Skip to main content

The Portfolio Handbook

I think I was a junior when I ambled across the hallway at school and visited the sophomore studio. I was feeling knowledgeable and wanted to impart some of my 'wisdom' on the younger souls in our program. Plus I was probably en route to the magic pop machine* for a little pick-me-up.

It was a pleasant surprise to find that the sophomore class was really eager to learn. I looked through a couple portfolios, answered some questions, and shared my email address. From that point until the time I graduated, the class of 2012 stood out as a group of people passionate about design and excellence and really making the most of their time in school.

So it didn't come as a surprise to find out they had compiled an entire handbook about how to put together a design portfolio. (Full disclosure: it was part of a school assignment. But they definitely went above and beyond—this blows many many process books out of the water.) I haven't had a chance to read every page yet, but from what I have read, this is an excellent document. And the thing is, it's written by people who truly know what they're talking about. Thanks to the co-op program, most University of Cincinnati design students will have assembled 4-6 portfolios by the time they graduate.

The difference between portfolio #1 and #4 is, without exception, staggering. That's usually because the designer has to trek down this long and winding road of figuring out page layout, communication design, and how to build a project so that it looks good in your portfolio. This handbook takes some of the guesswork out of that journey. If you're a designer of any sort, you owe it to yourself to give this a look.

You can buy a print version for $45 or download the pdf for free here.
(If you go the pdf route, please consider donating to the class of 2012's senior show. It's a worthy cause.)

*The magic pop machine was a vending machine that dispensed soda into plastic cups with crushed ice. It was inexpensive and the drinks were always perfectly syrupy-sweet. Unfortunately, the magic pop machine disappeared during my senior year. I'm afraid it might be one of those things from the 80's that is on its way out...