8 Resources for your Printed Portfolio

Last week’s Interview with an Employer post was not the last, I have another in the works….but first, let’s get back to your portfolio.

I recently posted about digital portfolio options. Today, I have resources for printed portfolios. While many digital options are free, getting stuff printed isn’t. It doesn’t have to be super expensive, though. With little more than access to a computer with a word processing program (and either a simple binding or sweet folding) you can make a portfolio. In fact, some view a well-done hand-made portfolio as a sign of your attention to detail and appreciation for excellent craftsmanship.

Below are only a few resources for your printed portfolio – there are so many excellent products and services out there! Please feel free to add your suggestions below in the comments if you have a favorite that did not get mentioned.

Put your stuff in a portfolio cover: Art stores are a good place to find something to put your materials in. Most of them have the plastic Itoya “Profolios” (starting at $6. if you shop around), but there are more polished options like:

Pina Zangaro: At the higher end (a simple cloth binder is over $20.), Pina Zangaro makes nice presentation book covers and metal boxes. You can buy direct from them or at art stores and resellers online.

Printing services: Many printing services will send samples of their materials to you for free. There’s nothing like having a physical sample of the stuff to give you a feeling for your finished product when designing a professionally printed piece for your marketing system. Their job is to make you want to have something printed, so many of them put inspirational and how-to information on their website – check these out:

MooMoo is known for their ability to print a different image on every business card, mini-card, label, or postcard in the pack. I liked how this guy turned a pack of their business cards into Flashcards advertising his services.

4by6: Wherever you are, you probably have a local printer that can do most of what 4by6 does, but I list them because they include educational information on printing in their (free) sample pack and didn’t stop there….see this section of their website for loads of technical information.

Blurb: You can design and have a (portfolio) book professionally printed by Blurb one at a time – they have added a ‘proline’ (more expensive) set of options where you can choose cloth covers, different end papers and so forth. There is even a way to slurp your blog straight into their templates if you so desire.

Paper Chase: Meet one of the competitors for Blurb. Paper Chase is a high-end professional printing company in Los Angeles, CA. Prices for some things are comparable to Blurb, but they have more upscale options. Check out their “Portfolio Program” which I think is very clever marketing, and a good idea if it will work for you.

Print Handbook: Some graphic designers make whole careers with printed projects, but this little book is a nice shortcut for the rest of us trying to understand the basics.

I have read the stories about people getting hired from their website alone, and I am sure that the debate over print vs. digital will continue for a long time. However, most audiences still expect to be shown something when they invite you for an interview, so be prepared to have something at hand. It would be in pretty bad form to show up for an interview saying, ‘but didn’t you see my website?’ Whether you print images off your home computer or invest in a professionally printed book, the issue is the same. How you solve the design problem of communicating your abilities and what those abilities are is the most important thing!

I’ll be posting another “Interview with an Employer” for you next time. Stay tuned, I really think you’ll like it!

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