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Is a Physical Portfolio Important for a Freelancer?

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by pealo86, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. pealo86

    pealo86 New Member

    One item I've had on my ever growing to-do list for the last couple months is to update my printed portfolio... but, as a freelancer, I'm wondering if there is really any point?

    I have a mix of both print and digital work. Of course, on my website, I just show photos (or sometimes mockups) for print and screengrabs for digital (with a link to the website if applicable).

    When it comes to meeting prospective clients, I'll often take my work with me (depending on who I'm meeting it may not always be necessary to take any) to show them through it. I've recently just been taking the printed pieces themselves, as well as my MacBook or iPad to show them through the digital work.

    Surely this makes more sense than having a printed booklet or portfolio with *images* of how the work looks? I like how a portfolio is just one thing and can be more convenient to carry around with you, but taking examples of my actual printed work seems to make more sense as people can see exactly how it looks for themselves (as well as how it feels).

    And the same goes for digital work... taking my MBP or iPad allows people to see how the work actually looks and functions on the web (especially important if you're building the websites yourself)... simply showing an image can't always get this across. And if I were to be adding digital work to a printed portfolio, I'd have to ensure I were designing all my website / digital work at 300dpi

    Then there's the added pain of having to update your printed portfolio every now and then. If you simply just show people through the pieces of work individually, you don't have to worry about this.

    What does everyone else think? At the minute I'm thinking I'll carry on showing my work like this. If I were to start looking for a job at a design agency, I may end up going with a printed portfolio. I have to admit though I do like the idea of having a printed portfolio all nicely laid out and tying in with my existing branding!
  2. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I haven't updated my print portfolio in years and I haven't been asked for it since I was at uni. The main problem I faced was, as you say the expense, but also portraying digital work in a printed format is actually quite tricky. The bulk of my work is now digital so it makes sense to display it in a digital format.

    Honesty, I think it's important to showcase your work how you want to showcase it. If your work is good and is presented well, I don't think the format matters too much, just so long as people can see it.
  3. pealo86

    pealo86 New Member

    Thanks, and good point!

    How do you showcase your branding work? On a laptop / tablet etc?
  4. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    Just on screen through photography (they're better than digital mock ups if you can get work shot). It can also be useful to take along a single item to show someone, as physical objects are aways a million times better looking in real life.

    Here's some branding I worked on a while ago, and for a short period after the event I'd make up a few of the fruit salad invites to take to meetings for people to enjoy, both visually and orally. It was a good way to get remembered actually. Foody bribes work surprisingly well. ;)
  5. pealo86

    pealo86 New Member

    Aha lovely stuff! I've wanted to work on some kind of 'edible project' for quite sometime, I'm sure I'll find an excuse sooner or later ;)

    Yeah I think I'll continue taking samples of printed work too, nice to give clients the chance to actually hold something you've worked on.

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