Regardless if you’re fresh out of school or a 14 year veteran, it’s never too late to update your portfolio to today’s standards. The University of Cincinnati’s Class of 2012 released a highly-informative book for those looking to hit ‘refresh’ on their holy grail of work samples. This downloadable PDF (also available in hardcover) is perhaps the single best piece of literature available today that describes the best and easiest way to go about flashing your goods–in an industry that often overlooks graphic design and page layout elements. The best part? It’s (almost) free!

Whichever teacher(s) thought of this as a project for the Class of 2012 is friggin’ brilliant. The information presented is vital for any budding designer or engineer and the problem statement is dead-on: “How can we condense all of this scattered information into a quick and easy-to-read book with a playful and organized feel?

Tens if not hundreds of design-related books may show elements of a design process, but none show them in the context of how a portfolio should be composed:

With playful characters lightening the mood and interviews with relevant designers among others, the book is extremely well-rounded in context to today’s standards for getting in the door. The book starts out with survey results highlighting the most vital skills that employers consider in a new candidate, as well as tips for organizing and deciphering which work to actually put in your portfolio.

While many professionals may consider themselves ‘good to go’ with the majority of material described in the book, I would almost consider it a ‘Cliff Notes’ of sorts to review before heading in to do the portfolio refresh. Additionally, the book covers exporting techniques and saving for multiple methods of delivery—something I see even the most seasoned of designers failing to properly execute. Ultimately, this book is the perfect companion for cranking portfolio development into sixth gear and screaming around the track into your next career move. Worth taking a peek!

Download available at (donation suggested)


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.