The 10 Commandments of Creative Portfolio
I just came from a meeting with the advertising gods committee, and they handed me these commandments on a napkin. Then, they asked me to write an article, like it was due yesterday! So here you go, approved by them after it sat unread in their inbox for two weeks: the 10 Commandments of Portfolio.
Thou shalt showcase the best above all else
Include only the best of your work in your portfolio. Choose wisely and strive for consistency, avoiding projects that look like sketches alongside highly polished ones. If it's an unpublished project, create attractive mockups. If it was published but underwent significant client changes, clean up the design and present it how you would have liked to see it.
Thou shalt not miss any opportunity in vain.
Assume that the person reviewing your portfolio is impatient. Get straight to the point, show visuals, and provide context for your ideas. Translate, add subtitles, and ensure everything in your portfolio is clear.
Thou shalt simplify
A digital creative portfolio consists of two parts: the content and the website's design. The design should prioritize simplicity. Look at museums—they have white walls to focus all attention on the artworks.
Thou shalt play fair.
When putting together your portfolio, include only those pieces you've made substantial contributions. Within this close-knit community, a quick chat or message to a colleague can reveal your level of involvement. Be transparent about your role in each project and give credit to the agency, your awesome teammates, and the folks who helped bring those ideas to life. Remember, in advertising, it's all about teamwork and nobody goes it alone.
Thou shalt not consider it finished.
Your creative portfolio is a work in progress. Don't wait until you're job hunting to update it. Share your creative process; unexpected opportunities may come your way.
Thou shalt see your neighbor's portfolios.
During the portfolio-building process, it's essential to look at references. Feel free to explore other portfolios, learn from what's good, and discard what doesn't align with your goals.
Thou shalt back up thy work.
Plenty of great work never comes to life, and even more, that does but eventually slips your mind. If you're an employee, safeguard your work on a personal hard drive. Why? If you're unexpectedly shown the door instead of leaving on your own terms, you risk losing access to your computer and all the portfolio-worthy masterpieces. Stay prepared!
Thou shalt work on personal projects.
It's your opportunity to do whatever you please. Showcase your talents in their purest form. Take the chance to share your sketches, writings, photos, and drawings.
Thou shalt not shove your awards down everyone's throat
Don't exaggerate with the awards. An experienced creative director has the criteria to determine what's good and what's not. Include your awards; you've earned them, but do so with grace and subtlety. Ideas are more important than metals.
Thou shalt seek the opinion of colleagues and other professionals
We don't always see our work clearly, and sometimes we become biased from looking at it too much. A fresh perspective from an expert or one of your peers will always help improve your portfolio and ultimately aid your growth as a creative professional.
I hope this helps you land that dream job! I'm here to help if you need personalized guidance on your creative portfolio. We can work together to create a plan that covers everything from generating new projects to polishing up your existing ones. And if you need help setting up your portfolio website, my agency can lend a hand with the design and development.
Email me at email@example.com, and let's kickstart this exciting portfolio journey!