Wednesday, March 15, 2017

More Resources To Help You Create A Professional Portfolio

© 2017 Don Arday.
There are many excellent companies with products, and services to help illustrators and designers create a professional customized portfolio of their work. These companies provide portfolio boxes, binders, clam shell cases, and attache carriers that come in a wide range of materials and sizes. Many portfolio suppliers provide special services such as engraving, embossing, and printing to enhance the uniqueness of a portfolio. Some companies even offer image printing and full assembly resulting a a completed finished portfolio. An artist just has to choose the portfolio product and upload digital files with their branding and interior page images.

Studio eQ
Studio eQ offers custom laser-cut and laser-etched portfolios and books for customers looking to showcase their artwork, project or memories. They offer custom portfolios in a variety of materials including bamboo, birch, teak, anodized aluminum, stainless steel & acrylic

Studio eQ's laser-etched books are bound with 3 aluminum 'Chicago-style, blind' screw posts in 3/8" standard, additional post lengths are available if required. Design your book using our template and upload your artwork, along with your desired options. Once checkout is complete they will send a digital proof confirming artwork location. Then once approved they will produce your book and ship it soon as it is complete.

http://www.studioeqdesign.com/

Shrapnel Design
Your support and collaboration have helped us to design and develop a line of presentation portfolios and 3-ring binders like no other. Their production techniques continue to develop and by working together with great clients and suppliers we continue to innovate and improve our custom products. We consider style and structure in order to create products that will stand the test of time. We create portfolios that will weather beautifully using sustainable materials and processes whenever possible.

Shrapnel believes in sustainability. Being green comes naturally. They consider every aspect of the process and how it affects the world around us. They create very little waste from our production processes, up-cycling our off-cut material to create new objects of desire. Shipping and packing materials are recyclable and are re-used with the minimum amount of waste generated. Portfolios are manufactured in Vancouver, Canada.

http://shrapneldesign.com/

Mullenberg Designs
An upscale bookbindery owned and operated by Scott Mullenberg, Mullenberg Designs has been collaborating one-on-one with visual artists and designers over the last two decades to create custom portfolios and presentation structures that stand apart from rest. Mullenberg Designs presentation portfolios are fabricated with a screw-post binding, allowing flexibility when switching out images or customizing a body of work for a specific presentation. Below you will find sizing and base pricing. Call or email if you have any questions and they’ll be happy to walk you through the process of a portfolio build-out.

http://www.mullenbergdesigns.com/

Portfoliobox
For over 30 years, we’ve been the best kept secret of artists and photographers around the world. Shop our wide variety of stock portfolios ready to ship today. You can also find a custom presentation solution in a striking and distinctive handmade product from Portfoliobox. With their team of artisans, skill and care that goes into crafting a truly singular work because that is precisely the energy they put into each and every Portfoliobox.

https://www.portfoliobox.com/

Clearstory
Clearstory’s personalized portfolio books are printed with high quality paper and inks, and traditionally bound and covered in several ways — from leather covers to canvas. Get started creating a book today! Or see how to make a  book with Clearbooks software. Combining your creative talent with their state-of-the-art digital printing equipment and professional book design templates will help you present your work effectively.

http://myclearstory.com/

Kristin Dunn

Kristin Dunn bookbinding & design  offers a large selection of ready to ship {RTG} and customizable presentation products online. From clamshell boxes to screw post portfolios you are sure to find a unique and personalized solution to your presentation needs. You will find our most polular size and color combinations available here. Products come in portrait, landscape, and square formats. These portfolios are packed up and ready to ship out in 1-2 days so if you are in a time crunch and don't need any personalization or other embellishments buying your portfolio from the RTG collection will save you time and money.


http://www.kdbooks.com/

Disclaimer: The list of website links is provided to be a resource for illustrators and artists. It was not intended for the purpose of advertising or endorsing one source over another. Nor is it by any means complete. There are many other excellent sources not mentioned here.






Monday, February 6, 2017

Things To Do To Create An Effective Portfolio

In the past, if an illustrator asked what they needed for a successful portfolio, he or she would have been told, “every portfolio must contain the three h’s -- head, hands, and heart”. Head referring to concepts, hands referring to skills, and heart referring to desire. These days, a portfolio is expected to contain much more than that. It not only must demonstrate what you have done in your past, but must also predict what you might achieve in your future. A portfolio must be able to weather all situations. Below are a number of tasks a portfolio must now do.

© 2013 Don Arday.

Do Establish the Purpose for 

Your Portfolio

Is it to obtain full-time employment, a freelance commission, a teaching position, a gallery exhibition, etc?

First and foremost, it is important to know what you want your portfolio to do for you. The purpose for a portfolio is the single largest determining factor in how the portfolio will look and function. A portfolio constructed for interviewing for a full-time position will have to function differently than one that is meant to attract freelance work, or is for some other purpose.

Do Know Your Audience

Are they a creative person such as an artist or designer; or are they a non-creative person such as an editor, writer, marketing person, or business owner?

Just as advertisers, marketers, product developers, and manufacturers exhaustively research their audience to get to know their customers, you should do likewise. Differing audiences will require varying forms of communication and possibly even different language sets depending of their knowledge of what it is you do. These factors will affect the form and content of your portfolio presentation.

Do Know How to Reach Your Audience

What are their job responsibilities, and the type of business they work for? Do they have a preferred method of contact? Can you contact them through a referral?

It’s important to know if you are dealing directly with someone who has the power to make a decision, or someone who can only relay information within a company. It’s also essential to know if the business they are in can hire your services directly, or whether you should be in contact with another outsourced company or division. For instance, to work for Pepsi, you will have to deal with an outside firm.

Do Know What Will Attract Your Audience

Have you seen the work they do and what their company does? Are you familiar with the type of work they typically commission? Do you know who their customers are?

Every company has a set of criteria that provide guidance for the type of work that they do. The criterion also sets the personality and style of their business. For some companies like children’s book publishers for instance, it is obvious, but for design firms and advertising agencies it may take some research on your part to know what demographic they specialize in and who their clients are. The work shown in a portfolio should be chosen accordingly.

Do Select the Appropriate Portfolio Media

Will you need a physical hard copy portfolio, a virtual digital portfolio, a website portfolio, a disposable portfolio, etc.?

Pertaining to marketing, aspects of presentation and a portfolio’s function, you should know whether you are seeking a job or commissions locally or nationally. Whether you can get by with a digital or web-based presentation, or whether you will have to appear for an interview in person, and with whom.

Do Select the Best Format

Does the portfolio need to be small or large, physically shipped or emailed, horizontally formatted or vertical, individual panels or a bound presentation?

If most of your work is vertical, arrange your portfolio so the spine is vertical. If the work is predominantly horizontal use the cover or case to indicate that orientation since there are relatively few commercial portfolios made with a horizontally oriented spine. Choose a format that will easily allow you to reconfigure your portfolio quickly if you will frequently need to do so.

Do Determine the Number of Illustrations

Should you show many illustrations or a select few? If you have a series, should you show all of its pieces? How similar in style, format, or appearance should the work be?

Most illustrators show more pieces than they should, and most reviewers tend to experience visual fatigue and attention deficit somewhere between 20 and 25 pieces. The main goal is to leave a lasting impression with the work. Work that is repetitious in composition, color scheme, point of view, and content tends to blend together. Work that presents a variation of aspects tends to be more memorable.

Do Choose the Right Illustration Content

Should you include only published work? Should published work be presented as tear sheets? Should it be full-page illustrations, or should you also include spot illustrations, icons, etc? Should you include black and white work? Should you show all finished work, or add in concept sketches?

Illustrators who have a few years of experience are expected to show published work. Illustrators just starting out are not subjected to the same expectation. The content of a portfolio should be a combination of “absolute best work” and work that relates to the opportunity at hand. If black and white or other forms of work are a part of the repertoire of the reviewer than they should be in the portfolio.

Do Seek Opinions on Content

Are you the best judge of your own work? Have you gotten positive feedback about specific pieces? Do you know someone who can lend you an opinion?

One of the most difficult tasks in creating a portfolio is selecting the work. Even illustrators with years of experience need help when it comes to curating their work. Artists often develop a bias towards certain pieces. It may have to do with the great amount of effort it took, or successfully pleasing a difficult client, or some other prejudice. These situational conditions should be overruled by quality.

Do Provide a Context For The Work

Have you provided relevant titles or client information for the illustrations? Can you provide a sentence to summarize an assignment or to explain the purpose for the work?

Any information that explains to a viewer what they are looking at can be as valuable as the work itself. In a portfolio, all images appear to be very similar in proportion whether they were produced for a 3’ x 4’ poster, or a small format magazine; or whether they were done for a nephew, or a multinational company. Having the work placed in it’s proper context is important for a reviewer.

Do Match the Context to Your CV

Are you showing illustration examples that match the employers and clients you list on your resume? Do the examples demonstrate the skills you have listed? Does the work reflect either your job objective or your experience summary?

It is very easy for a resume and a portfolio to present a split personality. A common example, although it is not necessary, is to list freelance projects on the resume. Reviewers will want to see the pieces that correspond to the listings. And, should the work shown in the portfolio diverge from actual past experience, it can be easily addressed with a career objective statement on the resume. Both credentials should be mutually supportive.

Do Design Your Portfolio

Can your portfolio case or binder be differentiated from other portfolios when it is closed? Does the interior layout of your portfolio compliment your work or compete with it? Is the layout uniquely identifiable? Does the page size and scale of images show off the level of detail in your work? Do images sit opposite one and other on page spreads if you are using a bound portfolio? Does your portfolio shift from a horizontal orientation to a vertical one several times?

All aspects of your portfolio presentation should be customized to leave an identifiable impression on a reviewer, from the materials used, to the layout, color scheme, and application of typography. Reviewers sometimes look at a dozen or more portfolios, which equates to viewing 200 to 250 images within a single sitting that lasts less than one hour. So in addition to the work, a portfolio’s design must also form a memorable impression.

Do Work on the Order of the Work

Do adjacent illustrations compliment one and other? Is there a natural progression of work? Does the order of the work support a presentation narrative? Does the arrangement of works at any point cause a reviewer to make a “this is better than that” judgment about two pieces? Is the arrangement the visual equivalent to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony?

Organizing the sequence of work in a portfolio is a subject unto itself, and although there are unlimited possibilities, there are some strategies that work better than others in certain situation. The work itself must be high in quality to provide the best source for a portfolio, regardless of any organizational tactics. Some of the most common approaches will be covered in a future posting.

Do Support the Work With Branding

Do you have a logo or specific type treatment you can apply to your materials? Do you have a specific color scheme? Does your portfolio coordinate with your resume, mailers, business card, website, etc.?

Branding goes hand in hand with portfolio design and function. Branding not only serves to promote recognition, but it reinforces memorability and reveals the rank of a professional. Branding, once established, provides solutions for many design and promotional problems that arise when preparing marketing materials like the appearance of the resume, cover letter, mailers, stationery, home page design, etc.