I'm creating a physical portfolio for an interview. I've bought a portfolio binder/case. I was wondering on what kind of paper should I take the print outs of my work? For example, would it be fine if I used the regular paper? Like an A4 size or should I use a matte or glossed paper for my work? My work includes posters, brochures, business cards etc.

3 Answers 3


If your work consists of posters, brochures, business cards that were produced and used, then you should have the paper quality that the client got. Basically you should have in your portfolio some examples of stuff you have done.

If you only have your work digitally, I would simply go for the best paper possible, the most expensive and/or best fitted to the design.

Ie. I would use a variety of paper qualities, and I would stay well away from 80g printer paper.

I would go for variety. Glossed, matte, textured, cream coloured, pure white, torn edges, 200g etc etc where appropriate.

I would not use the same paper quality for all the stuff: that will only look hastily thrown together, or that you have no idea about paper.

The point is to get your work to look its best, and to that end, use all possible means.


Oh, and if you have posters, then bring posters. Print out as large as possible, get it plotted professionally, even. Arriving with a physical portfolio is a must. A few rolls under your arm I would say is a plus.


I was wondering on what kind of paper should I take the print outs of my work?

The kind of paper depends on what you are printing. If you are printing stationary then actually get it printed the card stock they recommend. If you are printing brochures then actually get the printer to fold it for you. Actual demos of your portfolio work gives a better representation of what you can do and be prepared because sometimes they will take out your work for closer review. If either matte or gloss would depend on the design you are printing. Example: You normally wouldnt print a vintage brochure design on gloss card stock.

For example, would it be fine if I used the regular paper? Like an A4 size or should I use a matte or glossed paper for my work?

I wouldn't use a paper thin card stock like 20lb as stated above. Some interviews I have been on they like to take out the design and look at the detail and the more people browse back and forth in your portfolio it will damage the paper with wrinkles. So you would be better with a stock of 80lb.-120lb.

My work includes posters, brochures, business cards etc.

As stated above get your work in a finished state but for posters get them printed to the size of your portfolio one per page, with a decent white border, so they can get a professional feel for it. Be prepared to spend some time on this. I spent three hours one night at a Kinkos and around fifty dollars to get my portfolio printed but when it was done it was right. Id have to say one hour of that was getting them to print the brochures correctly and fold them correctly because they were double sided. He hated me but I was paying to make sure it was correct. Another tip dont overload your portfolio with more than 10-15 pieces of your best work. I was hesitant of printing logos but I didn't print more than 2 pages worth of 6 on each page like this:


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Some other tips:

  • Review what the company does in detail because some will flat out say: "so you know what we do?".
  • They make specific types of prints or work then have a majority of that in your portfolio.
  • If you are not happy with a piece then don't include it.
  • Be prepared to defend and explain why you did X in a design.
  • Be prepared to be critiqued for doing something in a design BUT don't get defensive and tailor it as a learning tool. You will get more respect then acting like a no-it all walking in the interview and you will leave with a better representation of who you are then a jerk a-hole that thinks he's god's gift to designers.
  • Always, always, and always counter with questions in the interview process. You will be surprised at how many judge based on your attempt of interest. If you walk in with blah, heres my work hire me, later, then they will git the impression you aren't looking for a career or start but its just a regular job.
  • Whatever you do be honest.
  • and again don't go in their cocky thinking you are high and mighty.
  • Those other tips are helpful in just about any industry and are general good interview tips :)
    – Hanna
    Jan 27, 2014 at 16:08

Another opinion:

Do what makes sense to you. The key is that your work looks as good as you can make it.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the big portfolios with work mounted on matte board anymore. From a designer's perspective, they are expensive, time consuming, and a bit of a pain to lug around. From an interviewee's perspective, they are cumbersome. These days, I much prefer an iPad slide show. That said, there are advantages to having work that is printed as it's nice to sit with something physical in an interview.

The method I've adopted is to simply use a color laser printer. Standard 8.5x11 printouts based on a template, then bound with some fancy binding system or the like and a nice cover on the top.

The advantages (to me) of this system are:

  • relatively cheap. I can easily leave it behind after the interview.
  • extremely versatile. When going to an interview, I can grab only the work I feel is pertinent for that interview, bind it, and done!
  • The binding system, if removable, makes it really easy to pass out individual pieces in a group interview setting.

In the end, you want all the focus to be on your work--not what the work is presented in.

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