Paper quality for portfolios?

I have a few questions about paper quality for portfolios.

  1. What type of paper do you guys/gals use for your portfolios? Meaning, what pound weight and brightness would you recommend for the paper? I would like a professional finish and feel almost like a design magazine or design book.

  2. How should it be printed, with an ink jet, laser jet or some other format?

  3. Do you have it printed coated or uncoated or even high gloss? I’m just curious, because the portfolio that I am thinking about using has polypropylene sheet protectors.

  4. Also were do you have it printed? I hate kinko’s, those fools without a doubt always goof something up. I am using an 11x14 format so the size may play an issue with some places such as kinko’s. Do you use a smaller printing house for jobs like these?

I wish I knew more about graphic design and layout when it came to this type of work!

Thanks for any help with this,

Here’s my system:

  1. Inkjet: Laserprint still can look mottled (though it is getting better)

  2. Heavyweight paper because it holds up better.

  3. matte finish becuase it hides fingerprints.

  4. 11 x 17 size (can print things out full scale). Kinkos can do 11 x 17. Staples can also.

  5. Be prepared to give something away at the presentation. I usually just leave the portfolio there. Don’t know if a hardbound portfolio adds anything to the presentation- I’ve never used one.

Now, I’ve seen fantastic portfolios that were zerox copies stapled together- only works if you are a great sketcher though.

i haven’t had a paper portfolio since i had to have one to get a grade in my portfolio class in school.

i took my ex’s laptop to all of the presentations and as a leave behind piece i had a custom printed teaser cd ( $15 for 50cds, but i worked at the place that did it, and i did all of the set up and printing so there was no labor cost added). it worked for me because i could tailor contents of each cd depending on what i wanted to highlight.

other than that, what jimr said. i liked how one of my classmates used paper with diff. texture on the back. it was super smooth and glossy, but as you went to turn the page you got this unexpected tactile treat.

jimr, thank you for your advice on the paper. I’ll have to give it a test try. I’m going to look around my area for a smaller printing house. I have had bad experiences with places like Kinkos and Staples. But I appreciate the suggestions.

melovescookies, a laptop would most definitely be my method of choice for interviews as well. I need to save up so I can purchase one first. I would feel indifferent using my laptop that my company has provided me with for work. A question might be asked during the interview like, “Is that your laptop? It sure is nice!” Then I would have to respond with no unfortunately it is my current employer’s. They might think that is sleazy, using a work computer to interview for other positions. These are just my feelings about the situation. So I will have to go with the old fashioned technique for the time being. Having my portfolio on a CD, DVD or USB key is another great idea. But what happens if they have some sort of technical problems with there computer that day. It makes me look like I’m unprepared. Be prepared is the Boy Scout’s motto.

Does any one else have any suggestions on paper or printing processes?

…Belt and suspenders…

I’ve seen computer problems take out the biggest designers out there.

When I had a printed portfolio, I mounted everything on 8"x10" blackboard with the same size border around the piece. I put it in one of those hard black photo boxes that hinged open.

The printouts were high end, done on photopaper. This was in 97’

I can post a picture of what it looked like if you want to see it. It was nice and intimate and I was able to mail the box by fed ex to people.

As inexpensive as ‘print on demand’ has become recently, having a bound porfolio should really impress without breaking the bank. You forfeit the ability to update a ‘master’ hard copy, but the presentation probably outweighs that. Might be interesting to do a new ‘volume’ each year to document new works?

Put some of ur best works printed on Semi Gloss A3 printed paper. That also boost the confidence of your work.

Semi-gloss paper might be expensive than other paper mediums, but it pays to secure a ID job!

I used a epson 1280 printer and epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper. It cost almost 60.00 for twenty sheets. Well worth the cost, beautiful image and the epson 1280 can print 13x19 inches which should give you enough space. I also found that using a light weight pastel paper between the prints help to keep them from scratching up as much.

Do you have any links to anyone you would reccomend?

What is the quality of On Demand Printing?


check out i havent used them yet for printing, but am considering them for an upcoming book and portfolio mailer I have planned. seems pretty good regarding cost and design options as well quality.

ill let you know once i print something with them and check the final copy quality.


Did this ever happen?


still working on it :slight_smile:

actually just uploaded a test file for print yesterday. pretty easy to do and there’s even a live chat help. havent got the results yet, but so far, still looks like a good option.

book/mailer will be coming soon, i promise. i have just started my own design consultancy in part to have more time to work on the book. more info when there is some…