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Your Graphic Artist Portfolio: How to Choose Pieces that Effectively Represent What You Can Offer


Your graphic artist portfolio will serve as the main way to display your work to potential employers. Because of this, it should display the extent of your skills and the variety of topics and jobs you have handled. Your portfolio, however, should not include each and every piece you have completed. Rather, it should consist of your best or most unique works. Below is advice on selecting pieces to include in your portfolio.

Consider the Basics

While every graphics job is different, there are some basic types of pieces that could be called "traditional" in the field. The first few pieces in your portfolio should be projects that are not overly unique or different, but which display your skills. Essentially, these pieces will show that you are knowledgeable about and able to complete basic graphics work.

Include Unique Projects

Examples of traditional projects can be followed by those that are more unique, difficult or included extra tasks. These pieces will show that you are able to handle each client's unique needs or requests. These projects, however, should not necessarily include anything over-the-top. Beware of examples that could be offensive to other clients.

Focus on Your Best Work

When selecting samples for your portfolio, the time when they were created is irrelevant. Therefore, do not hesitate to include examples of your old work as well as projects you completed last week or even yesterday. As long as the example properly displays your skills, its age is unimportant.

The exception to this rule is when the sample uses techniques that are outdated. A sample created using equipment or supplies that are no longer used will make it seem as though you are not familiar with the industry. This could potentially make employers feel that you are unable to complete their job, which may induce them to hire another artist.

Choose Quality over Quantity

Your portfolio should contain the best samples of your work. This may mean that you include fewer pieces and that your portfolio should be smaller, but it is the quality and not the amount of work that attracts employers. If you are worried about your portfolio being too small, add the pieces that you found mediocre or basic to the back of your portfolio.  Adding them to the back will increase the size of your portfolio without detracting from your best or most unique work.

Be Honest with Yourself

Is that piece really your best? Could it be redone or added to with your current skills? If you believe that you could make a piece better, do so! Don't be afraid to change previously completed work, if possible, to show off your true talents. Your former clients will never know and will allow you to show off your true talents, which just might land you more jobs. Review your work and be realistic about whether you could make it better. If changing the work a little will not take too much time, do so before including it in your portfolio.

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