How do you feel about a portfolio CD

Hi all,

I’m in the middle of redoing my portfolio for the beginiing of 2009 as i’m applying for a few jobs and hopfully going to have a few interviews i really want to have a portfolio that pops out and hightlights my attibutes.

My thought is to have the A3 portfolio which i’ve used in the past which is getting re-vamped. I’ve made it up like a little publication where I show all my skills, and some of the projects i’ve worked on in the past few years.

As a piece of supplimentry material I was thinking of having a CD of my work, perhaps interactive. This would be something I would give at the end of an interview so that the company may look over my work a second time and remember me. What are peoples thoughts about doing somthing like this? Is it a bad way of going about it, considering the amount of different operating systems and computer variables today? Also theres the whole virus threat thing.

I would love to hear from people who have been in the hiring position, normally people who are making the final call.



I’ve heard numerous seniors and design managers specifically say they never want to receive another portfolio CD again; even had one show me the stack of them in one of his drawers, which he hadn’t gotten around to putting through the shredder yet.

The consensus seems to be that it’s an outdated technology, and compared to opening a PDF or visiting a website, it takes ages to load the thing into your (barely used) CD drive and bring it up. Anything you could put on a CD you could put on a website, so do it that way – or email them a document along with your follow-up letter.

If it is going to be mailed, send me a hard copy, if it is going to be digital, make it a pdf under 3megs.

One of the key things about portfolios is that they are passed around, especially in a big office. I share protfolios back forth with my counterparts at Nike Inc and Jordan, and internally with the directors of our NYC and CA studios. It’s nice to be able to email a pdf (a link is better still), for sharing around the office, getting input from my senior designers etc, some simple 8.5 x 11 prints are hard to beat.

I try to cover all bases. I send a portfolio/teaser by email (PDF ideally under 3mb if possible_. I deliver a print portfolio in person at the interview as a leave behind (one to each person I’m seeing is the best way to make sure it gets seen), and also leave behind a CD with the same portfolio on it in PDF format at higher rez, (and sometimes also include low rez versions as well for email forwarding as Yo mentions.).

I’d stay away from anything interactive. You are just asking for problems with different OSes, plugins needed, etc. Consider that the top boss or HR dept. may get the CD, in which case they may not be the most techy. (How many times have you seen HR ask for MS Word resumes?)… Plus, I’ve personally seen way too many poorly done “interactive” portfolios with horrible UI, buttons that don’t work, flash things that are impossible to print a single page from, etc.

Keep it simple. Also do keep in mind that how you deliver whatever materials you make is just as important as the portfolio content. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a good portfolio spoiled by scrawled handwriting on an envelope, crazy huge file sizes, resumes in Powerpoint, and other crazy stuff. Put it another way- if you mom can’t figure out how to use it, you shouldn’t do it. That also includes overly clever portfolio packaging requiring and engineering degree just to open it!

Creativity in presentation is good, but even more important is the content. Also, don’t let the presentation overpower the content. All sizzle, no steak doesn’t fool anyone.


Richard, good point of difference, a CD with a pdf on it is cool, a big interactive flash thing is a pain.

Thank you so much guys, that helps out a lot, i’m planning on having something up soon to get everyones feedback on it. If definetly helps to have comments from people who are in the industy, and also from designers in different countries with different perspectives and cultures.

Thanks again, hope you guys look at my thing on here soon.


Good point, Yo. I did something similar, but instead of sending some flash based presentation, I mailed nicely bound hard copies of my portfolio along with a cd version of my website, lableled “More on here!”

This actually worked out really well for me, because previously I had been e-mailing companies- but sending a small box made someone actually have to deal with it. I put in a small note introducing myself and asking if they would mind recycling my portfolio if they didn’t plan on hanging on to it.

Then again, now that I HAVE the job, we occasionally see a hard-copy of a portfolio come through, but it’s not nearly as often as you’d expect. Don’t spend a ton of money on it, or make it out of wood or come out of some special case… a nicely bound paper book will do! Just make sure the work is good. It may sound bad, but try to make it good bathroom reading. You just never know.

In fact… I think that’s going to be on the front page of my next send-out portfolio. “Good Bathroom Reading.”

I saw one car designer friend print a few kicka$$ images from his folio at a super large scale late at night on the work plotter, then mount them to big cardstock, and made a clever black matt envelope to post them. The whole thing must have been 2 foot by 4 foot and cost a bundle to send.

His gamble got the job and I gotta say; his images looked even better at a big scale, especially the vehicle renderings. the best CD I can imagine would have never made that kind of impact

…maybe if you also mailed them a 50" Plasma screen to view in on, included :wink:


hilarious! yeah, gifts can’t hurt… :laughing:

(totally kidding <unless it does help!>)