You may be thinking that printing your design portfolio is outmoded and obsolete. In fact, when you consider that most designers have extensive websites to show off their work, a printed booklet may seem like an inadequate presentation. Instead of regarding a printed portfolio as a cheaper version of an online portfolio, there are several additional things you should consider, such as what a printed portfolio actually says about you as an artist.
When you’re the only one putting in the time and effort into creating a physical manifestation of your art—perhaps in addition to an online version—you become a striking example of dedicated passion. Even better, and especially important for artists and designers who work in print, a printed portfolio showcases an immediate real life application of your skills. Creating a standout portfolio is a delicate process that requires deep consideration of design and application.
The first step to creating a printed portfolio is the concept. What are you trying to convey to potential employers and clients? Whatever your strength is, make sure that it’s properly portrayed in your portfolio. If you excel in graphic work with bright colors and bold contours, make that the vibrant focus of your portfolio. If constructs are something you specialize in, consider implementing a three-dimensional design.
Once you’ve established a concept, the next step is to consider how the design will affect your printing process. Printing for three dimensions, in color, or with texture are important factors that have to be explored.
Printing in 3D
A three-dimensional design often means that you need to explore alternative paper options. You’ll want your structure to be sturdy and durable. You may choose to create your portfolio with standard paper and laminate it later for additional thickness, or you may want to use cardstock for added resilience. Regardless of your choice, the paper on which you print needs to be compatible with a quality printer.
A good choice for a printer that can handle cardstock beautifully is the Canon Pixma series. Many Pixma printers have flexible paper handling, ISO speed ratings, and quality ink and pigment, like the ChromaLife100 that can last for 300 years without fading.
Printing in Color
Colorful graphic design portfolios are a common sight, whether printed or online. While the color in online portfolios may be affected by each user’s specific screen settings, the colors on a printed portfolio are always reliable.
To print a superior color portfolio, consider using a 5 color printer like the OKI Data C900 series. With its sensitivity to color and additional white toner, your color printed portfolio will have clear color that lasts.
Printing with Texture
A truly unique way to print your portfolio is with texture. Adding another element to your design will astonish anyone reviewing your work into taking the extra time and effort to examine its fine details.
You can print simple raised lettering or even create depressed patterns. The most versatile printers even allow you to create texture on wood, aluminum, or acrylic, allowing you to combine more than one design element into your final portfolio.
Consider using the Direct Jet UV LED printers which come in three different bed sizes and use Multisolve™ UV LED inks. With ink-repelling coating to ensure reliable printing and an overcoat seal for added durability, your printed portfolio will have numerous advantages.
Like a portfolio that incorporates wood or metal into its design, it’s important to consider the impact of additional creative elements. Presenting your portfolio with a thumb drive, QR code, or another scannable image will allow you to share more of your relevant work without overwhelming a client.
You can also include useful elements that will consistently remind people of your brand. Pens, bags, calendars, or other office items stamped with your logo and seamlessly integrated into your portfolio will serve as a constant reminder of your brand and your voice.
While design and creativity are essential elements to an outstanding portfolio, guaranteeing quality prints depends on the reliability and consistency of your printer, paper, and printer colors.
When choosing a printer, examine your options closely and compare the benefits of how each would help you reach your desired objectives. Type and quality of paper also need to be chosen with care to prevent short-lived portfolios that face with time. When it comes time to refill your ink or toner cartridges, the same examination should precede a purchase. Printing with subpar materials will only result in a boring, mediocre creation, so choose when you’re printing the most important representation of your work and your brand.
Following the above guidelines, you can ensure that your printed portfolio goes above and beyond the standard online portfolio, showcasing your strengths and creativity to all potential clients and employers. Next time you apply to a company or are in need of remarkable distinguishment, consider printing a high quality graphic design portfolio to impress your audience.
Albert Krav is a professional graphic designer and industry freelance writer from Calabasas, California. With over 10 years of experience as a designer, he has detailed many projects and works of art, all catered to conveying his unique artistic sense. When he is not busy drawing, rendering, and printing, he loves to go to music festivals with his friends.