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Prefered media for phsyical portfolio?


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Self-publishing a book is just so easy. Adorama will even print on real chemically processed photo paper (which makes renders look FANTASTIC - I've got $0.19 4x6 prints from my local photo lab that I pass out) and bind it so that 2-page spreads line up correctly.

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Self-publishing seems like a perfectly intelligent thing to do. The last big firm I worked for we published like mad (albeit in house just because we had very large printers). We essentially treated every schematic design packet and RFP etc. as if we were publishing a book which is pretty common at larger firms.


In my experience, the more you know about the professional publishing context into which your work will be inserted the better off you are with almost any client. Just demonstrating that you can pull off a professionally printed portfolio at a (low) cost that might even enable you to leave behind a copy could potentially add greatly to your perceived value. Next time I print I'm going that direction. I think the only real challenge is customizing vs. volume discount if you think you're going to need more than one version.


As far as external providers go I liked Andrew's idea about photo paper. Also I'm sure you have, but if you haven't look at the other full blown book options like Lulu (I know there are others also... just can't remember off hand). Binding is a big deal, if you can get someone to make it look real or even better invisible I don't think it would hurt let's put it that way.


.....here's another strategy, personally I hate losing all that warm fuzzy digital glow of the monitor haaa so here's what I've done in the past that has gone over decently:




(no reason for the caps just happened)


This strategy can quickly tell you how committed a firm is to CG if it's not to a CG shop (meaning certain architecture firms might go whoooaaaa this dude is too digital for us ha). And I guess that is sort of the quick and dirty but portable demo reel meets real time presentation strategy. Big CG houses I'm assuming just watch the demo reels and then call you in if they like it. For architecture and other firms many times you can use this strategy as a way to walk folks through images and talk at the same time since they are often times interested in the dog and pony show.


Hope this is useful in some way.


Peace, b


P.S. I've heard the self-publishing sometimes refered to jokingly as "vanity-publishing" but I think that's mostly coming from high end publishers refering to folks who have tried to publish novels etc. and could not find a house so they did it themselves, short circuiting the publishers making money and/or the professional (writing) editing process. ... for the sake of portfolio presentation publishing I think the more professional the better so that derogatory term doesn't apply : ).

Edited by wrt
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Awesome advice guys. In my case, it's a submital as part of my application to Architecture Grad School, so I'll never have to pass it around or even present it in person. I agree that printing individual sheets + matte board would be best in most cases because of frequent changes, but I think I was just talked into creating a book in this instance.

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11 x 14 prints mounted to boards is an excellent idea Travis, I really like that. Many thanks.


Aaron, on a similar note for a company and/or client interviews I have also had the experience, like Travis, that being able to split the presentation into multiples can be incredibly helpful. One version of an interview portfolio I broke the projects book into multiple booklets so that those booklets could be passed around separately rather than folks waiting anxiously for the "one book" to come around to them. Plus people can focus on the things that interest them and ignore the stuff that doesn't.


As far as arch school applications and self-publishing go Aaron, I think a very long time ago what you said may have been slightly true that it was potentially over the top to self-publish but that was way before inexpensive self-publishing services or even digital desktop publishing for that matter and more about undergrad than grad? IMHO for grad school these days a quality printing would certainly not count against you? I think the only potential danger is that when people do self-publishing they can get carried away with the graphic design of the portfolio rather than keeping the "architectural project signal" to "book design signal" ratio high. In other words it seems easy to get caught up in the idea that since it's a "published book" that it needs to be as throughly designed as a professional monograph which may or may not be true for the application.


So one design idea that may or may not be useful and is somewhat obvious is to keep the design of the "book" pretty modular so that when needed you can print at the page level OR the project level OR the book level.... but that may be overdoing/too clever for the school app. Just throwing some ideas out there given that it's nice to have a simple modular portfolio that applies both to school apps and/or work.





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