The modern portfolio is presented on a tablet or laptop and is little more than the PDF an applicant has sent in with their CV or the website they point employers to.

That's fine, but we are in a creative industry and competition is massive. How could you stand out in a crowd? Could your portfolio be as creative as the work in it? It should be.

Before we get bogged down with the format for delivery, and by that I mean, paper, PDF, website or whatever. Let's look at the way you present work. Some of the answers to the questions below may seem obvious. But if your answers are all of the obvious type, you are not being creative enough... see how you get on.

What is the best way to present a:

  • Video
  • T-shirt design
  • Website that is live
  • Website that has not been built
  • Business card
  • Poster

Most designers will photograph the work or adapt a PDF to make it look like the real thing. What else could you do?

To make a potential employer sit up and take notice will require some effort. So if you want that graphic design job, you had better make that effort.

Before you go any further, write down your answers to the above questions on how best to show your work. Actually what I mean is, how differently to show your work.

Have you done that?


OK, this is what I would do (bearing in mind these are my ideas, not yours).


If the interview room has a AV screen, plug the laptop in and play it on the big screen. If not, take a projector and play it massive on the wall. If all else fails, ask to send a link after the interview. Get their email address, that way you have direct contact with the person who may give you a job. Don't forget to send the link. Do it the same day as the interview, not three days later.

T-shirt design:

We've all seen it, the shot of the hipster boy or girl, bearded and bespectacled wearing your shirt against a brick wall. How many t-shirts did you get printed? Get a few more done and leave it as a gift for your potential employer. That will certainly keep you in their minds. Make sure you present it well. Ironed, wrapped in tissue paper, you are giving something that has value, make them see that.

Website that is live:

Easy, point them to the link. Actually no, if the site is live it is most likely that the client will have updated or changed it and made a great big hash of it. Check the site the day of the interview. If it is good, then stroll on. If not, show the graphics and then take them to the site. This will give you a brilliant opportunity to explain what the client has done wrong and how you would help the client to bring things back in line. Notice I say help. Saying the client messed it up does not help. 

Website that has not been built:

It is OK to show static graphics, even dropped into 'fake screens'. But to be honest, nobody will ever see the site like that. Show it as it would have been seen had it been built. Full size, in a browser. It is a simple job to go to a URL and load your page with the graphic embedded (you need to do this other wise the browser may scale it). Set it up so that when you click the static graphic, the next page loads. It will help your boss see how it might work in real life. Then get out your phone and show how responsive it looks.

Business card:

Order samples from the paper merchant. get it mocked up properly. Explain the production (if it is something special) and then hand over your own business card. That has to be even better.


A photograph of someone holding over their face or on bulldog clips - ever seen that before?

What would you do?

Photoshop it into a wall of posters in Spitalfields to demonstrate its impact? Hold up the printed item from the other side of the room?

You decide. But do something different.