How to Design a Print Portfolio
How to Design a Print Portfolio

– Hi guys, I’ve gotten a
lot of questions asking me to talk about it so
this video is all about print portfolios. A print portfolio is a printed out version of your portfolio,
obviously that you can bring to your portfolio reviews and interviews. These days a lot of
people just bring iPads or other tablets to interviews
to show off their work. But you should probably
also have your portfolio printed out just in case today is the day that your iPad decides to
catch fire or something. You might also want to
put together a pdf file of your print portfolio and
link to that on your website, so if someone wants a quick
overview of the kinds of things that you make, they could
just go there to get kind of a highlight real (unclear)
than clicking through your entire website. So I have a little show and tell item here which is my own print portfolio from 2010, back from when I was
applying to internships my junior year of college. I thought I would take you guys through it and give you tips on what I did wrong and what you guys can do so much better. So before we even open it up, you’ll see that I didn’t
include a cover page even though there is a spot for one. I can go kind of back and forth on this. It is nice to have a sleek black outside just have everything contained within. But if you do have a nicely designed cover by all means include it. Just make sure that you
pull out any price tags or brandage cover pages
from the portfolio company because that just looks unprofessional. So if we open it up,
you’ll see that right here in the front pocket are
several copies of my resume. Don’t make your interviewer feel bad for taking your only copy
so print out five or 10 and just keep them in there. After that is the cover page, which I kind of wish I had
put some contact info on more than just my website. If someone is taking the
time to look at your work you want it to be easy for them to contact you if they like it. The cover page is also
where you can show off a little bit of your personal branding. But don’t make it too complicated because that’ll just distract
from all the other work inside. So on the second page is kind
of a watered down version of my resume, which is
fine, not totally necessary, but fine. It’s a nice reminder if someone is looking at your portfolio without
you there to explain it. It just kind of reiterate all of that. If I was to do it again though, I would probably write
a short paragraph or two rather than just a list. That way you can insert
a little more personality and give a little more
context to each item. So now on to the real bulk
of your portfolio, the work. I included 12 pieces in mine
and a good number is 10 to 15, somewhere around there. When you’re lying out the pages make sure you give the actual
work the majority of the space. I included several photos of
each project in a grid layout and then put a little bit of information about the project at the bottom. For example, I included a
page about the design work I did for Hank Green’s album, “This machine pwns noobs” and at the bottom I wrote
“Back cover and inside “matter design for this machine pwns noobs “by Hank Green, an
online musician with over “190 thousand subscribers on YouTube. “The CD has sold thousands
of copies from” This does a good job of putting
the project into context but I wish I had included
a little more information about how I designed it and what program and what the design actually meant. Like how the text on the
back mirrors the angle of the guitar. Mostly though just try
to make sure the text still makes sense even
when you’re not there to explain the project. One thing you’ll have to
decide whether it works for you is numbering the pages. It’s nice because it lets
the person reading it keep track of how far along
they are in your portfolio. However, if you think
you’re gonna be rearranging or adding or removing things you’ll probably want to leave them off so that you don’t have to
reprint every single time you change the order. In terms of the branding on
this section of the page, keep it to a minimum. I mean don’t set it in
totally generic 12 point Times New Roman, but also don’t have logos and crazy colors and crazy
fonts all over the place. I set my titles in Sicilia
and the text in Avenir, which is pretty straight
forward and doesn’t draw too much attention to itself. Also I know tiny text is super cute but give your portfolio
to an elderly professor and if they need a magnifying
glass to read it properly than maybe you should
make it a little bigger. So if you include
explanation text like this make sure it’s in the exact same place on every single page. And also make sure all of your
pages face the same direction. Choose a horizontal or a vertical layout and then stick with it. That way whoever’s looking
at it can easily just page through without having to
awkwardly turn the book every time they turn the page. When you’re thinking
about what work to put in, make a list of everything that you think is your best work. Try to come up with 20
pieces or so and then put them in order and see what feels weak or what doesn’t really go with the group. You can also put multiple
pieces on a single page if they all relate to each other. For example, I included
a t-shirt, tote bag and frisbee design that I
did for The Moaning Myrtles and since it was all
part of one commission I put them all on the same page. If you do a lot of figure
drawing maybe include a couple of sketches of the same
model all on one page. Don’t make it too crowded but
not too spread out either. When you’re deciding on the order always start with your
strongest work first. Organize it by medium
or at least by digital versus traditional art so
you’re not jumping around all over the place. And only include your
absolute strongest work. If you have eight great pieces
and end with two meh pieces I would rather you just ended
with your eighth great piece. Ok so one more thing that’s
really important is printing. When you’re printing out your work invest a little bit of money into it to really get the best quality possible. My preference is an Epson printer with Epson premium presentation paper. Although this is glossy,
you should probably get semi-gloss or matte. But really any high quality
paper from the same brand as your printer should work. Here you can see the difference
of printing on Epson paper versus normal Cardstock from Staples. And again see how much
brighter and more vibrant the colors are. Go ahead and test it for yourself and then decide which version you really want to present
all of your hard work as. If you don’t have a nice color printer see if your school has one or
ask around to your friends. Maybe you could use theirs
and buy them a pizza or something in return. So coming up to the last
page of my portfolio I included my website address. But I really should’ve
included my email, Twitter and YouTube links also. Also, something cute like
“Thanks for reading”, wouldn’t be totally out of place but it kinda depends on your personality whether that’ll work or not and then that’s it. Let me know in the comments
if this was helpful for you guys or if you have any questions or if I got anything totally wrong, or if you have no opinion on portfolios let me know what advice
you would give yourself from four years ago. I probably would’ve told myself get better glasses and
don’t waster your money on a DSLR camera that
doesn’t even take video. Ok so if you missed my last
design instructional video, I made one the other
week about how to design your portfolio website. You can watch that right here. Or if you’re still getting
ready for Valentine’s Day you can learn how to make
this super cute card, right here. Thank you guys so much for watching. Don’t forget to hit like and subscribe and I will see you all next time. (upbeat)

100 thoughts on “How to Design a Print Portfolio”

  1. natears says:

    Thank you for sharing! Β this video is awesome!

  2. Amanda Campbell says:

    Thank you Karen.

  3. Dahlia Barakat says:

    This was really helpful! It's finally great to see some actual constructive advice on how to put this thing together. Thanks for posting this video.

  4. Linda 007 says:

    what software did you use to make the portfolio?

  5. Moshe Boruhin says:

    Just discovered your channel, not disappointed πŸ™‚
    A very useful video. Thanks!

  6. Erin Piccinati says:

    This was super helpful! Thank you!

  7. Hiba Imene says:

    that was very helpful thank you Karen πŸ™‚

  8. Kasia Rose Bishop says:


  9. Andrew Phillips says:

    I love you, you're really pretty and really helpful!!

  10. Donna Bencel says:

    Actually, this was pretty informative, but you got a bit too fast through some info. Could you narrow down to a few key tips, instead? Also, I would think that all one orientation, makes for a boring portfolio. Especially, where it comes to photography. It was advised to me, to make it not one type of artwork, so wouldn't that dictate the orientation?

  11. DLC_2004 says:

    Your video was very good and informative, but your voice is a bit annoying

  12. Nuhood Nahid says:

    good but why is the speech non stop and breathless…..huff puff…

  13. Anas mbs says:

    that was racist 4:58

  14. gc68 says:

    woah…woah…woah… calm down, gurrrrrl. lol!

    anyway, i love your advice. thanks! i appreciate it.

  15. Curefred says:

    This video is great very helpful and instructive but at the same time very fun Thank Karen!! Much love to u:*

  16. Curefred says:

    This video is great very helpful and instructive but at the same time very fun Thank Karen!! Much love to u:*

  17. Rahul Joshi says:

    Nice piece of work…..

  18. Zulfikar Abdulaziz says:

    where is your pause button

  19. Wild Flower says:

    sorry what was the font you used for the headers in this portfolio? it was something on the lines of ceciliar but when i looked it up i couldn't find it? Thanks x i LOVE watching your videos your so talented! I subscribed x πŸ™‚

  20. Maximus Gigantos says:

    take a breath and talk …

  21. Qadir Rani says:

    really nice work!!!! really love all of your works!!

  22. Ricky Martinez says:


  23. Vote1Jimmy says:

    What font did you use for you're Body and tittles? I tried guessing it out in Google & Adobe suite's but cant find it. can I get some spelling help πŸ˜€

  24. Kaitlyn N says:

    thankyou you have helped me alot! nice video!

  25. Lily Adkin says:


  26. monocerotos says:

    I love the advise you gave here! For a long time now, I've been trying to find good, applicable advise and tips on how to actually design your portfolio, not just which pieces you should include and what information should be in there. This helped a lot, and the fact that you showed examples with reviews was really great for my understanding and for the ideas to start rolling. So thank you a lot for doing this. I'll check out your other videos.

    On a side note, I think it would be a lot more pleasant to watch this video if you calmed down a little bit and maybe lowered your voice? You stressed me out, haha. I don't know if it was nerves or just excited happiness that made you talk so fast, but if it is nerves I would like to tell you that you are great! Thank you!

  27. Biankicks says:

    I owe you big time! Yours was short and direct unlike other How To's with regards portfolio collating.

    Pretty nervous cause I think my works arent competent enough. But hopefully the few good pieces I place are just about right to make an impression.

  28. A name Just says:

    Love it! thanks for your sharing! it is very helpful ^^!

  29. TheSupamario11 says:

    great video, do you know where i get more sleeves for my portfolio it only comes with 24 i need more thanks.

  30. la miscible says:

    thanks for sharing! anyway this is way to fast, sorry honey may you make that a little slower πŸ™‚

  31. Francisco Santos says:

    this is helpful lad! thanks karen for sharing!

  32. David O Malley says:

    OMG you are so loud.

  33. Pakistani GOOGLE says:

    it was helpful. but…
    i never do work for any company. so how to put your work in your portfolio if you never did any work for any company.
    in 2 year diploma all i did work is in my college. so can i put my that work in portfolio?
    i call my work "flora desire" so i was thinking to design something related to my name.
    can you give some advise?

  34. martin27 says:

    port o'folio

  35. Tony says:

    what if you only have like…4 things you like lol

  36. Edwin_Marcia says:

    I love you, I found your channel a long time ago and I couldn't remember your channel but this video was on my recommended and I was so happy! Immediate subscriber, you've answered basically all of my questions, thank you :)!

  37. Abhishek Dhar says:

    Thanks! really helpful indeed πŸ™‚

  38. Elif Askin says:

    great video! do you think that we should have a website? im aplying for graphic design companies manly… and im not good with coding.. should i use some "online website creator" or something? is it really a must? please help me πŸ™

  39. puki mak says:

    an informative video! super happy i found your channel. thank you.

  40. Florencia Silvestri says:

    HEY you are awesome!!. I'm from Argentina, and I'm getting prepare to perform the final exams of university. Your videos helped me a lot ! Thank you πŸ˜€

  41. Katrin Baker says:

    what did you use to make your website?

  42. Francisco Couret says:

    Awesome video but…CALM DOWN!

  43. anknick says:

    This was very helpful! thank you! I was almost on the verge of hitting my head on a wall because i have to prepare my portfolio for an upcoming interview and then youtube recommendation popped up this video! I'm so glad i clicked on it!

  44. Catto Tatto says:

    This was really helpful! I'm creating my first portfolio ever and I had no idea where to start, but after watching your video it seems a lot more simple. C:

  45. Anas says:

    Hello, I can help anyone interested in redesigning their portfolio:

  46. Freelancerk1bbles says:

    Why are you shouting?

  47. Shantell Bancroft says:

    great vid …lot of sound info. Thanks!!😊😊😊

  48. Marcos Cerqueira says:

    Awesome video, veeeeeeeeeeeeeery helpful!

  49. Satu Ch says:

    awesome.. it helps

  50. Mireya S says:

    Thanks for posting this video, I needed some tips for a cover page for my final project πŸ™‚

  51. poliestotico says:

    reaaally helpful

  52. Melanie Guzek says:

    I had anxiety just listening to you half way through

  53. Gopu Trooper says:

    I love graphic design and I follow graphic design tutorials. I want to become a graphic designer but I don't know where to start. can anyone help? BTW I am 13

  54. ProjectSax says:


  55. Sapphire Media says:

    Thanks for sharing! I know this example was for a portfolio for potential employers, but would their be any differences for applying to university? Some have said to show a variety of your best and average work to showcase improvement

  56. Danny Romero says:

    Hi, I am trying to find how can I create a successful portfolio… I'm gonna start to studying Graphic Design the school requires a portfolio but I am not really about to create it.

    If you have some basic information about how to create it, I mean… what must a portfolio have to have, I would really appreciate it.

  57. Amna Tariq says:

    please calm down,, we know ,, you are designer :/ :/

  58. Edelberto Olivares says:


  59. aven' says:

    Very helpful thank you very much!

  60. Tina Inman says:

    I came across your channel today and found it very helpful! Question: what would you recommend for a portfolio that has a lot of content from one job? I do marketing materials at a science center. Should I group them together, ie postcards together, brochures together, miscellaneous, etc? Should I sort of just pick my "top 8" in this case, too? Would it be important to balance the amount of content with the other media and commissions I've done? They are also not similar at all. Thanks!

  61. Marta Katsakoula says:

    Your advices are great but you're speaking very fast!Β I felt dizzy..

  62. Ioana Lazar says:

    thank you so much! I'm just starting my first year in graphic design so you advice helps me a lot

  63. Tung Pham says:

    great video but i am a little bit scaryyy of your emotion :))))))

  64. Filmy React says:

    Great video thanks.
    Ur body language kinda funny 😁❀️

  65. Rahman A. Nur says:

    Thanks.. πŸ™‚

  66. James Colbert says:

    WOW..!!!!Β  holy sh*tballs….Caffiene is bad for you….Try Zanax or Addreal

  67. Rivaldy Prasetya says:

    this is so helping ! thank you !!!!

  68. Bruce Cohen says:


  69. Poolofabluesky says:

    Hello! the video is very helpful, thank you for sharing it. I know you posted it two years ago so you probably are not gonna see this comment but I'd like to know which program did you used for it, InDesign, Illustrator or something else? Have a nice day πŸ™‚

  70. Chan Chan Navarro says:

    Karen I love it

  71. Crispin Garcia Gompad says:

    nice hahaha beautiful porfolio

  72. Chidozie Uchendu says:

    Hehehe…honestly was looking more at your lips had to see the clip again to look at the portfolio..nice work thou

  73. Jenita Satra says:

    great video! thanks for sharing!

  74. Gonzalo Vanini says:

    What program do u use to set it all up? Indesign? Or u just print all of them in PS?

  75. Melisa Lovely says:

    Thank you Karen, this is fantastic!!! I really appreciate it

  76. Nancy Thomas-Ward M.B.A says:

    nope your just great love the energy the rest can speed up it will do them good or use the pause button….hahahahah!!

  77. Pranav Shaj says:

    Thanks a lot. You gave a lot of ideas for my portfolio.

  78. New Age Studio says:

    buy him a Pizza !!! hhhh

  79. himanshu singh says:

    awesome advise and nice way of presentation………Btw will you be my valentine in 2018 πŸ™‚

  80. Naser Naser says:


  81. imissa bright says:


  82. POP'n'ROCK says:

    really Helpful! Thumbs up

  83. Faisal Qadir says:

    Thank you for the video πŸ˜‰β˜Ί

  84. faheembaig says:

    Every body says " CALM DOWN" but i say the is passion and express of feelings which shows us to Motivate and make powerful portfolio and present ourselves in very good manners. Thank you so much for this video to make sense that how make a portfolio and very helpful tips from your mind, " Do it in your way "

  85. Christopher Cooper says:

    I love your videos karen. keep it up.:)

  86. Mohammed Shoaib says:

    Hi, karen I watched your video and decided to try it and guess what?? I landed myself at a job. The interviewer liked my resume and I could see him judging me through my portfolio..Now, I'm working for them and I will get paid πŸ˜€ THANKS TO YOU A LOTTT πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’– this is the link of the pic I took of my portfolio..I really wanted to show you :)))))

  87. Maha Saedway says:

    great and worth

  88. Jordan Lott says:

    Thanks for sharing this

  89. Suzy Murdoc says:

    Something I have been so confused about is do the employers keep the print portfolio? I have seen some people saying they do and others saying heck no, we don't have enough money to just keep handing them out and in the end I am just completely confused. So what's the verdict? Do they keep or expect to keep the physical portfolio or are we just bringing it for them to look at and they will have a digital copy to look over whenever they like? If someone could answer that would be awesome. Thank you!

    And great video! I found it immensely helpful πŸ™‚

  90. Ida ("Aida") Bartoletti says:

    You are a beautiful, and creative person, and engaging speaker! Thanks for not saying …ug.. I think all you are saying is helpful!

  91. Fatima___sh says:

    Thanks for the awesome advice !

  92. Vinod Thampi says:

    what is this????????????????????????

  93. Nukman Hardcore Gamer says:

    before i found this I HAD NO IDEA HOW IM GONNA DO MY WORK (i was like,im sooo done)

  94. tOnY YnOT says:

    very fast hold on….take a breath…

  95. Ani Oro says:

    im sorry, im not sure if you mentioned it, but what program did you use to construct your portfolio and what kind of paper did you print it on?? thank you!!

  96. Nina Jinx says:

    This is awesome! Thank you!!!!

  97. Ricardo Gomez says:

    Your energy is amazing! Thank you for the information and best of luck!

  98. J P says:

    Oh my god, I'm so glad I found this!

  99. Elijah Canup says:

    Thankful for the advice! Good work.

  100. John Rey Quiambao says:

    great advice πŸ™‚

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