DTP


 
Lively discussions on the graphic arts and publishing — in print or on the web


Go Back   Desktop Publishing Forum > General Discussions > Business Matters

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-08-2010, 12:16 AM   #1
Ronald
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Great Plains, USA
Posts: 250
Default Portfolio Presentation Etiquette

I've read several links on design portfolio tips, but there are a few aspects I'm still unsure of.

For instance, labeling your pieces, which I did for my PDF portfolio but not in my printed version. I just have the item name (website homepage, logo, book cover, etc.) and client name under that. But if it was just a school project or personal exercise, should I not put a "client" name? I figured it would be fine, but I'd hate for an employer to think I'm claiming that I've worked for someone I haven't.

Secondly, when it comes to personal presentation, I suppose I should ask if the employer wants me to guide them through the portfolio and discuss the pieces, or if they want to just go through it themselves. Since I don't have the items labeled, I'd prefer to go through it for them. I also have a visitors guide and fold-out map, which I think I'd show them last, after flipping through the sleeved items.

Is it important to decorate your portfolio case/sleeve? I have a simple black plastic folder with my logo painted on it in acrylic, but with the sleeve texture it's not terribly clean. I'm thinking I might just remove it and leave the folder blank.

Lastly, I found a job opening on a design team that requires a bachelor's degree. I just have an AAS but figured it wouldn't hurt to email my portfolio anyway. Has anyone been hired or know someone who's been hired under such uphill circumstances? I figure my portfolio could speak for itself, and I would cite this in my resume introduction.
Ronald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 12:51 PM   #2
ktinkel
Founding Sysop
 
ktinkel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: In Connecticut, on the Housatonic River near its mouth at Long Island Sound.
Posts: 11,189
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald View Post
For instance, labeling your pieces, which I did for my PDF portfolio but not in my printed version. I just have the item name (website homepage, logo, book cover, etc.) and client name under that. But if it was just a school project or personal exercise, should I not put a "client" name? I figured it would be fine, but I'd hate for an employer to think I'm claiming that I've worked for someone I haven't.
I have viewed many portfolios, and really hate it if I get any sense that the designer is mis-representing the work — especially by suggesting that student work was a real job.

That doesn’t mean you should avoid showing student work (for beginners, that is expected), just that it should be clear. I always like to know what the assignment was, in that case, and how it was rated by your teacher. Unless you have a convincing argument for a piece that got a low grade, don’t include it.

Quote:
Secondly, when it comes to personal presentation, I suppose I should ask if the employer wants me to guide them through the portfolio and discuss the pieces, or if they want to just go through it themselves.
You really, really, really want to present your work. Thumbing through a portfolio puts you at a disadvantage. Among other things you want to succinctly state what the assignment was and if they have any bearing, what constraints there were, expressed as challenges, pointing how you overcame them.

But perversely, don’t talk too much. Be prepared to answer questions in a way that benefits your cause.

Quote:
Is it important to decorate your portfolio case/sleeve? I have a simple black plastic folder with my logo painted on it in acrylic, but with the sleeve texture it's not terribly clean. I'm thinking I might just remove it and leave the folder blank.
Make it as simple as possible. You want all attention focused on your work.

Quote:
Lastly, I found a job opening on a design team that requires a bachelor's degree. I just have an AAS but figured it wouldn't hurt to email my portfolio anyway. Has anyone been hired or know someone who's been hired under such uphill circumstances? I figure my portfolio could speak for itself, and I would cite this in my resume introduction.
What do you have to lose? It is a dicey situation, though — choice of looking like a rebel or a con man (neither desirable), if the prospective hirer wants to take it badly.

I always found non-designer reviewers more likely to be sticklers for technicalities. Designers and art directors are more likely to pay most attention to your work and/or what you say about it.

Good luck with your interviews.

   
__________________
[SIZE=2][COLOR=LemonChiffon]::[/COLOR][/SIZE]
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
ktinkel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 02:42 PM   #3
don Arnoldy
Curmudgeon
 
don Arnoldy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 493
Default

Ronald-

I probably have looked at close to a thousand student portfolios over the last decade. Here are a couple of suggestions:

1. You should not have a portfolio. You should have a body of work (even if it is all only class projects and personal work) from which you choose specific pieces to present to specific people. Four well-done, relevant pieces are more impactful than 20 mediocre and/or irrelevant pieces.

2.When you present a piece you should be prepared to discuss two things about it: what was the assignment (what were you trying to accomplish, and what were the constraints) and why you are showing it to the reviewer. Don't describe the piece, describe what piece was intended to do, and what that piece demonstartes abut you. Don't tell me that you used Helvetica for the text, I can see that. Tell me why you chose Helvetica, and what that you chose Helvetica tells me about you.

3. There was a old commercial photographer who was famous for slapping together portfolios out of remnants of matboard and photo tape—inside of which he put award-winning photos—to show his potential clients. Don't worry too much about the wrapping, worry about the present.

4. Don't put marked-up work in your portfolio! I have seen students put "C" graded projects—complete with corrections, notes and markups into a portfolio. Take all of those comments, critiques and corrections and fix the project. It is not cheating. A portfolio is not a report card. The idea of a portfolio is to show what you are capable of—not what you happened to do at a particular point in your schooling.

5. Don't be afraid to include simple pieces. While its good to show potential employers what you might do, given a chance, to redesign the Coca Cola logo—you're not going to get that assignment in the first 90 days of your first job. Show them that you can also design a business form, or a small black & white ad, or a data sheet.

   
__________________
--don
don Arnoldy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 02:44 PM   #4
Ronald
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Great Plains, USA
Posts: 250
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
I have viewed many portfolios, and really hate it if I get any sense that the designer is mis-representing the work — especially by suggesting that student work was a real job.

That doesn’t mean you should avoid showing student work (for beginners, that is expected), just that it should be clear. I always like to know what the assignment was, in that case, and how it was rated by your teacher. Unless you have a convincing argument for a piece that got a low grade, don’t include it.
Thank you for the advice. As for labeling pieces the digitial portfolio, should I go as far as adding a descriptive sentence/phrase or two at the bottom of each? I figure it should be as short as possible.
Ronald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2010, 04:32 AM   #5
Bo Aakerstrom
Member
 
Bo Aakerstrom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Derby,UK
Posts: 1,321
Default

Carrying on from what Don said: Do some research about the company, it shows interest if you know something about them and it helps you choose what is appropriate to show them.

Although I'm not looking for employment I still have to put prospective clients mind at ease by demonstrating my ability to solve their problems (which by the way is the only reason they'll hire someone).

I know from experience that it is tempting to show everything you have ever done, but can be a bit overwhelming for those that do interviewing (They may already have seen more potential employees and portfolios than they wanted to anyway!), it is better to show them a few pieces that leaves an impact.

Hope it all goes well!

   
__________________
www.boaakerstrom.com
Behance Portfolio
Bo Aakerstrom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2010, 07:53 AM   #6
donmcc
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Sarnia, Canada
Posts: 1,122
Default

As for your last comment, go for it even if you don't match the requirements exactly. Just don't feel bad if you miss it. The posting says they want a Bachelor's ... if they don't get any, or any that look good, they will consider you. Ditto for missing one or two of the required languages.

I once got a job that required five years experience on a Macintosh computer. This was in 1988, four years after said computer was invented. In other words, the only people who were able to meet that requirement were the seven or eight on the design team at Apple. My three years was accepted.

Another hint. If a resume is being scanned electronically, make sure you have every keyword in the posting in your resume. So if the posting says AJAX experience is needed, and you have only used Ajax to clean your sink, put a line in that says "AJAX, no experience". The scanning program might be set to just search for the word AJAX, and will thus record a hit, improving your chance of a human reviewing your resume.
donmcc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 12:58 AM   #7
Ronald
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Great Plains, USA
Posts: 250
Default

I appreciate all the advice. Thanks, everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donmcc View Post
Another hint. If a resume is being scanned electronically, make sure you have every keyword in the posting in your resume. So if the posting says AJAX experience is needed, and you have only used Ajax to clean your sink, put a line in that says "AJAX, no experience". The scanning program might be set to just search for the word AJAX, and will thus record a hit, improving your chance of a human reviewing your resume.
Electronic scanning of a resume? Perhaps not, but I just assumed someone would personally look them all over, not just to read the information but also to observe how well the resume is composed and what kind of graphics the job seeker incorporated. It would seem foolish for a graphic designer to make a simple, text-only resume and my college instructor encouraged us to put personality into ours. Nevertheless, I'll look over the requirements list again before sending mine.
Ronald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 02:02 AM   #8
Bo Aakerstrom
Member
 
Bo Aakerstrom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Derby,UK
Posts: 1,321
Default

These day they might scan the resume and let a computer weed out the unsuitable candidates if there are a large number of responses.

Some employers ask for something written by hand so they can assess your personality analysing your hand writing (I'd like to know what they would make of my scrawls!).

Beats actually meeting your prospective employees...

   
__________________
www.boaakerstrom.com
Behance Portfolio
Bo Aakerstrom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 08:29 AM   #9
Steve Rindsberg
Staff
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,742
Default

>> Some employers ask for something written by hand so they can assess your personality analysing your hand writing (I'd like to know what they would make of my scrawls!).

Dunno about you, but in my case I'd be a shoo-in for the job if they had any extraterrestrial accounts. Clearly it's an alien language, possibly the result of a species with no fingers trying to use common earthling writing implements.

   
__________________
Steve Rindsberg
====================
www.pptfaq.com
www.pptools.com
and stuff
Steve Rindsberg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 10:35 AM   #10
terrie
Staff
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 8,944
Default

Quote:
ronald: but I just assumed someone would personally look them all over, not just to read the information but also to observe how well the resume is composed and what kind of graphics the job seeker incorporated.
Very unlikely! Even for a graphics-based job. Most places using pre-screening software to weed out resumes that don't match the job criteria...


>>It would seem foolish for a graphic designer to make a simple, text-only resume

Do it! You have nothing to lose but a bit of time and make a pdf while you're at it because they are quick and easy to attach to an email or any of the online job sites. Consider it as a practice approach at simplicity, readability and legibility...


>>and my college instructor encouraged us to put personality into ours.

Nothing wrong with that but I think a clean, readable resume wins out over most personality resumes. One of the advantages to resume "technology" is the ease of tailoring a resume to a particular employer. Take advantage of that by researching the organization to whom you are submitting the resume and tailoring the resume to suit the organization's style.

Terrie
terrie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Email Etiquette CWM480 General Publishing Topics 29 12-13-2009 10:16 PM
Apple’s Leopard presentation ktinkel The Corner Pub 8 10-24-2007 06:55 PM
presentation wbickerstaff General Publishing Topics 3 09-30-2006 08:42 PM
Artworker Portfolio? lister Print Design 6 02-28-2005 10:21 AM
Interesting read on misleading presentation techniques JVegVT General Publishing Topics 7 02-07-2005 03:41 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:21 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Contents copyright 2004–2014 Desktop Publishing Forum and its members.