|This is the entire package I drop off to prospective clients|
In the current economic climate we need all the help we can get in order to secure that new contract. Developing a professional portfolio is the first all-important step. While it's not entirely true that your work will sell itself (you're going to have to hone your elevator pitch too), your portfolio is your first contact with a prospective client, designer or architect, and it says a lot about who you are as a professional. So it makes sense to put your best foot forward.
Here are five important tips for your Decorative Painting Portfolio to help you stand out from the pack and get you noticed:
1. Pick only your best samples, and make sure they are all neatly trimmed to uniform size. I back them with self-adhesive black flocked fabric, which makes them feel nice to the touch, and also adds protection from scratching.
2. Buy some sort of neat box to put them in. Samples tend to be bulky, so I don't put them in a classic portfolio case. I bought a plain wooden box - the kind available from most Arts & Crafts stores - then stained and polished it black. I recommend a sturdy box because once those samples are out of your hands, you want to be sure they are protected. I used to use a folder-type portfolio, but all my samples got bent and trashed by clients. Your samples are gold, so take care of them.
Also; make sure to line the outside bottom of the box, because you do not want your portfolio scratching your client's table. I use the same self-adhesive flocked fabric as on the back of my samples.
3. Make a CD of your work, and print up a label that has all your contact info and 'please take one' written across it. I personally do not concern myself with the copyright issue of leaving unprotected images of my work. I'm more concerned that I leave as much varied collateral material for my client to remember me by.
I bought a nice card stock CD holder and glued it to the inside front cover of my portfolio book. I also place some business cards in there too.
4. Get some nice business cards made. Moo cards does a fantastic double-sided waxy card that is small, but big enough to carry all the basic contact info. Don't forget to write what you do on the card; it's amazing how many people forget. I don't know how many times I've pulled a card out of my pocket with someone's name on it, but no indication of their profession. It goes straight in the trash. Make sure that you drop off plenty with your portfolio.
5. Blurb does a great hard-cover printed portfolio book. I used the 12" square format, and with about 100 pages it came out at around $100. Not cheap, but well worth the investment. Of course, you'll have to make sure that your photographs are of sufficient size and quality, but the prints from Blurb are pretty good. As you can see in the photo above, I threw in some quotes by famous designers to lend it a whiff of respectability.
The Blurb software is easy to use, is MAC and PC compatible, and comes with a variety of handy templates that enable you to simply place your artwork before uploading it to their server for printing. They even have a storefront on their site where you can sell copies of your book.