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New Blood: By the Book

in collaboration with Squarespace

Learn all there is to know about building an outstanding creative portfolio with our industry experts who have highlighted their key tips for sharing your work.

Receive 50% off your first Squarespace purchase here.

D&AD and Squarespace present By the Book: Season Two

A must have for those of you putting together your portfolio and entering the industry for the first time.

This three-part video series is full of constructive advice on how to make your online portfolio stand out and showcase your best work in the most engaging way possible.

Three leading creatives across Art Direction, Illustration and Graphic Design will take you through the do's and don'ts of portfolio building, what projects to lead with, and how to showcase your wider talents and interests.

The 5 top tips at the end of each video are not to be missed.

Season 2: Episode 1 — Art Direction

Charlene Chandrasekaran, Creative Director at Droga5

Season 2: Episode 2 — Illustration

Donna Payne, Creative Director at Faber and Faber.

Season 2: Episode 3 — Graphic Design

Jacqui J Sze, Senior Creative at AKQA

Season 1: 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.

Season 1: 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.

Season 1: 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.

Season 1: 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.

Season 1: 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.

40 creative portfolios to inspire you

In 2019, our open call for entries with Squarespace enabled young creatives from across the world the opportunity for their work to be showcased at New Blood Festival. Our industry experts above helped to select the following 40 examples of unique portfolio websites using Squarespace to inspire you.