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Some clients and prospects want to be able to print out your work. Others want to save toner and look at it on a screen. Still others don't care what you do, as long as it doesn't crash their less-than-modern computers. How to cope?
The PDF portfolio is your answer. Adobe's Portable Document Format has been around for many years, can be read by virtually any computer, and allows the creator great flexibility in page layout and display. As the creator of this document, you control what the client sees and doesn't see. Your design niche and target market will dictate the style -- modern, traditional, cute, Goth, whatever.
Many professionals advocate a two- or three-page portfolio attached to an e-mail response to a job listing, with a promise of a more comprehensive version if needed. Even that version should be no more than 10 or 12 pages, with one project per page, displaying your best work and the relevant skills to meet the client's needs.
Creating this marketing tool is a lot of work. One of the side benefits, if you choose to accept it, is the opportunity to go through your past work and file it all in a thoughtful system. (Oh, and please, back up that hard drive, OK?)
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|