Teaser vs. Full Folio

Hi all,

I’m currently preparing to search for some ID jobs (about six months down the line due to the circumstances) and am working on projects in the interim for my portfolio. I have a bunch of work that I did when I was in uni, but I’m not entirely happy with it so I’m going with all new projects and re-vamping old ones.

I plan to send out a teaser portfolio to companies, maybe a few pages showing process work and final visualisations/models, but in the instance that I get invited to interview is it better to have a “cut-down” portfolio that sums up all of the work done on each project in say, three pages each (e.g. Dino Tsiopanus’ portfolio which was posted earlier), or a full portfolio for each project (e.g. Matthew Marston Blunt’s portfolio).

I can’t imagine that an employer would have the time to look through three or four twenty-page folios for each project during an interview slot, but then the other part of me thinks that it would be good to show the amount of effort and time put in to each project in a sort of “raw and uncut” manner.

In time I will actually post some work here for review and criticism!

Thanks in advance.


I have been told many times that it is important to make the process as EASY as possible for the person interviewing you and your work. So I think that a shorter portfolio would be preferred at the beginning. However, this does not mean that they won’t ask you for specifics on a certain project later. That is why you should also have your more lengthy project books ready just in case.

So, a short portfolio would be good to start with, and a longer version that goes into more detail would be good for later parts in the interview process. (usually takes several interviews before you get hired depending on the company).


I personally hate a short portfolio. I do not want to be on a single page for more than 30 seconds. If the interview is an hour, say 30 minutes being your portfolio. It should be at least 60 pages long.

The portfolio plays 2 roles:

  1. determining whether you have the necessary skills for the job
  2. a vehicle for the interview conversation to unearth as much as your personality, attitude, philosophy, and work ethic as possible

Thanks Yo & Dino,

I think in the end I will probably arm myself with a teaser to send out, a short portfolio and a long one depending on which the employer wants. Would it be a faux pas to ask that in an interview situation?

Be prepared…so take all your portfolios to the interview (the long one and short one)
Create a teaser-mail to get invited for an interview. I hate (and yes ignore) job-applications without some sort of portfolio/images.
Most people won’t read it. They want to look at some pictures. And an image says more than a thousand words.



I know this posting is a year old, but what is exactly a teaser and does Dino’s portfolio qualify as a teaser: Portfolio 2010 - Dino Tsiopanos by Konstantinos Tsiopanos - Issuu

Or is a teaser a few pages long with just limited information just to reel in an employer? Any examples (links) of a teaser that anyone can show me to get an idea?

One last thing: when I start contacting employers for internships, is it wrong to send a full-on 20 to 40 page portfolio (instead of a teaser) or is that a bad idea?

Thanks guys!

Full portfolio.

It is the best way to communicate who you are. I had been struggling with this, but I have found the more I add (still curated) the more people know about me going into conversations. Also they are more confident I can do the work so there is less, “How well do you draw vs model?” and more “What are inspirations and goals?”

Additionally I am a HUGE backer of the idea that each project does not need to be blown all the way out. I have an ID background, but I love graphic design. I include a few pages of prints I have made. One image to a page, no process. Keeping it light switches up the flow. There is nothing wrong with a “project” that is simply a series of sketches you did around a subject you are passionate about. Deep and Light need each other in a folio.

With the long portfolio, I’m finding because the work is there, conversations can be about who I am, what I’m looking for, and my perspectives. Much more conversation based and I think more interesting for everyone.


Thanks David for your input. I was a bit torn because our professors insist teasers are a great way to snare a potential employer to want to see more, but I wonder if some employers might be turned off to not being able to see “process”. Anyone else want to chime in?

On the whole I very much agree with David.

However I think, in general when trying to get a job and presenting yourself/work- its about the target audience (employer/client/person who signs your cheques). And of course do you and ‘the target audience’ jive well together.

If you know your applying to a company that is really keen about seeing process and decision making, then make sure you have that story to tell. I think a portfolio should be able to tell many different kinds of stories depending on who you are showing it too. Your instructors with the teaser portfolio are obviously suggesting one approach to how you might get people interested- but I like I said that would depend on who your trying to snare.

In my experience, where most people go wrongs when they do not bring enough work, or they go through their work too slowly. The interview is not so much to get the story behind each project, it is more to get the story behind you, how you think, how you work, and what you can do and accomplish given limitations and pressure.

To give a specific number of pages as a guidline , I find rather difficult.

Personally, I am not to fond of flipping pages myself or see somebody run through my portfolio while we are talking. May it be online or analog. This why for my print portfolio, I have decided to pint in A3 or Tabloid, the US equivalent.
This gives me the chance to reduce the number of pages which in my opinion has several benefits.
It helps making a large portfolio not look like an early edition of Peace and War and it reduces repetitive and disruptive flipping.

Another benefit that I have noticed is that it more easily communicates the whole process. To further strengthen this, I have started to not bind my portfolio which I always had done in the past but rather to have it in a folder so the pages can be taken out and put next to each other. This makes it possible view a whole project at a time, from A to Z. In order to not have to make this a ridiculous process with a silly amount of pages, I have between 2 -4 spreads in A3 format per project, not more.
If I can’t communicate it within this format, the project is too fuzzy.

Kind of the Pecha Kucha version of restraint when it comes to portfolio layout.

I think a portfolio should be able to tell many different kinds of stories depending on who you are showing it too.

I agree on this, but to make this less complicated, I think it is nice to show many different types of stories within your folio. This will limit how much you have to tailor it to a specific firm or corporation.

I am currently working with a recent graduate and stressing that each project does not have to be so strict in following the “research/insight,” “inspiration,” “sketching,” “refinement,” “model,” “heroes” formula that is so often taught in school. It is nice to share one project that blows out the whole process, but it is also ok to have a projects that show for example inspiration and final product only or insight, sketching, and final product.

Also, there is nothing wrong with having a page or two of pure hotness. “I have always been fascinated by baseball helmets…I spent a bunch of time sketching and rendered a few of my favorite concepts.” These types of projects give viewers a “break” and allows you to inject a bit of personality.

With this approach, you offer that one full, blown out story and show parts of your process that are most relevant for others. This allows potential employers to see your full process plus sneak peaks of your process throughout the portfolio. You will then have the additional work for a follow up. It is almost like a teaser within a portfolio.


Oh brother.

I just realized I stated much of what I had already covered in my initial response. I think it says the same thing in a different way so I will leave the post up in case it makes my point more clear. Still, it is just my perspective, but hope it helps.

Sorry all.