How to survive 2021: Get Noticed

How to make connections, present yourself and build an attention-grabbing portfolio that lands work

Making a name for yourself is a key part of any creative career, and something that’s become both easier and more fraught in recent years. Photographers, illustrators and designers can now share their work on more platforms than ever before, but that also means they’re competing for attention in an incredibly noisy digital space.

As part of a new series about how creatives can get through the year ahead, we spoke with people from across the industry about everything from presenting your best self to building a good portfolio.

EMBRACE CHANGE

“We live in an age where we’re deluged by images and information the whole time,” says Stephen Ledger-Lomas, head of production and partner at BBH London. “I would always say to anyone presenting any work that a portfolio is a living, breathing organism which should be changing the whole time.”

He recommends creatives bear some brutal truths in mind, and whittle down their portfolios accordingly – you should be able to justify everything you include. But remember you can always add things back in: “If you don’t include work in the edit you present, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist,” he continues, “or you didn’t take the picture, or that that thing isn’t a hugely credible part of your body of work.”

Ledger-Lomas also recommends creatives think of their portfolios or websites as less a monograph of everything they’ve ever made, and more a place to show their vision of where they want to go. He describes it as “a tool for showing someone the direction you’re travelling in”. This doesn’t necessarily have to be focused on a particular style either. For Ledger-Lomas, it can also be “showing the ability to access something”, as he describes it. “It doesn’t have to be accessing a different community or subject, it can just be accessing a point of view on the world,” he adds.

JUNIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Milton Keynes