The Epic Portfolio Post

Whenever people ask me "Where to start?" my eyes get really big. *audible gulp.* It's not
that I don't know the answer - it's that there are soooooooo many answers, and the answers themselves lead to more questions... and even more answers.

The quick and easy answer is - To get a job as a creative (copywriter, art director or designer) in advertising, you need a portfolio to demonstrate your skills and understanding of the industry.

Yeah, that wasn't so quick was it?

So now we get to a whole bunch of follow up questions: What is a portfolio? Then, how do you get a portfolio? Then, what do you do once you have a portfolio? How do you get a job? How do you keep a job? (Thankfully, there are blogs like this that are here to help. Whew.) 

Here's a collection of just about everything I've ever written about portfolios. (1. Holy crap I've written a lot. 2. Holy crap there's so much I haven't mentioned yet.) 

(Just About) Everything You Need to Know About Your Portfolio

1. First things first:

Watch the movie Art & Copy and this video Pursuit of Passion.

2. Things to know before you get started: 

What is a Creative? Quick overview of what a creative is and does.

So You Wanna Be A Creative Director?: Tough love and 6 things you need to do right now.

Tips For Aspiring Copywriter & Art Directors: Basic explanation of the whos and hows of working in an agency, plus 5 tips to get hired at one.

3. What is a portfolio? (aka "Book") 

Your Portfolio: General tips about what your portfolio should look like and contain.

What Exactly Do You Mean By "Portfolio"?: Breakdown of what a portfolio/book is and what to put in it.

Tips On Putting Your Portfolio Together: Tips for copywriters, art directors and developers

What Your Portfolio Says About You: 5 things to do to make sure your portfolio is top notch.

4. What To Put In Your Portfolio:

What I Look For In A Book: 3 Things this blogger looks for in a book.

Make Somebody Cry: Why you should make people react.

Beef Up Your Book: Why you should have a non-advertising section on your site

Make Something People Need: Come up with an idea that solves a problem

New Ads for old things: Do a campaign for an old product

Make a PSA Today: Create a public service announcement

Change The World or a Law: Advertise for/against a cause or law 

5. What Not To Put In Your Portfolio: 

What Not To Put In Your Book: Quick answer: Anything you can't say "I came up with this" or "I wrote/art directed that" about.

Don't Benetton Your Book: Why you should be very, very cautious about using edgy humour

Sex Sells:  Don't put anything sexual or tawdry in your book.

Nike Doesn't Need More Ads: Why you should create ads for brands that create amazing ads and ways you can show your talent by the brands you have in your book.

Things to Stop Doing. Immediately: A few things to take out (never put in) your portfolio.

6. Notes On Your Portfolio 

Is Your Campaign Awesome or Awful? Flowchart (and checklist) to help you judge whether your idea is good and has all the elements of a campaign.

Here's an Idea - Keep It Simple: You should be able to explain your idea in 140 characters or less.

How To Train Ideas: E-book about brainstorming with tips, examples and advice.

Is Your Idea Big Enough: An example of a big idea.

Respect the Brand: Show you understand a brand's personality, tone and image.

Using Pop Culture In Your Book: Tips and examples of how/when to use pop culture references in your work.

What the big wigs think about your book: Some of the things young creatives do & don't do

Common Portfolio Review Mistakes: 5 mistakes juniors make when having their book reviewed.

Your Book Will Never Be Finished: 5 Tips about getting through the never-ending creative cycle

7. What are Portfolio Schools (aka Ad School) & Should You Go?

Where For Art Thou Portfolio: Pros & Cons

Portfolio School, Fool: List of a few schools

Portfolio School or Not to Portfolio School? 8 Reasons you should go to portfolio school

What is Portfolio School Like?: 10 things you'll do in portfolio school

How to Apply to Portfolio School: Interview of 3 admission staff at 3 different portfolio schools.

Two Creatives On Portfolio School: Interview of two creatives who did go to portfolio school

Creatives Who Made Their Own Way: Interview of two creatives that didn't go to portfolio school share their journey

What You Won't Learn In Ad School: 6 things they didn't tell you in school

School vs Work: What I Learned My 1st Year Out: 5 things she didn't learn in school and 5 things she did.

8. And lastly, don't say I didn't warn you 

But Are You Really Ready To Work?: It's going to take a lot of hard work

Don't Get A Job In Advertising: Some of the most difficult parts of working in advertising