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Last week, Thoma hosted a design portfolio review for graphic design majors from Harding University. Art director Kati Mallory and designer Brian Hodges perused student portfolios in one-on-one and group settings. These are the takeaways from the sessions and some tips for other aspiring, young designers. Enjoy!


1. Build a consistent brand.

Your portfolio is more than just something to house your best work. Treat your portfolio as a single, unified piece. Build a grid that will work for your horizontal- and vertical-inclined pieces. Be consistent in the page styles, headings and colors used. Whether you section off your pieces into disciplines like logos and web design or you simply present your work piece by piece, make sure the viewer understands the organization with ease.


2. Choose quality over quantity.

Consider the individual who will be viewing your portfolio. They will be taking time out of their day to interview you for an internship or even a full-time job. Keep them impressed by including only your best work but don’t keep them in the room for hours by showing every illustration and photo you’ve done since junior high school.


3. Invest in photography.

While your iPhone may take some awesome shots for Instagram, leave the iPhone in your pocket when you shoot your portfolio pieces. Go ahead and invest the time, effort and (possibly) money to get professional-quality photography. You put all the time and effort into making your designs amazing, don’t let poor image quality distract from your work.


4. Plan out the physical element.

Take into account the physical elements of your portfolio. Make sure you are comfortable with the size of your book. If you are going to try to do a smaller-sized book, ensure your work will stand out. If you are going big, make sure your book can still be handled easily. Use quality paper, make sure your edges are sharp & clean and use good binding.


5. Eloquently discuss your work.

Don’t ramble. Don’t mumble. Be proud and confident in the work you present. (This should be easy if you followed tip no. 2.) Freshen up on your design vocabulary and confidently articulate why your work is amazing.


To see more work from our creative team, hop over to our Work page.


Author Thoma Thoma

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