We had a thread about this before.
All of my clients sign a contract, which has this clause in it:
‘‘We reserve the right to photograph and/or distribute or publish for our firms promotional and marketing needs any work we create for you, including mock-ups and comprehensive presentations, as samples for our portfolio, brochures, website, slide presentations and similar media. We agree to only disclose such work once the product is available at retail or at such a time as CLIENT agrees to its disclosure, whichever occurs soonest.’’
So, whether in an interview or on my website or blog, or anywhere else, right now, no one is being shown any client work that is newer than Summer 2009. I know some designers, especially in fashion, where being seen as up-to-date is so important, do some work specifically for their website or corefolio. This is a good idea, because you are not treading on anyones toes. Also a great idea if you are new to this and don’t have much client work to show otherwise, or if you want to try branching out into other categories.
AFAIK, for unselected work (and in fashion design it can be as much as 80% of the work for some projects), I treat this the same, whether it got selected for production or not, would not expect a fashion client to get upset over this as they will have moved onto the next trend by next season, it’s unusual to revisit old stuff unless we are talking years later, then, it is considered retro! Anyway, having said all of that, I don’t post much unselected work on the web, would prefer to post only the stuff that is instore.
Especially if you are going to put it on the web - get it in writing! Just avoids any misunderstanding later on. Number one thing is to respect your client. I guess I only really show as little as 30% of what I do. I’m careful of what I publish online, there are some projects I’d show at interview but not online. There are some projects that I’m really proud of, that I know I can never show, because the client asked me not to. Most clients don’t quibble at the clause in my contract, the ones that ask me for confidentiality or ask me to remove it, I have to say, they usually have good reason to do it, and I’m always happy to comply.
And D-Flux, yeah I feel the same as you when I see a Core folio, which has what looks like client work and has a future season written on it. (And there are many, many like this!) Would I hire them? No way!
Edited to add:
An interview is not public. Use your discretion. Showing current work is acceptable, depending. Not to direct competitors, but ok in an interview in different industry. State that it’s current work, it’s important for the interviewer to know both that your skill and knowledge is current and as a caveat. A responsible interviewer isn’t going to go copying or broadcasting what you showed.
Also, if it is important for you to show current work, not in public, consider anonymizing it: selective views, colors, hide all names and graphics.
I wouldn’t do this, personally, I’m freelance. In order to get work, my clients need to be able to trust me. If I do this, how do they know I’m not going to go to their competitor and showing them their work. It’s obvious that it can work both ways. If they ask, I just say sorry, but I can’t for confidentiality reasons. I don’t have a client list on my website and I don’t disclose the names of every company I work for either.
There was a thread on here a while ago where someone sat in an interview where they deliberately tried to extract confidential, current work from a potential employee. He gave in and showed the work. They didn’t hire him. BE CAREFUL!