Tips on putting your book together

by | March 10, 2009

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To get a job in creative you have to have a "book," or portfolio, featuring 10 or 15 ads that reflect your best work. Art and copywriting students work on projects that they can include in their books during the course of their studies. During their careers, these students add examples of their best pieces to fill out books for future jobs. "Your portfolio is like an application to Harvard," explains one art director. "The hardest part of creative jobs is getting in, so make sure your book is perfect."

"Even copywriters need books," says one industry insider. "You have to present completely polished examples -- so if you're not an artist, try to collaborate with one." Finally, "stay away from storyboards," advises one veteran art director.

Tips on putting your book together

  1. Your book should include only your own work or pieces you participated in making.
  2. Include only your best work. If you're not sure about a piece, don't include it.
  3. Each piece of work should be mounted on lightweight mat board with an even, two- to three-inch border all the way around. If you have a ring binder portfolio, mount your work on matte finish paper and put them in acetate sleeves. Either way, make sure the work is properly secured to the backing. Also, bring unmounted copies of brochures or booklets so your interviewer can look them over.
  4. If you have to mount several things on the same page, keep them as uncluttered as possible.
  5. Try to present the work in some kind of sequence. Group similar pieces together. Keep magazine ads together, direct mail bits together, and logos together. Or arrange by agency -- try to include pieces that might be relevant to clients of the agency you are interviewing with. (You should know what clients they have beforehand. You can find this out by visiting their web sites.)
  6. Make sure your samples are in good condition.
  7. Use a proper portfolio case. Many agencies advise against decorating the outside of your portfolio, but some people feel it's a place for them to express themselves -- it's up to you.

Filed Under: Job Search

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