portfolio on a cd

I want to make a cd with my portfolio on it so I can pass it around. What program should I make it in? Dreamweaver? PDF something? Any thoughts? It must be good for mac or pc and easy to navigate, but I want it to look nicer than a bunch of file folders.



I have done several promotional pieces in Flash which then can be published as an .exe (for PCs) or a .hgx (for Macs). Flash is an easy program to learn, is relatively cheap and lets you create an interface to highlight your design capabilities.

I have my portfolio on a CD, so everytime i go to an interview for a new job, the guys that are interviewing me will remember who i am and what kind of work i do. (btw,that impresses lots of people, mainly, if you design a nice cd label)

As an architect, I assume that everyone is going to have a version of AUTOCAD, so everything is in cad, but I also add another version as Images (that you can even view with windows-own program-no matter- the win version) ; and also a pdf version, because that is more neat and works in mac too. I also put on the cd a copy of acrobat reader.exe (because it’s a free software), in case the people dont have it.

It is maybe a bit too much when you think about it, but it will always depend on the kind of people that are going to see your portfolio. I Went for 5 interviews the last time i was looking for a job, and I think they were all impressed by the CD, I got offers from all of them.

I’ve gone through just about everything on CD. First I used flash and dreamweaver to basically have my entire portfolio from my website onto a CD. Then I created an executable Flash presentation. Yeah, it looks cool, but it takes more time for a person to view it, however cool it may be. And it also shows your prowess for techy stuff, but I’m starting to lean in the direction of simply having a nice printed color brochure highlighting some of your best work. Concentrate on making your work stand out, not your computer skills with Flash or whatever (in the case of being a product designer and not a web or print guru). So, from now on, I personally am focusing on making my work and thought process stand out. That’s what I would recommend.

But if you are dead set on doing a CD, then I would suggest Flash as well, and just make an auto initiate file on the CD. Flash isn’t as easy as everyone says it is, especially if you want it done well.

If you don’t have time to learn flash you can always create a presentation in Powerpoint. This is a very simple application to learn and if done correctly can look very professional.

I agree with LaurenG. I have had a lot of success using powerpoint. It can be read by mac and PC and most people have it. You can also download a powerpoint viewer from microsoft that allows non-powerpoint-owners to view it, and include that on your cd. Flash looks cooler if done right, but powerpoint is WAY easier and more direct.

Unfortunately I think the majority of designers view Powerpoint with disdain… :neutral_face:

As the president of a design studio here in the US, I see a lot of portfolios. Probably one or two a day. I have to say that at first (two three years ago) when people would send CD’s or “virtual” portfolios I would look at them. Now, I just have them filed, I hardly look at any of them. I fined most have software issues, are over-designed or just plain bad. AOL spends millions on there CD promo crap and no one takes them seriously. (the CD’s that is). What makes you think you are going to be more effective than AOL?

I completely agree with the above. About 2 years ago I was doing the CD thing, but it didn’t seem to land too well. The email with the website link still works reasonably well, but print is probably still the best way to go. Think about it, the receiver is bound to open the envelope regardless, and when they see a brochure will quickly leaf through it. That’s better than filing them away or not being able to present yourself properly because your CD failed to work on their system.
I’ve learned my lesson and now only send out mailers and sometimes an email with my website. Keep it simple.

Good luck!

I also agree with CASPER, I would not take the time to review an unsolicited CD portfolio or direct mail piece. However, if you were in for an interview and left a CD portfolio, I would certainly use it in the decision-making process (distribution to colleagues who were unable to be a part of a direct interview, reminder of who you were, etc.)

We discourage clients from using CDs as direct mail pieces. We generally recommend using them as substitutes to brochures that have a reason to be data heavy.

Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful responses. I’m going to do a portfolio on a cd in Powerpoint. I will make a really sweet cover for it and concentrate on an image driven, graphically simple slideshow type of format. I will carry it around to leave with people who want it. It will basically play a supporting role to my printed matter and web presence.

Thanks again for the helpful comments.


using a CD portfolio in terms of application for art school?

I plan on applying for Emily Carr in fall and you have to submit a competitive art portfolio to be accepted. They say the recieve close to 600 applications per year and only have room for 150. Most of my work is larger (paintings on canvas) and some 3d work that could not be included in a traditional portfolio. Instead of including some real work and photos of the rest that could not be sent, what do you think about designing a portfolio in flash with photos and descriptions of all my work? I have to have 15-20 pieces, one being a sketchbook. I was thinking send a CD with all my pieces in a digital portfolio, along with my sketchbook. What do you think? Has anyone else used a CD portfolio when applying for a school? Is it a good move, bad move? Too risky?? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


It may seem like a good idea but here are some issues you should consider:

• Check to see if the school will except it in that format. Usually they prefer slides.

• CD’s don’t always work. Sometimes there is a computer or platform issue, someone could drop and scratch the CD, requires someone to be at a computer to review it. (I’m sure there are a few others.)

I would play it safe and submit slides or some other reliable media. Wouldn’t it be terrible if you were rejected only because the committee couldn’t review your work on the CD.

CDROM’s are so early 90’s.

Regardless of the authoring software you use, your portfolio belongs on the web! (If you’re worried about access, you can put it in a non-discoverable link not referenced in your homepage. Then it won’t be found or indexed by search engines.)

The comments above are right–no one likes the hassle of CDROM’s anymore (they were a novelty for a while, but now they’re just irritating!) URL’s are much more useful, plus they’re portable via email, which is really useful when a company is considering applicants. Many teams these days are spread out geographically so your CD may never reach the decision-maker–you don’t want to take that risk.

ONLY use CDROM’s if you have a lot of video content that requires the storage space/bandwidth.

Ask the school b4 sending anything, I dont see why they shouldnt accept a URL but still you better ask before.

If you dont know how to make your website because you dont know how to use the software, I recommend two choices:

  1. Ask for help to a friend who knows the software (dont get stucked triyng to learn on a deadline, the results may not be the best)
  2. If none of your friends know about it, try one of this: WebUnion Media Limited
    it may help

Use Macromedia’s Director!

thanks again for all your insight and opinions…any morw would be appreciated.

njosnavelin: what is Macromedia’s Director? I’m not familiar with it, could you fill me in?


Macromedia’s Director is an application used to create interactive CD’s and DVD’s. There is a huge learning curve for this since you need to learn ‘lingo,’ (scripting language based on javascript) to use it effectively.


You might be able to do it in Macromedia’s flash as well but then again you will have to learn some actionscript (another scripting language based on javascript) in order to have interactivity as part of your presentation. Flash is better suited for the web (for which it was designed) because it creates smaller files (if you know what your doing.)

Here’s a good overview of why one over the other:

Dude- the big problem is thats not enough- people will not take the time to look the thing over

send prints

send prints

send prints