Physical portfolios



When at art college, it was drummed in to us how important it is to have a well presented physical portfolio that must be A1 or A2 and contain plastic sleves with prints of our work. So I bought myself an expensive A2 case filled it with sleeves of sites I had designed and/or coded.

As a web designer I often found interviewers surprised at me having a big physical portfolio to present. I wondered for a long time what other web designers did but never made any effort to find out as what I was doing seemed to work. Now I have moved into UX the question of what other people present at interviews has resurfaced.


This reminds me of my student days at architecture school. We had to drag around HUGE portfolios of work. It was such a drag.

I haven’t heard of or experienced it since I moved into tech though. I’d be really curious to hear if anyone else has.

What are the pros of having it in hard copy given that a lot of the functionality will be lost?


I would say it depends where you are applying, although I admit I haven’t gotten the request that much. Mostly from German companies to be honest, but that was a few years ago. Their argument was that they’d appreciate a PDF portfolio, which they then could print out, and have something tangible while they assessed my skills. Again, few years ago, now I simply don’t spend time on it anymore. My online portfolio has to do :slight_smile:


A friend who is a design lead told me once they interviewed someone who brought along their sketchbook, and nothing else. Apparently, that sketchbook was so compelling, they decided to hire the person. I guess it all depends on the content, rather than the format.


I’d love to see that sketchbook


Funnily enough, I caught Ian Fenn talk last week, he’s writing a book on the subject for O’Reilly, it sounds like it will be worth a read. From my own perspective, I freelanced for a while so I would present some work I’ve done in the past, and then drill down and show a particular case study. I took this approach a couple of years ago when I went for a full-time job that I was really interested in, and it worked well (I got the job)… I think the key is to do your homework on the company and tailor your slide deck to them.


I am pretty young, so the concept of a ‘physical portfolio’ is really foreign to me! However, I have put together several online portfolios, and included the URL of the portfolio on my personal business cards, which I guess could be viewed as a physical portfolio, in a way. For interviews specifically, I bring a tablet on which to view my online portfolio. Seems to work well! :slight_smile:


What a great idea!


A tablet sounds like a good idea but it would have to be a big beast like this