Portfolio Production & Defining Brands

and other notes from

No Plastic Sleeves: The complete portfolio guide for photographers and designers

Your Portfolio:

  • is a reflection of the best you have to offer

  • will stand out w/ consistent unified elements

  • shows evidence of your experience, skills, knowledge, creativity, innovation...

  • will get you the job or the clients whom you want to work with, and will position yourself within an industry

Brands and Concepts

  • Develop a brand statement: describing your unique abilities and creative vision, then...

    • develop a concept or theme that expresses your brand statement in visual and verbal means

    • Develop a unique book, website and materials will demonstrate your commitment and dedication to your profession

Brand is an attitude.

It’s a symbolic statement comprised of descriptive qualities...

that aim to express the heart and soul of an individual, company, or product.

The portfolio itself

  • The work itself is the focal point
    • every piece included is an example of your very best; rework projects if necessary
    • remove work that deviates from intended goals or audience
    • create work which will take you in the direction you want to go

  • Presentation and Craftsmanship
    • shows commitment and dedication to profession

  • Additional marketing materials
    • mailers, electronic mailings, leave-behind fliers, business cards…

Portfolio Essentials, by Mary Virginia Swanson

  • A clear brand identity that appears consistently through every element in every format
    • print
      • identity components
      • mailer
      • portfolio
    • Online
      • website, see resources
      • emailers
      • newsletter

“Simply, do good work!”

Define your brand

  • before developing a brand statement...
    • reflect on your future
    • reflect on yourself and interests
    • reflect on your work

(section 1 for week 4, section 2 & 3 for week 5)

  • and this: form a Brand Statement

(1 paragraph for week 5)

Brand Statement

  • A single statement that communicates quickly and succinctly your core values,positioning you to a particular industry or theme.

  • Goes beyond generic description and focuses on what makes you special

  • Try listing three to five descriptive words about yourself and the work you produce as a springboard for your statement

Brand Statement (contd.)

  • A personal brand statement is the basis for the development of a visual identity

  • Your brand statement will be used as a guide in the expression of your portfolio concept and design

I am a [state professional title (photographer, graphic designer, illustrator, etc.)] with strong (amazing, leading, etc.) skills in [list core skills] who is [list brand attributes (qualities)].”

  • Brand Statement writing assignment here

Style Guide

  • The look & feel of a brand; its sound, purpose, mission, what makes it unique

  • A visual aesthetic that represents you and effectively communicates across multiple forms and mediums

  • Your logo, colors, typefaces, the way margins are placed on the page…. any graphics used to visually communicate why your business is about.


Your Visual Identity

  • logo / icon
    • foursquare brand book
  • typeface the “look” communicates the “feel” of the message
  • color What color pallete best describes you?
    • https://kuler.adobe.com/create/color-wheel/
    • http://www.colourlovers.com
      • dominant color
      • subordinate color
      • accent color

Brand treatment examples: (adam must be logged in for these to work)

logo / icon

one image that best describes you


(w/ appropriate typeface)

h1, h2, p

color palette (dominant, sub, accent)

Brand Environments

Web / mobile

Print - two-sided postcard, matchbook, cd w/ sleeve, set of stickers, mailing campaign, letterhead…

Gallery Space

Retail Space

Trade Shows


Office Space

LivingBrand: http://www.jdk.com/living-brand


  • Create a Moodboard: a collection of found imagery that defines a particular concept, style, or overall “look and feel”.

  • Sketches & Word Associations

Seek Inspiration:

  • go to a museum or gallery

  • research the history of your style

  • connect with your contemporaries and other professionals

  • keep a sketchbook
Portfolio Production & Defining Brands -sp14 vcp279 - Google Slides