Hey … I am doing my first portfolio, I am finding it hard to decide on the size of it…Which sizes are most commonly used… is it better to have it big or small… give me your thoughts : )

well Capt. Vague I would say make it less then ten megabytes, for a 72~96 ppi version (five MB is a good target).

Other wise I would think about presentation and if it needs to be 8.5" x 11", a4, a3, tabloid. I can see where physical dimensions may become overwhelming. You need to analyze your situation. What types of printers are you working with? What is your budget? How can you stand out? Are you using a roll printer, plotter, LaserJet, inkjet? Can you do tabloid (11x 17)?

A guy I know did a really cool folio, he formatted three projects on three separate boards. But the boards were about eight inches high by about three feet long. The guy was quite tall so he could easily carry them around vertically. The projects progressed across the boards, it was done well and was effective.

I don’t worry about number of pages, unless it is too long. But I find it best to have your sizes worked out prior to constructing everything else. If it is your first, then you should maybe just buy a stock sleeve and do a smile format, I like 11 x 17. If you have the space use it.

nice… thanks… that was very useful… I am thinking of a size around A4… the book “Process” has very nice layouts… it uses non-landscape layout… which is very nice if you want to show a lot of smaller pictures of process…

Some messenger bags will tell you portfolio size doesn’t matter, or that your portfolio is a “good size” but we all know that means it’s too small.

-or if you would prefer-

My messenger bag says “ouch” when I shove my portfolio in.

Seriously though, our teachers told us 11x17in was the best, I prefer something slightly more portable, a4 is similar to letter size right?

I would say if its your first portfolio, its too small. You want to have your sketches at their original size, or if you aren’t that great, slightly shrunken, and plenty of room to place images. However much text you put in, cut it in half, as it seems we all put too much text in. The work should tell the story, i.e. the viewer should be able to follow your story by looking at the images as you tell it. Text is not only not read generally, but it is a turn off. I reviewed a guys folio last fall, and was surprised to find out that his sketches, which were actually really good, were taking a back seat to text and stock photography, now that that has been reversed, I am slightly jealous, in a good way.

If your showing good work, and lots of it. As long as it is clearly presented nobody cares what size it is. So worry about what your showing and how it is presented, not what it is presented on.

^ Agreed. It’s not about the format, but about the content. I’d go 8.5 x 11 or PDF. Good luck!

I’ve found in my experience with sending digital work that most folks prefer a size of 3MB or less. This will prove as a challenge if you have a lot of work to show, or a long story to tell. I’ve developed a ‘tease-folio’ with a single page (8.5x11 landscape) per project to show highlights(main take-aways)that works great for sending via email. I then developed a booklet per project to show in interviews. I find booklets are easier to pass around in an interview than posters or larger 11x17 layouts. Multiple interviewers can leaf through as you talk, plus you can decide in which direction you want the interview to go. Best of luck.