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How many pieces of work in a portfolio?

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by Spiral, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. Spiral

    Spiral Guest

    How many pieces of work would you normally expect to see in a Graphic Design portfolio?

    What would you say is a good portfolio?
  2. mcskillz

    mcskillz Member

    Hi Spiral

    I'd say there are a few things to factor in…

    1) Is it a folio to take with you to interview, or to send a small pdf sample at application stage?
    2) What is the role? What would you be most involved in? Branding? Publications? Web?

    It is important to consider these things, as there is no point in sending 10 logos to a company for a role mainly involved in production publications.

    If a role is for a specific type of design, make sure the folio you present them reflects your skills in the potential role. If it's a general design position, make sure you show variety throughout.

    I'd say you should be looking at maybe 7-8 piece of work at application stage, and maybe make it up to 15 pieces to take to interview. I've heard a lot of people saying they like to see or would take scamps and sketches to show your working process, but I've never done this, and generally find interviewers are happy to hear you explain your work, and it can give you a chance to show your passion for design!

    Be strict when deciding what will go in the portfolio, be ruthless! In my opinion, it'd be better to have less work, but of higher quality throughout, than filling up with things you aren't 100% happy with to make up the numbers.

  3. Spiral

    Spiral Guest

    Hi Jamie.

    The portfolio would be available online and the position I will be looking for is a junior GD position.

    Yes I was thinking along those lines too. Only include really good work and to keep it quality and not quality. I was planning on having a variety of work in my portfolio, logos, posters, advertisings, leaflets, etc and this way I would not appear as ‘specialised’ in one area. I was hoping this would allow me to look flexible to employers in the range of work I design. I also do illustrations too.

    Question for you: If you apply to a job ad and the company deal with say branding and my folio only has 2-3 examples of branding would I need to produce more branding examples? or could I just leave my folio as it is, as variety?

  4. mcskillz

    mcskillz Member


    Don't just pull some work together quickly to look like you can do more branding. Give an honest account of your skills, abilities and experiences. If the quality of your branding work is up to scratch, they'll see that in the work you present.

    However… in the meanwhile - practice, practice, practice. For a junior position you won't be expected necessarily to have that much real world experience, however you should be able to embellish you folio with mock projects. If you haven't enough branding work, then do some mock jobs of branding exercises, if you need to show capability of promotional materials, do that… just keep working all the time but don't plough through making things quickly, take your time and think through to create great work!

    A small amount of genius work always wins over a large amount of mediocrity.
  5. Spiral

    Spiral Guest

    Thanks Jamie, this is all really helpfull and I think I am half way there. At present I don't have any jobs to apply to and I will hold back until I feel my portfolio is up to standard and ready to be considerd.

    Quality not quantity!

    Much appreciate!
  6. mcskillz

    mcskillz Member

    An other thing. Be humble. Don't go in thinking you are the be all and end all. You're not, not in any established design firms eyes. If you get a position in a good studio you should be a sponge for the first little while, taking in all the wisdom and info your senior peers have to offer. I'm not saying don't be confident, just don't be cocky!

    Research the agency you are applying for, take note of any particularly nice work on their site, and be sure to mention your appreciation of their work in the covering letter. Designers love to have their ego massaged!
  7. dot design

    dot design Member

    Only put in what you;re really happy with 'Spiral' also work that you can talk through and about the process involved. Its better to have 2 fantastic pieces in there rather than 8 middle of the road bits.
  8. dot design

    dot design Member

    This is great advice also!
  9. Spiral

    Spiral Guest

    Thanks dot design! I will take on board your good advise too.

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