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New Blood: By the Book

in collaboration with Squarespace

We’ve teamed up with Squarespace, the leading all-in-one website building platform, on a video series to help make your portfolio sing and to help you sell it. We’ve spoken to the industry’s top creatives on these 5 key topics: Branding, Art Direction, Copywriting, UX and Selling yourself.

Once you’ve tuned in to our series and developed what it is that defines you as a creative, head over to Squarespace to build your online portfolio. Here's a handy 10% off promo code to get you started: DANDAD2019

Episode 1 - How to brand your online portfolio with Casey Bird

Casey Bird has spent the last 10 years moulding a personal brand as a purpose-driven creative. With both 9-5 and freelance experience, Casey knows her stuff. Here, she shares top tips on how to build your own personal brand, and taking those all-important first career steps.

Below we’ve listed a handy checklist, to help you focus in on what you need:

  • Think about what it is that defines you as a creative – what you do, your mission and your passion projects.
  • Create an ‘About me’ section on your website that captures your personal brand in a single statement.
  • Select an online portfolio template that reflects your personality and style.
  • Personalise your domain name with something professional and memorable.
  • Customise your website’s favicon design to align the website’s look and feel with your personal brand.
  • Adapt your personal brand statement and add it to your social media profiles to ensure that you are consistent across your entire online presence.
  • Attend networking events to practice how you deliver your personal brand in real life.
  • Connect with people and prospective employers who align with your personal brand and that will lead to relevant opportunities.

Episode 2 - How to art direct your online portfolio with Mark Bonner

Let’s talk Art Direction perfection. D&AD’s Award Winning Ambassador, Mark Bonner has seen countless portfolios in his professional career and is here to pass on his wisdom on how to showcase yourself effectively and win over prospective employers. Stand out from the crowd, and present your online portfolio in the best light.

Below we’ve listed a handy checklist, to help you focus in on what you need:

  • Select the type of work to include based on your intended audience.
  • Modify and adapt your online portfolio depending on who you’re sharing it with.
  • Refine the order of work in your online portfolio by starting with the most impactful pieces, expose your process and variation to your work whilst ensuring you maintain consistency.
  • Differentiate yourself by selecting and adapting online portfolio templates to suit you.
  • Lastly, make sure that the resolution of all your imagery is top quality and any video or audio runs smoothly.

Episode 3 - How to write engaging copy for your portfolio with Kate Van der Borgh

Writing copy people actually want to read. Kate Van der Borgh is a renowned Copywriter whose worked for clients like Unilever, HSBC and Channel 4 on everything from tone of voice and messaging to reports and web copy. She is now freelance, which means pitching to potential clients. Kate shares her top tips for putting together your online portfolio, to help you make sure your writing is clear, impactful, and more likely to get you hired.

Time to craft engaging copy for your online portfolio site, follow these simple steps...

  • Avoid using buzzwords and describing things in abstract terms and instead focus on what you actually did.
  • Use the STAR model to help you outline the key parts to your process clearly.
  • Potential employers won’t have time to read through heavy copy so be concise and use the words that really matter.
  • Use the CV tool to share your experience but make sure to show some personality in your language too.

Episode 4 - How to make your portfolio stand out with creative UX

Christopher Ball has worked in digital design and user experience for almost 20 years for companies like BBC, Virgin Atlantic and Samsung. That means he’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to portfolios. He is here to share some encouraging advice on how to use the power of user experience to create an amazing online portfolio.

The User Experience of your portfolio site can make or break how your work lands with future employers so consider these golden rules:

  • Be clear about your audience and identify the type of questions that your user will have when they land on your site.
  • User Experience is all about the art of storytelling, so craft an elegant journey that tells a story about you as a creative.
  • Organise your portfolio site into two simple sections - About you & Your work.
  • Pay attention to the navigation features and ensure that your user can easily find their way between the pages of your portfolio and back to you About section or Home page.
  • Choose impactful templates that are fully responsive for both mobile and desktop to showcase your work.

Episode 5 - How to promote yourself and your portfolio with Mahaneela

Don’t sell yourself short. Sell yourself like this. Mahaneela is a multi-disciplined creative with many hats including: photographer, director, music manager, creative consultant, DJ, event producer and storyteller. As a young entrepreneur, Mahaneela has been able to unlock the codes to communicating yourself effectively to prospective clients and employers. Here she shares some of her key pieces of advice on how to promote yourself in the best light.

When considering promotion for your own online portfolio, remember the following:

  • Nail down the ‘line’ you tell about yourself that summarises your focus.
  • Practice talking about yourself, your skills and your interests to gain confidence.
  • As a starting point, ask a friend to describe what you do from their perspective. 
  • Decide where you see yourself within the industry and build on the skills you need to achieve your goals.
  • Pursue your side hustle to gain extra experience and build up contacts.

Open call for online Squarespace portfolios

4,000 industry professionals visit the Festival, looking to recruit new creators just like you. They are leading advertising agencies, design groups and brands. If you entered your portfolio in our open call you will have the opportunity to be featured at the New Blood Festival 2019 and online.


Our experts from this video series along with Squarespace are selecting their highlights to be exhibited digitally at the Squarespace showcase at the festival.

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