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Portfolio 101

Portfolio 101

Whether it’s graphic design or custom jewelry design, a creative portfolio is important to you as an individual and business owner. A portfolio shows prospects your capabilities and, when it comes to turning creative into dollars, is one of the most effective tools in your business arsenal.

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a display of your best work. It can be more important than your resume when it comes to showcasing your talents and abilities. It is also a great tool when it comes to conversations with clients or employers.

How do I build a portfolio?

A portfolio is at its strongest when it contains a variety of work showing an assortment of skills and styles. If you are a graphic designer, you might show a few different prints and some digital pieces or websites. A jeweler might showcase custom rings, necklaces and bracelets incorporating different gemstones and metals.

Try and keep it fairly concise. My personal portfolio features 6–8 pieces and I wouldn’t show any more than 12. The more you try to show, the less memorable each piece becomes.

Make sure to finesse, tighten and polish each piece you feature – after all, you’re extremely proud of all of the work you’re featuring. Make sure the work is well-lit and photographed with professional quality.

Any other tips for building a great portfolio?

A tip I was taught is to choose your three strongest pieces, and feature them first, second and last. This allows you to hook the viewer and pique their interest with the first two pieces while the last piece ends on a high note and leaves a lasting impression.

Another thing to have prepared is talking points for each piece. Know each work like the back of your hand and be prepared to talk at length about anything featured. You need to be ready to answer any questions.

Of course, the most important component of your portfolio is the work you feature. Being confident in your portfolio is key to success in your presentation. Exhibit confidence and knowledge, and you will be held in high esteem by anyone who views it.

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