Paper portfolios

Published on: 29 Sep 2009

Keep your portfolio at A2 size and edit down any large images if necessary.

Make sure you include examples of work that demonstrate all your skills including hand drawing, CAD, 3D modelling, concept development, design detailing, working drawings and design development processes.

Examples of professional experience are important but you should also include personal projects that demonstrate your creativity. Include a small set of photographs of any completed projects.

Don't feel compelled to include every project you have ever worked on - the emphasis should be on quality rather than quantity.

Presentation is crucial - a badly presented portfolio will give the impression that you don't care about your work. You can use acetate overlays and different types of paper to enhance the presentation of your portfolio.

Include some short written descriptions alongside any visual presentations in your portfolio but make sure you proof any written content for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors as proof of your writing ability is also important.

If you are presenting a paper portfolio it is likely you are already in a face to face interview. It is worth checking that you can present your portfolio in five to ten minutes, but be prepared to provide additional information on any element of the portfolio if requested.

A digital format portfolio is preferred for initial applications or enquiries and sending out paper portfolios can be expensive due to printing costs.

Information on what specific employers look for in portfolios from potential employees can be found online on various blog posts – and the employers' own websites.