Sending portfolio in USB flash drives...

good idea or waste of money?

hello andreas

in my oppinion it’s a waste of money. because no computer can substitute the hardcopy experience. create a good compact portfolio, that shows your skills in a short and fast way. you never know the problems that can happen with this computer stuff… compatibility (you know windows…) etc.
people like to touch thing (i do!!). so what’s better? touch a mouse? or a nice and handy portfolio with wierd stuff. don’t overdraw with touchy things, keep it compact.

hope that helps


Very clever actually. Email/web is the standard these days, so I’d only go this way if you’re doing something bandwidth-intensive. And only if the memory key is cool looking and somewhat affordable.

A great self-promotion though! You should attach it to a custom keychain with your biz-card on it or something. Better yet, make your own enclosure!

Back in 1996 I did my portfolio in Director and put it on a Zip disk. I think they were about $20 back then. I scored the intended job, so it was more than worth it… And yes, it made an impression in an age of photo slides. (Scary to think that was only 8 years ago!)

it’s amazing how fast the zip went the way of the floppy.

I think it could be cool but it all rests in the execution. My cautionary would be that the portfolio you send should be a teaser, just enough to convince the potential employer to fly you out to ask you a bunch of questions and look at more work. Also keep in mind the people reviewing this might get hundreds of applicants, so you want to stand out, but in a way that is positve, keep it short and intruiging.

dude I would not send files which require opening. Think about it… a busy hiring manager, etc. gets a flash drive or whatever and has to plug it in (probably in the back of their computer), if they aren’t worried about viruses, never mind web/flash-version compatibility. If it is outrageously amazing then maybe, otherwise I would go with something else.

IMHO, some glossy printed samples are the way to go. If they’re good (of course) they end up pinned up or left out for everyone to browse. A digital file is given two minutes (maybe) and is forgotten.

I spent months working on a director CD when I first got out of school ('98)which never did me any good. In the end it was a big waste of time, although I guess learned director in the process.

Why send a flash drive when you can send a CD?

Waste of money. Like CD’s it requires someone to actually take the time to find a computer, USB port and open. As opposed to a sample sheet, where they get instance visual gratification.

“Find a computer”? I hear those are becoming pretty hard to find.

I like the idea of a USB portfolio. It differentiates yourself from any hard copy print. I have also always been a huge fan of personalized 3" cd’s. It shows that the designer has given more thought to design an experience. A couple of individuals sent me some small cd’s, and even though I wasn’t hiring I still kept them on hand at my desk. All the hard copy prints were filed away and rarely looked at. A USB device will take it to the next step.

im all for sending “containers.”
i once sent a midget who i hired, to memorize my portfolio and my skill sets to “tease” and show them what i got.

seriously, flash drive? why? “standing out” as its sole purpose is not worth it. How about making your kickass work “stand out” by it’s own. It’s border line pathetic when you have to reosrt to gimicks and (as ive heard before) like this dude who sent his resume printed on a t shirt and in a aluminm soup can with a can opener the he designed… wait that IS a cool idea…never mind.

I had a midget for the same reason. He get alittle expensive so I outsourced his job to China.

I think that this thread is addressing what options you have after you have created that whip-ass portfolio. What is the best way to gain the attention of potential employers. There are times when you are going to be sending your work to an employer who may be getting dozens of portfolios everyday. These portfolios may be for individuals who have similar skills to you, that also think of themselves as excellent designers. How can you set yourself apart.

I agree that you need to first invest in the “meat” of the portfolio. That is the most important part. I hope that no one here would argue that.

It is the same issue with marketing for large firms. Why advertise in I.D. magazine? Is that also a gimick? You need to leave an impression get in front of potential clients and employers.

no…not advertising itself. That would be saying leaving your house and showing portfolios is a gimick.
In such an analogy, advertising itself (in ID or yellow pages) would be the portfolio process.
The GIMICK would be trying to do something fruity within the normal accepted ways of advertising,
maybe run a lame sweepstakes contest through the ID mag ad, use wacky materials, embed a microchip with LEDS within the ad, having karim rashid’s picture with his thumbs up, attach a flash drive, etc.
Hey, I’m all for trying to catch the eye, but it only goes so far. Let the work speak for itself. (wait, unless you happen to be a designer whos soooo in the MEAT of the bell curve that you actually NEED to resort to gimicks, then I am completely wrong, ignore me.)

What does a flash drive have to do with YOU? Come up with something memorable that says something about you… unless you designed the flash drive.

You’re a designer. That “thing” should be something you designed not something you bought. Of course you could paint the drive but then you are showing graphic skills. Works if you’re a graphic designer.

The flash drive I have at work kills one of the G4 Macs instantly. we got it to try it out for quick transfer between machines and home. I think it works on all the other machines (G5 and G4 OSX) but for some reason it just kills only one of the G4s it as soon as it gets plugged in. Machine won’s start with it in. I don’t know much about flash drive we got yet and I haven’t had time to figure it out, that’s next weeks priority. I would hate to send off a portfolio that crashes someone’s system. I’m not sure, maybe the G4 it’s crashing is starting up in classic mode.

Anyone else had this problem?

I think a simple website is still the best and cheapest way.
Flash drives cost money to send…a website can be linked to and updated.

The nice thing about sending a portfolio in a flash drive is that the recipient will very likely hang on to it, use it as a keychain, save or transfer his/her own files with it. And your portfolio will be there all along, unless it gets erased the minute it arrives. But if your name or logo (or web address for that matter) is engraved on the enclosure, it will never go unnoticed.

My vote is for hardcopy, with a really crisp graphic presentation - by that I mean that making the effort to print or copy your imagesonto quality paper, with coordinating folders, envelopes, etc. Believe it or not, there are still plenty of people in management & marketing who are no where near as technologically savvy as a new young design grad. My opinon is that you want to make it as effortless as possible for someone to look at your work and pass it around. With a hardcopy, as soon as someone opens the envelope they are looking at your work - you can grab them right away. This has always worked for me.

Believe it or not, there are still plenty of people in management & marketing who are no where near as technologically savvy as a new young design grad.

And something about being able to touch the images and hold it in your hands makes you feel like you got something. USB thing is not very informative when you hold it.

send your old mac.

yeah a sII with a lithium battery

Don’t. It’s a childish gimmick no matter how brilliant your folio. Busy employers like to easily compare work side by side, quickly show the applicant’s potential to others, and this just complicates their life, practically ensuring your stuff gets one reading at most before that thing gets reformatted for future use. Might as well send them a good bottle of wine instead.

Paper is still the best support. Think convenience and remember to respect others’ time, we’re all around only for a limited period. If that’s advertising for your presumed design skills, it’s a poor first impression, not to mention others have already spoiled the novelty factor for you.

Less original than you think, really.