Presenting Your Work: <br />Ever Ready Info Kit

This is a massive subject, so read through everything and pick one facet to start on. DO NOT PANIC.

Files to Always Have Ready: Varsity Level

This is what I always have on cloud storage in case I find an opportunity. You can build up to this.

General written documents, as Google docs:

  • Your designer’s statement: why are you a designer? What do you want to do in the world? Have a point, do not be afraid to have a point of view!!
  • Contact information
    • Professional email address:
    • Unprofessional: hottkittenz133$
    • Only give the basics: phone and email. Sometimes giving your address can make you less a contender if they think you live too far away or in a bad part of town.
  • Your CV, with in-depth listings of all shows (solo and group), residencies, internships, publications, etc.
    • This is a overall file of info you will use to create the smaller resumés
    • CV stands for Curriculum Vitae, and it is basically a record you keep of every single thing you have ever done. You very rarely show the entire thing, but having it all in one spot is essential.
  • Your teaching philosophy (if applicable): consider teaching to sharpen your brain, skills, and compassion levels. Just sayin’.
  • Your biography, in long and short forms
    • You are important and you need to be able to tell your story well.
  • All press coverage: links to articles, etc.
  • A current list of people from whom you can get references for a variety of purposes (go read this article)
    • Only give these out when they are requested, after you have asked the references if you can use them

Other assets:

Your work, cleaned up and consistently presented:

  • Print-quality and internet ready images
  • Print-quality and internet ready pdfs

Be sure not to send huge files in an email: be able to export your documents so they do not choke the recipient’s inbox. If you cannot handle your own files, you will look unprofessional.


You have to learn how to take decent high-resoultion pictures of your physical work:

Tutorials: 1  |  2  |  3

Yes, this is a lot of work, but you are a designer, a cultural producer. Learn to produce a high-quality series of your work.

Portfolios: PDFs and Print pieces

You need a beautiful, simple InDesign template that you can keep adding to and subtracting from as needed.

  • Print it in color and use a decent display case that you can reuse. I usually use these if I do present print: Itoya Presentation Books 
  • I do not make the portfolio all fancy and I do not leave printed leave behinds other than calling cards and specifically designed promotional pieces. I do not leave behind original work as I have seen studios rip off the work of applicants without ever considering hiring the person.
  • If you send a PDF version, make sure it is an interactive PDF, that will be low resolution–light-weight and harder to rip off directly.
  • I do not make my print book fancy as I am not focusing on presenting myself as a print person. And also, I have much better things to do than making nifty hand-produced one-of-a-kind books. Unless those were relevant to my actual body of work.

Digital Portfolios:

Show that you can think: you need to highlight a full-bodied project and walk the visitor through how you defined the problem and solved it. The Pretty™ is just not enough…