphic design portfolio online, you will first need web space. Website hosting and domain registration has become very cost effective. Most websites also give you free website building tools so that you don't have to know HTML. However, make sure that you sign up for website hosting with enough bandwidth to handle all of the images and potential traffic. Once you have your website set up, you'll want to choose your pieces carefully. Display them as thumbnails on one page, with each full scale piece appearing on another page when the thumbnail is clicked. This will give people with slower internet access easier access to your online graphic design portfolio.
To create a graphic design portfolio on DVD or CD, you must have a computer with a DVD or CD burner. To make really professional DVD or CD graphic design portfolios, you will want to get a CD or DVD burning kit that allows you to burn images onto the top of the CD or DVD and create labels for jewel cases. You can either save individual pieces on the CD or DVD, or you can simply save a copy of your website on the disc.
"I need a professional graphic design firm to do my logos, stationery, web design and brochures. I've met several graphic designers at networking groups. I've looked at a ton of web sites. How can I be sure I'm hiring a professional graphic design firm that can meet all of my needs?"
A professional graphic designer will have a full range of services available to meet your needs. These include print and web design, Flash and video work, photography and illustration, resources for quality and affordable printing, and other marketing services. The professional graphic design firm also uses professional tools, like Adobe In Design or Quark, Photoshop, Dreamweaver or Cold Fusion to just name a few.
Look at the firm's clientele. What size firms are they servicing? What services are they providing for those companies? Do the services they provide cover a full spectrum of graphic and marketing services? Professional graphic design firms will have access to and be using a wide variety of resources. You can ask for the full list of their services if they aren't already included in their on-line web sites.
Once you've narrowed your list down to two or three firms, ask for references and call each one of them personally. Getting your business off on the right foot is at stake here. Take the time to really understand what their clients think of them. Here are a few questions you might ask. This is not an exhaustive list, so before you start calling add any additional questions you can think of to it.
Did the services they provide include the following: logos, stationery, business cards, marketing post cards, advertising concepts and print advertising, brochures, newsletters, press releases, marketing CD's or DVD's, web design, web optimization and market research.
For each of the services that were provided ask how happy the client was with the end product. Was it delivered on time and within budget? Did it produce the desired results? What were the downsides of working with the firm from this client's point of view? What were the upsides? All in all, how happy were they with the products produced? Would they call this firm a professional graphic design firm? Why or Why not?
Once you've made the reference calls, take the time to look at the results of each interview. If you rate each of your potential firms on a 1 to 5 scale on the above elements, you'll find on that a leader begins to emerge.
Then ask yourself some additional questions as well. Which of the professional graphic design firms you are considering has experience in your field? Which one does work that you like and feel is effective? It's time for your personal taste to be brought into the decision making considerations. On a more personal front, which of the people do you think you'll like working with more?
Once you've considered all of these factors, a clear decision should emerge. If it doesn't, take the top two and - flip a coin because you've done all the relevant homework.