Portfolio Final

Textbooks: Graphic Design Solutions ISBN: 9781133945529
Skills Review: For practice, or review of skills, refer to any textbooks/videos used in previous courses/tutorials.
Reference: Online searches, research & in-class library
Video Resources: Business Tips,Techniques & Principles | Below on this page.
Course Length: 25 hours


Course Description

This course is the final push before you finish the Digital Design Program.

For this course the main focus, as it has been throughout the program, is about ensuring that your portfolio(s) and your marketing is ready for professional prime time. If you’ve been diligently following the program, then you’ve been working towards this completion point all along.

These final projects provide you with the opportunity to showcase the many skills that you have developed over the past year. These projects should be taken very seriously as they are a direct reflection of you, your work-ethic, and your abilities. If done correctly you’ll be ready to present your core body of work while marketing your personal brand to prospective clients/employers.


Course Preparation

Professional Account Set-ups

Before starting this course, you must confirm that your:

  • Professional Business Email Account is set up and ready for business use. Consider your professional reputation and first marketing impressions… absolutely avoid using unprofessional, too-personal addresses like partydawg300@yahoo.com, s.mary-1945@rocketmail.com, etc. Note: Gmail is a highly recommended provider.
  • Professional Adobe Account with Adobe.com has been established. Note: Reference your professional business email when setting up. It is also wise to research and/or consider taking advantage of various Adobe special pricing/product offers for students BEFORE finishing this last course (i.e. while still legally considered an active “student”)!
  • Professional Behance Account with Behance.net has been established. Note: Reference your professional business email and/or Adobe account when setting up.

Portfolio Self-Evaluation

Near the halfway point in this program you created a number of “starter” portfolios… online, web galleries, PDF, etc. Since then you have accumulated more advanced and, hopefully, much higher quality work to choose from to restock and replace some lesser, basic pieces that made it into earlier portfolio drafts. At this point, depending on what’s been done already, you may have minor tweaks or major overhauls to complete in order to finish this course.

By now you should have been exposed to lots of new ideas and techniques that you weren’t aware of a year ago. Most importantly, especially for professional creative careers, you’ve should have started to develop a much more critical (educated) eye for design and detail. And that critical eye must be completely objective when scrutinizing, judging, editing, selecting and (yes) eliminating some of your own work. The classic mistake of beginners is to fall in love with everything they create. Sentiment and nostalgia for projects can greatly skew one’s vision/clarity/truth when determining how presentable a piece actually is. Only your absolute highest quality of work should be considered for inclusion in your marketing arsenal.


Perform Business Website & Class Server Hygiene:

  1. Choose 3-5 of your best, unique solutions from the Video Collection textbook assignments; keep these links in your assignments web page
  2. Remove all (but those 3-5 unique solutions) Video Collection textbook assignment links from your assignments web page
  3. Remove all (but those 3-5 unique solutions) of the Video Collection textbook assignments/data files from the class web server


Course Completion Requirements

Tasks & Projects

Review all of your previous courses; ensure that you have completed all previously assigned projects, pre-tests, and tests. Complete any that have not been completed. Complete ALL of the Tasks/Projects below.

File Management & Submission Process

  • Only ONE submission attempt is allowed for these grouped projects. Accuracy and thoroughness is critical; test, proof and double-check all pieces/work/links for any flaws. Ensure that all work is repaired, completed, tested and ready for use before seriously considering submission.
  • This course requires group submissions of multiple links, which means that all of the required links must be accounted for in a Dropbox submission. in Blackboard.
  • Submit only the requested (pre-tested/functional) links.


Coursework 1: Portfolio Final

Days: 5 | PCP 48


Project: POR-01-Portfolio-Preparation

Project Overview

This is a multi-part project that uses one DropBox for submission of several links at once. This project allows only one submission… this is the end game, so get it right!
For this course you’ll be:

  1. Eliminating all emotion from the portfolio elimination/inclusion process
  2. Reviewing all previous instructor comments in Blackboard for project improvements or recommended portfolio fixes
  3. Looking for any missing examples, quality shortcomings, ways to improve the overall presentation
  4. Reviewing, analyzing, sorting and finally upgrading your individual pieces to portfolio quality (as needed – as time allows)
  5. Reviewing, analyzing and finally upgrading your various portfolios, web galleries, etc.
  6. Creating any missing pieces

Steps to Success:

1. Read: Graphic Design Solutions: CH16
2. Review, Revise, Replace
Evaluate ALL of the pieces in ALL of your Portfolios (online, web galleries, PDF, etc.) for potential upgrading. Some projects may be fine as is. Many projects (selected portfolio pieces) may need updating or revisions. Strengths and weaknesses must be identified.
3. Sorting Process
To correctly sort your work, you must adopt a Ready, Remove/Replace, or Repair approach.
Ask yourself: “Does this piece promote, or punish, my brand/style/marketing message?”

  • If it “promotes” as is, then put it in the “Ready” category (ready for possible inclusion)
  • If it “punishes”, then put it in the “Remove/Replace” category (to remove and/or replace)
  • If it “promotes” (with minor fixes), then put it in the “Repair” category (to fix as necessary)
  • Stay organized. Stay on task. Work efficiently. Use the Coursework Deadlines sheet as a rough checklist guide.
  • Aim to represent enough diversity of your creative/technical skills to interest potential clients/employers in hiring your talents.
  • You must be completely (brutally) honest in self-analysis of your work.
  • Individually, every piece will either help, or hurt, your overall impression.
  • Understand that even only one bad, or weak, piece can ruin an entire portfolio.

Keep these facts in mind:

  • Quality still trumps quantity: 12 – 20 excellent pieces should suffice.
  • A portfolio is perhaps the most important self-promotional tool for professional designers.
  • Several versions, or formats, of portfolios are often used to market skills and services across a variety of media.
  • Even at an interview “the work should speak for itself.”
  • Subpar, or sloppy, work simply will not be forgiven (or hired) in the industry.
  • A designer’s portfolio should evolve and (periodically) improve its contents, throughout one’s career.
  • At any point in time, a designer’s portfolio should always reflect a core collection of one’s best work.

4. Update/Create

  1. Selected Individual Portfolio Pieces (as needed – as time allows)
  2. Internal Portfolio Gallery in “businesswebsite” (hosted “internally” on Class Server)
  3. Internal Business Website aka “businesswebsite” (hosted “internally” on Class Server); ensure that it is (current) backed up and ready for use/transfer (to your own, free or fee-based web host).This website must include:
    • Custom Business Logo
    • Company Name, Email, and Phone Number
    • Marketing Message/Copy (if applicable/where needed)
    • Home Page
    • Portfolio Page – showcase of websites, graphics, illustrations, photos, and (short/small) videos/animations that you created for class, individual, or freelance projects. Note: Assignments Page should now be removed (as it is being fully replaced by this Portfolio Page)
    • Services Page and/or List of (all) Services
    • Contact, or Contact Us, Page (or equivalent page)
    • About, or About Us, Page (or equivalent page) – provides your bio and resume
    • Blog Page or link to external Blog (optional)
    • External Links to externally-hosted sites, samples, etc. (optional)
  4. External Portfolio Galleries (hosted “externally” using free web hosting at Behance.net and possibly others); after account set-up, build your own Behance online portfolio (with at least 5-10 examples of your most excellent work)
  5. External Business Website(s) (hosted “externally” using free web hosting at Wix.com etc.); auxiliary/interim template-based website(s); built from dissection/recycling of parts (from Internal Business Website); (optional)

5. Submit Links To Your Finest Work Yet
Use correct project DropBox in Blackboard. One submission allowed. Pre-test the links to be submitted in Blackboard for functionality and accuracy.
For this project you will (simultaneously) submit links to:

  • Updated Internal Business Website aka “businesswebsite” (hosted “internally” on Class Server)
  • Updated External Portfolio Galleries (hosted “externally” by Behance.net and possibly others)
  • Updated External Business Websites (hosted “externally” at Wix.com, etc.); (optional)


Project: POR-02-Marketing-Package

1. Update/Create

Evaluate ALL of your existing professional business marketing pieces. Many may require makeovers or first-time creation. Your goal is to assemble a complete professional marketing package for your company/business that will build your brand, and reinforce your website, and vice versa.

For this project you’ll be:

  1. Analyzing your existing supplemental marketing pieces and business collateral
  2. Looking for any missing examples, quality shortcomings, ways to improve your overall marketing presentation
  3. Reviewing all previous instructor comments in Blackboard for project improvements or recommended portfolio fixes
  4. Upgrading any substandard pieces; adding any missing elements/criteria
  5. Creating any missing pieces

This professional marketing package must include:

  • Professional Resume – current, proofed and ready for use
    • 8.5” x 11”; built in Word
    • Provide link in business website (About Page) to downloadable PDF
    • Submit as PDF in Blackboard
  • Professional Business Card – properly designed and ready to be professionally printed.
    • CMYK, 3.5” x 2”, 2-sided; built in InDesign or Illustrator
    • Include your: Custom Business Logo, Company Name, Your Name, Your Title (optional), Email, Phone Number(s), URLs to externally-hosted sites (optional), List of Main Services (optional), Marketing Message/Copy (optional)
    • Submit as HiRes PDF (300 ppi, no marks) in Blackboard
  • Professional Business Flyer (Option 1) – properly designed and ready to be printed. Meant to promote your business.
    • CMYK, 8.5” x 11”, 2-sided; built in InDesign
    • Include your: Custom Business Logo, Company Name, Email, Phone Number, URLs to externally-hosted sites (optional), List of Main Services, Marketing Message/Copy (optional)
    • Provide link in business website to downloadable PDF
    • Submit as HiRes PDF (300 ppi, no marks) in Blackboard
  • Professional Business Postcard (Option 2) – properly designed and ready to be printed. Meant to promote your business.
    • CMYK, 8.5” x 6”, 2-sided; built in InDesign
    • Include your: Custom Business Logo, Company Name, Email, Phone Number, URLs to externally-hosted sites (optional), List of Main Services, Marketing Message/Copy (optional)
    • Provide link in business website to downloadable PDF
    • Submit as HiRes PDF (300 ppi, no marks) in Blackboard
  • Professional List of Services – properly written, designed and ready for use. Meant to promote your business/services.
    • 8.5” x 11”; built in most appropriate application
    • Include your: Custom Business Logo, Company Name, Email, Phone Number, URLs to externally-hosted sites (optional), List of Main Services, Marketing Message/Copy (optional), Pricing (optional)
    • Provide link in business website to downloadable PDF
    • Submit as PDF in Blackboard
  • Professional Estimate/Quote Sheet – properly written, designed and ready for use.
    • 8.5” x 11”; built in most appropriate application
    • Include your: Custom Business Logo, Company Name, Email, Phone Number, URLs to externally-hosted sites (optional), List of Main Services, Marketing Message/Copy (optional)
    • Submit as PDF in Blackboard
  • Professional Contract – properly written, designed and ready for use. Meant to provide a legal agreement with clients for your professional services.
    • 8.5” x 11”; built in most appropriate application; find/use/write/customize your contract content so that it is something like this sample contract
    • Include your: Custom Business Logo, Company Name, Email, Phone Number, URLs to externally-hosted sites (optional)
    • Submit as PDF in Blackboard
  • Professional Invoice – properly written, designed and ready for use. Meant to bill clients for your professional services.
    • 8.5” x 11”; built in Excel
    • Include your: Custom Business Logo, Company Name, Email, Phone Number, URLs to externally-hosted sites (optional), Thank-You/Marketing Copy (optional)
    • Submit as PDF in Blackboard

2. Submit Your Complete Marketing Package

Use correct project DropBox in Blackboard. One submission allowed. Pre-test the links to be submitted in Blackboard for functionality and accuracy. Submit per individual instructions above.

For this project you will (simultaneously) submit links to:

  • Professional Resume
  • Professional Business Card
  • Professional Business Flyer (Option 1 of 2)
  • Professional Business Postcard (Option 2 of 2)
  • Professional List of Services
  • Professional Estimate/Quote Sheet
  • Professional Contract
  • Professional Invoice



Business Preparation

The design market is highly competitive. In order to be taken seriously you should confirm/consider that your:

  • Professional Printer(s) are researched/selected for your print projects; accounts may need to be established. Some online recommendations: GotPrint.net | VistaPrint.com | GRPrint
  • Project Estimating System is set up and ready for business use
  • Project Invoicing/Billing System is set up and ready for business use
  • Professional Mindset is properly adjusted and ready for business use. Embrace your career reality… potential clients or employers are everywhere!


Career Survival Preparation

Consider that:

  • An open mind learns to recognize opportunities
  • Nearly everyone can use your services
  • Some classmates may become colleagues, do not burn bridges
  • Professional Networking is everywhere and must be used
  • Everyone you meet could one day become a client
  • Treat everyone and your time professionally
  • Learning how to sell confidently (and constantly) is a valuable, lifelong skill because:
    • If you work for yourself, you’ll be constantly selling your services to clients…
    • If you work for an employer, you’ll be constantly selling your services to a supervisor…
    • If you are looking for a client, or an employer, you’ll be constantly selling yourself and your services…

Keep in mind:

  • Recognition and marketing is a numbers game; seek maximum exposure (always)
  • Become a constant self-promoter; without being obnoxious
  • Find and use as many quality resources, tools, leads as you can manage; always look for better ways to produce
  • Seek to simplify (everything: life, work, processes)
  • Keep things in perspective; everything can be improved
  • Make mistakes fast; fix them faster
  • Learn from every mistake; value the lesson
  • Avoid scope creep; learn to estimate projects well
  • Avoid exploitation; pro bono projects must also be monitored
  • Always keep accurate records (any/all kinds)
  • Maintain more than one revenue stream at first; freelancing can be financially unpredictable (feast or famine)
  • Monitor your money; save for the unavoidable lean times
  • Know your market value; price accordingly; value fairness
  • Spoil your clients with service and reliability
  • Best approach: Under-promise and Over-deliver
  • Always deliver on time, for the negotiated price
  • Always deliver the highest quality you can produce (profitably)
  • Clients will always come and go; have your next one(s) lined up and ready
  • Professional Growth is ongoing; Training can never stop
  • Always have a current project that tests your skills; paid or otherwise
  • Every tool/technique you’ve learned is going to change, eventually
  • Stay current on changing design trends and technologies
  • Stay competitive; evolve and learn constantly… or seek other work
  • This is just the beginning of an interesting career…