Flaunt It Student Profile

When your work looks great, you want people to see it. But how you show it off could make all the difference. A new book looks at the art of designing a brilliant portfolio

Portfolio: D Yee

I created my first newspaper portfolio when I was a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York; the second issue was done a month later. These two portfolios circulated among various design firms shortly after graduation.

At the time, most students were binding some kind of book. I felt confident that my work could be presented in other ways, as I had more product design than print projects. I wanted to challenge myself and steer away from the expected. So I designed a newspaper as a portfolio. It felt ‘economic’ and, at the same time, it did not.

I made a lot of visits to New York Art & Paper Central. I experimented with several paper types that represented newsprint, yet still retained the necessary print quality of a portfolio. Eventually, I found some Mohawk Fine Paper samples that worked.

A lot of testing ensued as I worked with printer spreads, and experimented with printing on both sides of the paper.

It’s updatable, but very difficult to produce. It’s a challenge that requires a lot of patience, similar

to the process of bookbinding. If I were to edit it today, I would get rid of the self-portraits, as these were a school requirement and I was never comfort­able seeing my face plastered on the page.

I’ve seen many beautifully designed books presented with props, such as bookshelves or flowers. They prompted me to question whether or not they were too much of a ‘gimmick’ and I feared my newspapers fell into this trap. I find this to be the classic case of an artist embarrassed by older work – though I’m still proud of it.

D Yee studied graphic design at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She currently works as a designer, photographer and painter, based in the city.


Portfolio: Hyun Auh

I developed this portfolio during my senior year at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. I needed a professional-looking portfolio for a review at the Art Directors Club and, most importantly, to snare me a job upon graduation.

I wanted to create a hand-made book that didn’t look and feel as if it was hand-made. I chose the accordion style because it’s minimalist in design and materials, much like my work. I loved the fact that the whole book could be a single sheet that unfolded, creating a unique effect. It also made sense on a personal level: I was born in Korea and the binding style originated in eastern Asia. I created the accordion fold using a heavyweight, inkjet paper roll. I then used binding boards for the cover and case, and wrapped them in Touche paper. The book was inserted into a personalised vellum sleeve, then a case I built with binding boards and glue. I also created several copies of a miniature version that I carried with me, which could be easily handed out to anyone I might come across.

It was not built with the intention of getting updated, but if this was absolutely necessary, extra pages can be slip-sheeted into the book. Unfortunately, this would decrease the value, since the inherent quality of the book is that it is composed on one continuous piece of paper. The one aspect of the portfolio that can be updated is the translucent sleeve, which I personalised, depending upon whom I was going to send it to. It was truly a labour of love.

Hyun Auh is a graphic designer at C&G Partners in New York. 


Portfolio: Abi Huynh

i felt it was time for an updated and expanded portfolio, since I was applying for positions with several potential studios. Also, I was gearing towards a Master’s degree, so it would come in handy. Since I was applying to more than one studio, I chose to develop separate booklets. This made it easier to adjust the content according to the interview. Moreover, I wanted an economical solution that could be laser-printed and readily accessible.

With these parameters in mind, I chose to create small individual booklets that allowed for wider flexibility. The booklets were mailed in small, cheap, and sturdy cardboard boxes that retained enough space for samples of my work. This simple production method is analogous to my work in general: economical, reserved, and strengthened by a no-nonsense attitude.

The booklet template design is so simple that I can add or subtract projects with absolute ease. I am mostly hands-on, but on a few occasions I have mailed the portfolio for review. This is convenient, because the client is not under any obligation to send it back to me, as it is easily replaceable.

When I am showing my portfolio in person, separate booklets come in handy when there are multiple people conducting an interview. It is then that I can show a broader range of my work, which can be pored over with greater attention, as opposed to many sets of eyes jostling in order to look at a single book.

Abi Huynh is a graphic designer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was educated in Vancouver and The Hague, The Netherlands. 

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