The first thing to keep in mind, when creating a portfolio, is that it needs to be structured and orderly so as to tell your story in an unequivocal and efficient manner.
Know yourself first, that’s a great start. Analyse your own story, focus on your best work and life experience, this will help you communicate better. After this “self introspection” exercise, things will be clearer.
I often come across communication issues, which at first might seem insignificant. So, I decided to write this article with a few tips to help you present yourself and your work efficiently. Here are 5 things, I think, you should avoid while creating your portfolio, whether it be online, in digital form or hardcopy.
Photo by Sarah Pflug
1. Inserting old projects/works
Always pick the works and projects, to put in your portfolio, with care. It’s best to pick recent works that show the maturity you have acquired, and which accurately represent you.
Inserting everything just to “add volume” doesn’t help, in fact, it could play against you. Unless it is something extremely significant in your career or your artistic research, it is highly unlikely someone will consider, for example, a project you created at university. It’s better to show less work, but work in which you recognize yourself and that you are sure about. Creating a lenghty and voluminous portfolio might just have the effect of it not being fully read.
2. An inaccurate biography
Let’s start from this concept: everything that is left out does not exist for someone who is reading. So, be careful of what information you place inside your portfolio. An accurate biography will help those reading it get to know you as an individual, leafing through the most important aspects of your career and growth. When creating your portfolio, even an online one, always pay particular attention to the About section.
3. An immense amount of pictures
An online portfolio allows you to put vast amounts of projects and pictures within it, while keeping it relatively concise: the user will be able to decide what to (virtually) leaf through. A digital or hardcopy portfolio does not provide the same possibility. So, to avoid creating a lenghty portfolio: accurately select the images to place in the portfolio, putting only those necessary for the purpose of the project at hand. Can a maximum of four photos per project be enough? Maybe just two? There is no “rule”, what’s important is to create a good balance between images and written text, and using high resolution professional shots.
Photo by Samantha Hurley
4. Confusional texts and twisted reasoning
It could happen that you feel like exposing your poetic self, or you might employ philosophical reasoning to express your artistic research, using enigmatic and abstract concepts. In a portfolio though, what matters is clarity. Be sure to make your Artist Statement clear and easy to comprehend. It should be read by all with pleasure and it should get straight to the point, or you might incur in the risk of having it tossed out.
The same “rule” applies to your biography and the texts you add: clear and concise. If you’re having trouble with it you might want to ask a good editor to look over it.
5. Wordy descriptions and self-exaltation
Lengthy texts, digressive descriptions and self-exaltation just add excessive volume to a portfolio. The same “rule”, as expressed in point 4, applies here: clear and concise texts allow the reader to comprehend your work better.
Translated by Ludovica Sarti
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