Not every graphic designer feels the need to create a printed copy of their portfolio. Since more and more designers create work for customers who function exclusively online, a printed portfolio is often unnecessary and may even seem archaic.
For those designers who still insist on creating a selection of samples on paper, there are several guidelines to keep in mind when creating a printed portfolio. While many employers expect something special, an impressive portfolio doesn’t necessarily mean adding extensive bells and whistles. Occasionally, all that is needed is quality printing and clean design.
If you’re considering printing a portfolio to show potential clients and employers, read on to discover essential printing tips for presenting your graphic design portfolio.
The Right Design
Considering the design of your portfolio is the first important step towards quality printing. Choosing the dimensional design, layout, and printing style of your portfolio will affect more than just what samples you’ll be selecting—it also determines the paper, ink, and finish of your portfolio, which in turn decides what type of printer you should be using.
For those who need to print in color, a quality printer with reliable ink or toner is essential. The Canon Pixma MG5620 is a good option for professional caliber printing. Able to print with a resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi in color with five individual ink tanks, this printer is quick, efficient, and reliable. When it’s time to replace the ink, if you’re printing several color portfolios, you can find find top notch remanufactured Canon ink cartridges for reasonable prices.
Even if you’ve already got a superior printer, you’ll still need to consider your paper, ink or toner, and polished presentation.
The Right Paper
Printer paper is usually broken down into two categories: coated and uncoated. Coated paper is generally used for photography or illustration, while uncoated paper is used for books and magazines.
When considering coated papers, you’ll have to choose between a variety of textures, including gloss, silk, semi-matte, and matte. Besides the matte paper, these are all ideal for art, as the printer ink doesn’t get absorbed into the paper fibers. Instead, it stays on top, giving the print brighter colors and a glossier finish.
Uncoated paper, with its natural, rough style, is preferred for products that include lots of text. You don’t want glossy paper when printing text, as a glossy finish typically reflects much more light and makes it difficult to read the text.
A Choice Between Ink and Toner
While many may not be aware of the difference between ink and toner, they are classified by the function of a printer. While ink is a liquid used in inkjet printers, toner is a powder used in laser printers. While traditionally laser printers have conquered inkjet printers when it comes to photo printing due to the precision of the laser drawn image, laser is also the favored method of printing, as it won’t smudge fresh out of the printer like ink does.
How to Stand Out
Even with high quality materials to create your portfolio, it can still be difficult to distinguish yourself from the crowd. The best way to capture attention is to selectively showcase your best work that is the most relevant to your client. In that effort, you may have to create several portfolios, each portraying a different aspect of your work, or perhaps, present an additional thumb drive with supplementary work.
Promote your work to the best of your ability with quality printing, unique components, and versatility for a portfolio with distinct design elements that represents your voice.
Carolyn Clarke is a professional graphic designer, visual artist, and freelance writer from Chicago, Illinois. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, she has helped to influence many artists nationwide and has contributed to successful campaigns with her talented work. During her free time, she loves to attend concerts and go hiking.