Books to help you create a professional portfolio

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When we finish our studies and enter the professional world, it is important to be prepared beyond the academic. In every profession there is a long way from theory to practice and it is very common to make certain mistakes which help us improve our professional career.

That’s why today I want to share a couple of books that guided me not only to create this portfolio as a graphic designer – visual artist, but also when facing a job interview or a meeting with clients.

What they didn’t teach you in design school

Learn how to promote your skills with this lucid, absorbing and wise guide to creativity in the real world. Phil Cleaver conveys the lessons of a lifetime in the profession and teaching graphic design.

Phil Cleaver lectures worldwide on design, and his early typographic works are archived in the library of St. Bride’s Printshop. His book design is in the permanent collection of the National Art Library at the V&A Museum.

Phil improved his design and typographic skills under the guidance of Alan Fletcher at Pentagram, Wim Crouwel at TD in Holland, and Michael Wolff at Wolff Olins.

Create a portflio - book

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How to create a portfolio

This book is a practical guide to enter the professional world of the creative industry. Aimed at students and junior professionals in the fields of design, advertising and illustration, it provides all the keys to familiarize yourself with the different sectors of the creative market and make yourself known professionally.

The book exposes the particular characteristics of each specialty (branding, web design, illustration, advertising agencies, publishing, video games, etc.) and explores all the aspects that must be taken into account when creating a portfolio, from how to select the content, to what type, format and support to choose.

It also provides practical advice on, for example, how to submit spontaneous applications, how to prepare for a job interview or how to present a live portfolio. The book closes with a comprehensive directory of resources including professional associations, portfolio providers, publications, yearbooks and competitions.

How to create a graphic design portfolio

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1000 tips for graphic designers

There is another book that I didn’t want to include in the list because it is more focused on advertising studios and freelancers than on students who are just starting out in the working world, but I don’t want to forget to mention it, because I think it can be very useful.

Some time ago I wrote an article about it. Despite having bought it 10 years ago, it is one of my favorites. They are the kind that encourage you to get up from the couch (or from your reading corner) and start a project. It is “1,000 tricks for graphic designers”. Take a look at the review I did back in the day and find out why, over the years, I still recommend this book.

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