First impressions last

Portfolio design is a subjective topic and opinions differ. Clearly the most important thing is that the portfolio represents you as an individual, articulates your talents but speaks your language and is identifiable as yours stylistically.

How many is too many?

If your portfolio is overloaded with pieces, potential employers may miss work that might have really pushed their buttons. Try to identify 10 pieces to display in your portfolio: maybe 7 that show off  your precise specialization and 3 that demonstrate  a broader perspective of your talents and interests.

 Trends change quickly

Every piece in your portfolio should be reasonably recent. Our advice would be that any work more than three years old is probably not recent enough to show off a passion for design. If your work references design trends as you have developed, it is of course relevant to demonstrate the evolution.

 A tactical approach

Corporate clients often specifically want to see work targeted at their market. Other companies may prefer to see a variety of influences or a more contemporary flavour. Your Creative Mettle consultant can help you decide the best approach to take on a case by case basis but if you’re still not sure, then order chronologically as this will demonstrate your development as a designer.

 …for a Ha’peth of tar

Your portfolio is a living breathing document and may have been a part of your life for many years. Take an objective look at the overall presentation of your portfolio, inspect mounts for worn edges and make the necessary repairs and alterations. There is an argument that if the exterior has a bit of wear and tear it can add to the ‘story’ but it certainly should not also be found to detract from the quality of your work and your thoughts on the inside.


Your work can be protected and it’s lifespan extended by laminating your portfolio mounts. Overlays can be very effective too as they can lift a page by giving it a uniform sheen.


If you spend some time explaining some of the details on each piece of work, you can make sure you don’t leave gaps in potential employers mind’s. For example:

• The client name.

• What software was used.

• Your role in the project.

• A sentence defining why the project was important to your development.

 Answering the remit

Your Creative Mettle consultant will be able to give you a good steer on the client’s requirements and the ‘golden’ topics of conversation. If the client has asked, for example for a Graphic Designer, that can handle a job from start to finish  then it’s imperative to demonstrate in your portfolio that you’ve carried an idea through from the early stages to the finished print management stage.

 Go online

It’s a digital world and you must ensure that your work is available online. Potential employers have easy access to your online profile as your Creative Mettle consultant will have furnished them with the details. It is imperative that the online portfolio is easy to navigate and sensibly laid out giving due care and attention to the different approach you may have taken from industry sector to industry sector.

 A lasting impression

It can be a great idea to leave the employer with something to remember you by. The more inventive and creative you can be the better and you should use this as an opportunity to further demonstrate why you stand out from the pack. It can be difficult to judge how elaborate to be before you’ve actually met with a company but your Creative Mettle consultant can help you judge the tone. If you’re unsure, it has been known for candidates to take two or more ideas along and make the decision on which to leave during the interview.

 Never lose sight of why we’re all in business!

Finally, make sure your portfolio always ultimately remains sympathetic to the fact that any potential employer will be considering you for your ability to make money for the business. Your artistic tendencies and radical ideas certainly have a place but not to the detriment of commercial activity. Don’t leave potential employers with the impression that you don’t get the ‘bigger picture’ so one or two pages of radical ideas and off the wall creations is plenty.