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Building Design Portfolios by Sara Eisenman

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Job no:70268 Title : RP- Building Design Portfolios Client : Pro-Vision
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/ Building Design Portfolios
cold calls
Job Hunting
A phone call, rather than an email, is still the proper method of contacting a potential employer or
client to drum up freelance work or an interview. Creative directors have busy schedules, and tracking
down designers who are away or busy can be frustrating and a waste of time. Knowing a freelance
designer is free and available for new work can be just what they need, so do not hesitate to make a
call to let them know. Ask an art director what time of year is best to call, and be persistent without
nagging or calling too often. Also, freelance designers can and should ask whether the art director
prefers to receive calls or mailers as follow-up reminders. Giving the client a choice is perfectly reason-
able and often appreciated.
Before picking up the phone, be sure to do your homework first. Here are some guidelines to help you
make a good first impression:
Compile a list of art directors or companies.
There are many sources to find this type of
information, including:
Design magazines
Magazine mastheads
Company websites
Literary Marketplace (LMP), a reference
book that lists the names and contact infor-
mation for art directors at publishing houses
throughout the United States, and the
International Literary Marketplace, which
lists publishers outside of the United States.
Design organizations can be found
on the International Council of Graphic
Design Association’s website,
www.icograda.org. Icograda is the profess-
ional world body for graphic design and
visual communication.
Faculty lists from design school websites
Advertising annuals (Clio, Art Directors
Club, Hatch, Summit Creative Awards),
ADDY (American Advertising Federation),
and BTAA (British Television Advertising
Award)
Grammy Awards and the various video
music awards will provide contacts in the
music industry.
Find out the name of the person with whom
you should be speaking and ask for them
specifically. Knowing the correct person to
speak with shows your attention to detail
and illustrates your level of interest in the job.
Mentioning an art director’s recent projects
or awards can be flattering and will illustrate
your level of interest in the job.
Use a reliable landline phone, rather than a
cell phone or cordless phone, if possible.
Present your name first before addressing
the person you are contacting.
Keep the conversation polite, brief, and
on track.
Do not answer call waiting, and never put
the art director or creative director on hold.
Ask if the art director sees portfolios and try
to set up an appointment where you can
present your work in person. If this is not
possible, but they have a drop-off day
when you can leave your portfolio for view-
ing, this is your next best option. Drop-offs
are not ideal because there is no way to
ensure the art director will review your
work or for you to gauge his or her
reaction to it.
Many art directors prefer to see design
samples in advance of a portfolio, so be
prepared to provide the following: PDFs by
email, a URL of a website where your work
is posted, or print samples by regular mail.
If an art director does not want to see you or
your samples, ask if there is a better time in
the year to call back, and bring the conversa-
tion to an amicable close. It is reasonable to
try back a year later, so use a file or notebook
during a job search to keep track of who you
spoke with, when you spoke, any important
details in the conversation, and his or her
contact information.
Portfolios_046_085_M1 25/1/06 10:18 AM Page 46

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