Book Review: No Plastic Sleeves
You may be committing a portfolio sin without even knowing it.
And what might that sin be? Well, it’s as simple as that stuff that’s keep your portfolio work samples in place. It’s…
In the eyes of art directors, photo editors, and other buyers of creative work, plastic-sleeved portfolios are a serious no-no. So, if you’ve been sending one of those things out into the world, stop and repent.
Your atonement is spelled out – in excruciatingly great detail – in a book called No Plastic Sleeves. It will show you how to build a portfolio that might just get you hired. You can also check out additional material on the No Plastic Sleeves Blog.
Authors Larry Volk and Danielle Currier are both art professors, and their academic perspective does tend to predominate. Many of the book’s portfolio examples come from art students entering the job market, but don’t let that stop you, the experienced freelancer, from delving in.
The Value of Print Portfolios
You’ll probably be surprised to learn that print portfolios are still valued. Welcomed. And, in some cases, highly sought after. So, consider making a printed book to complement your online portfolio.
If you’re like a lot of us, you know which projects are your best. They may not be the ones that paid the best or had the widest audience, but they reflect the type of work you really, truly want to do.
If, after reviewing your work, you’re still knee-deep in projects that could be included in your portfolio, it’s time to take some advice from our authors:
For the student just graduating from school, the average is 8-15 well-developed pieces. Photographers should show cogent consistent groups or series of images. Designers, as well as photographers, should show work that presents capabilities, range, and some aspect of your voice and vision. A designer may include process-related materials that reflect concept development, sketches, and comps.
Portfolio Assembly Process
On to the portfolio assembly process. This is where, in my opinion, No Plastic Sleeves, goes overboard on the details.
For example, there’s an entire chapter devoted to cover design, and much of the discussion centers on basic art school concepts like color theory, composition, and typography. It added up to a lot of words when I really wanted see portfolios.
The cover design chapter is followed by one on building a book. And I do mean that literally. You are going to learn how to make a portfolio book from scratch. With lots of pictures to guide you along the way. Let’s just say that this explication gave me a new appreciation for what book manufacturers do.
Developing Promotional Materials
I’ll admit that, by this point, I was losing patience. What brought me back around were the last two chapters on promotional materials like books, postcards, and stickers, and professional materials like resumes, cover letters, and business cards. Best explanations of these things that I’ve seen in years. And plenty of pictures of good examples.
In short, this may be more detail than you’re looking for in a portfolio book. But if you’re the sort who really likes to delve into a subject, No Plastic Sleeves is perfect for you.
Now, back to that plastic-sleeved portfolio of yours. Since it’s been exiled from the world of those who might hire you, what should you do with it?
I suggest that you keep it around for family and friends. Chances are, they won’t care about those plastic sleeves. They’ll be too busy admiring your work.