Creating a Print Portfolio - The Design, Part 2

Today we will examine the remaining high-level goals I identified in the initial concept for my print portfolio. The remaining goals are as follows.

  •  Provide for the ability to easily update or replace prints
  •  Be easy to view without having to be at a desk

Providing for the ability to easily update or replace prints in my portfolio is crucial. I want a portfolio that is flexible and able to show work that caters to a specific audience. Showing landscape prints to someone interested in fine art still life images is not going to sell my still life work. Also, as new portfolio prints become available, I want to replace any potentially weaker prints with new ones. This keeps my portfolio fresh and up to date with my strongest work.

Having the ability to reorganize the portfolio eliminates the thought of printing my portfolio as a book, which is a popular option for some photographers. Thinking ahead, the easiest method for replacing prints is to put the print in a sleeve that fits into a binder system. However, I previously decided not to use sleeves or covers over the prints. This is a classic example of conflicts that arise when setting design goals. In this case, the desire to easily replace images could potentially conflict with my desire to show my work without interference. If this conflict cannot be rectified, I will have to choose which design goal is the most important.

Having a portfolio that is easy to view without having to be at desk directly effects the size of the portfolio. Large prints are stunning but imagine handing a 13" x 19" sized portfolio with forty prints to an art director that has just given you ten minutes of his or her time in the lobby. The portfolio would be large, unwieldy, and heavy and probably will not get the attention it deserves. I have decided to limit the portfolio size to 11" x 14" and since I never create a borderless print and use a standard margin of 1", the actual print size is always 9" x 12" or smaller. This is large enough to show fine detail, but not so large as to make the portfolio hard to view while holding it in your hands.

Combining these design goals with ones from our previous list gives us the following list.

  • Only monochrome prints
  • Display giclée or alternative prints
  • No plastic sleeves or covers
  • Allow prints to be reorganized and replaced, no book format
  • Portfolio size of 11" x 14"
  • Print size of 9" x 12" or smaller with 1" border

There are many more decisions to make, but this list gives me a good starting point. In the next article, we will look at how we are going to satisfy these goals.