Digital vs Print: How Should I Present My Portfolio?

Every day creative portfolios pass through our doors, and every day it provokes the print vs digital debate. 

There is no right or wrong answer - if there was this would be a much shorter blog post! Instead it is mostly down to individual preference, but there are of course pros and cons of both.

As we do see so many portfolios, we like to think we’ve got an idea of what works and what doesn’t. So, here are a few things to think about when you are deciding how to carry your portfolio. 

First and foremost, think about the situation you are in. Obviously, if you are sending your portfolio to a company without physically visiting them, it’s common sense to send them a digital version of your portfolio via email rather than printing a portfolio and sending it royal mail. However, face to face meetings aren’t as straight forward.

Imagine you are sat at a table with two interviewers facing you, how are you going to present your portfolio? This is the main area that digital portfolios fall down due to it’s practicality, or lack there of. 
The size of an iPad, for example, would pose a problem in this scenario. Three people gathering around a 10-inch screen is not the ideal situation, not only are the interviewers going to struggle to see your work and it’s intricacies, they are also likely to lose interest as they are detached from your work. 

Likewise, they are going to want to pick up your work, flick through it and get up close and personal to notice the little details that really shows your hard work. If they’re staring at a screen, it takes away the physicality of it. Moving closer to a piece of paper rather than zooming in on a presentation may seem like an insignificant difference, but you want them to enjoy exploring your work with ease which is a lot more natural with a physical copy rather than accidentally pressing the wrong button or switching slides and so on. 

Whilst the physical element of a printed portfolio may be generally a nicer experience, that doesn’t mean it works best for you. It is important to consider what the job you are applying for requires and what your past work consists of.
If the majority of your work was built for online platforms then it would make sense for you to present it as it was intended to be viewed. For example, a print out screen shot of a website would have no where near the same impact as viewing a live web page would; if you have created a brand logo for a web based company it would have more impact viewed online rather than a 2D printed version.

Similarly, if you have print based work then show it in it’s full glory. You can’t tell the true quality of your printed work staring at it on a screen. The best example of this is shopping online. Everyone has bought a product online for it to then arrive and look totally different to how you expected - be that good or bad. Your portfolio is the same, you can’t tell what the textures and colours really look like until you are holding the finished product in your hands. 

Finally, whilst it is beneficial to have a digital version of your portfolio for the aforementioned reasons, there is an element of respect surrounding a printed portfolio. 
Walking into a room with a big book of work automatically makes you look prepared, and whilst it may not be the biggest issue in your life, carrying a big book around does require effort and organisation. These connotations are labelled to you within seconds of walking into the room, which can only be a good thing. There is something about the old fashioned way that people hold a warmth to, suggesting we might not be ready to kick out print for digital just yet. 

If you’re still unsure what route to take, just do both. It’s good practise to have a running online portfolio anyway, and for the early stages of the recruitment process a digital portfolio is a necessity. But when it does to the interview process, it does no harm to bring your laptop or iPad in combination with printed work - there are clear benefits of both, so utilise them!

If you need any further advice don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team on Twitter!

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