Australian arts jobs, news, industry commentary, career advice, reviews & data

What's On

How to Create a Portfolio and Get Hired

Matt Millikan

BOOK REVIEW: You’ve just finished your design course and the world beyond the university walls is calling. You’ve got good marks and good recommendations - now it’s time to get a job.
How to Create a Portfolio and Get Hired
BOOK REVIEW: How to Create a Portfolio and Get Hired: A Guide for Graphic Designers and Illustrators. By Taylor Fig. Publisher: Laurence King Publishers. You’ve just finished your design course and the world beyond the university walls is calling. You’ve got good marks and good recommendations. Now it’s time to get a job. For most graphic arts students, the key to employment success comes down to the strength of one thing – your portfolio. Whether you chose to create a traditional or online portfolio, this collection will be your professional calling card and the foundation of your career. So it pays to get it right. Fig Taylor knows a thing or two about preparing and putting together exemplary, professional portfolios. After graduating from Chelsea School of Art in graphic design, Taylor ran her own London-based illustration agency and has lectured extensively on professional practice to students throughout the UK. Since 1986 she has been the resident Portfolio Consultant at the Association of Illustrators, London and has also previously worked as an illustrators’ agent. Taylor’s years of experience have been distilled into the recently released book, How to Create a Portfolio and Get Hired, an excellent guide for both emerging and established designers. Featuring over 232 illustrations across 144 beautifully presented pages, Taylor’s manual discusses what to include, how to organize and display work and advises on presentation techniques and self-promotion, covering both print and virtual portfolios. One problem graduates encounter once their studies have finished is where to find work and who to approach. Whether you’re looking for a full-time position or freelance work, How to Create a Portfolio demystifies the creative marketplace, inspecting the main fields of work and explaining the variety of positions available in each. The way the commission process works is also illuminated, along with a listings section detailing online resources and publications to aid research; supplies; specialist libraries; industry-related trade fairs; and professional organizations, though these are often focused on the United Kingdom. That’s not to say that How to Create a Portfolio doesn’t have a broad, international appeal. Christine Moog, from the Parsons School of Design in New York, says ‘I teach a portfolio class, and while I think a portfolio is a very individual thing, this book was refreshingly direct and simple in giving its readers concise advise and visual clues to what is possible and what a portfolio can be. I would use this book as my primary text in teaching my next portfolio class.’ Likewise, David Sims, Senior Graphic Design Lecturer at London College of Communication at the University of the Arts London, says, ‘this is a must read for any student wishing to progress into… employment. How to Create a Portfolio shows the many different types of portfolio needed for a broad range of art and design careers. Practical advice is given on how to put together a portfolio both traditional and electronic.’ While How to Create a Portfolio can’t guarantee employment in the design industry, it can certainly increase your chances of impressing potential clients and employers. Bibliographic Information: Title: How to Create a Portfolio and Get Hired: A Guide for Graphic Designers and Illustrators Author: Fig Taylor Edition: Illustrated Publisher: Laurence King Publishers, 2010ISBN1856696723, 9781856696722
What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Matt Millikan is a writer and former assistant editor at ArtsHub. You should follow him @MattMEsq or at This Is Not an Exit