ANDYVISION - watch me try to be creative. live.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A bit of advice on what you NEED to put in your portfolio


When you're in school and obsessed with the all-important book you'll here a lot of stuff about what you have to include in there (implying if you don't, you won't get a job) and what you can't include in there (which will, of course, preclude you from a job). You hear you have to have something tech, a financial, travel, a package good, a service, long copy, headlines, a visual solution. I'm here to tell you all of that is bull.

I think in the book I graduated Creative Circus with I had a service, an automotive, two packaged good, two food (both candies, no less), one video game. Overall, it lean pretty heavy on the fun. I'm not sure I have a single thing super serious or hard-hitting. All of them are pretty absurd campaigns.

It's a great idea to challenge yourself in school. You should take on clients you wouldn't normally think to do. Do women's products, financial, furniture, get out of your comfort zone. It's good practice.

But ultimately, when it comes to putting your book together, don't murder yourself trying to fill this hole and that hole. Your book should reflect the kind of work you do. Some people are very serious, dramatic screenwriter-like writers. There are plenty of places out there that you will fit in perfectly. If you're an art director with a seriously artistic bent, there are places that need and want someone just like you.

Sure, you need to show some range in your book. But ultimately, your book will determine the type of job you get. So, logic leads us to say, if your book is a reflection of you, you'll get hired somewhere that's a good fit for you, and you'll be much, much happier and do better. I'm a bit of the mindset that if you have a generic, check-all-the-boxes-off book, you'll get a generic, check-all-the-copy-points-off job.

Some things will never change though. Writers need to show you can write. That means having some great headlines in there plus some sort of body copy. Art directors, show you can kill a page. That means beautiful design, attention to type. (My one complaint on student books is that they all feel dimensionally flat. It's amazing what a drop shadow here and there can do.)

The two things your book should do are: prove you're smart and prove who you are. If it does that, you'll be just fine. Don't fret on the details of how you do it. Everyone will have a different way.

(And the great irony of this all is, two of the major clients I work on are a women's fashion brand and a financial. But the best part is, I'm doing it at an agency that aligns with who I am as a creative, so it's a perfect fit.)

I've got more thoughts on perfecting your portfolio if you guy want to hear. Just let me know.


_ said...

Bring it Andy!

P.S. I need your email. I'm applying to do a greenhouse/quarter away at Crispin in July.

Patio Action Pearson said...

K, I'll write some more on the topic.

If you want to contact me about work stuff, my email is apearson at

Thanks for reading.

Patrick Scullin said...

Well done, Andy. For more job hunting advice, check