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Building Design Portfolios by Sara Eisenman

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“The magazine box intuitively communicates the printed
materials it holds,” says I.D. art director Kobi Benezri
about his portfolio. “My hope is that it invites the viewer
to interact with the portfolio as he might his own book-
shelf, picking up pieces one at a time and judging them
on their own merits.”
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ABOVE
Benezri sees distinct advantages with all print portfolios. “There’s nothing like the
real thing,” he says. “When a client asks to see my work, I prefer to give him actual
completed pieces. To handle graphic-design collateral is to understand it as a three-
dimensional experience as well as a two-dimensional visual statement.”
OPPOSITE
Benezri’s solution also solved spatial problems. The magazines are substantially
larger than his small bound school portfolio and, in addition, he planned to include
a beautiful dummy currently being designed for a book on Frank Lloyd Wright. The
magazine box accommodates all the pieces neatly, despite their different shapes and
is perfectly appropriate for a designer who is primarily a magazine art director. For
students, however, using a magazine box as portfolio could be too narrowly targeted.
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Modern Dog is an irreverent and highly successful
design group from Seattle. The firm’s portfolio arrives
unassembled in a FedEx box (above). A CD containing
poster work, stills of old TV shows, CD designs for Lou
Reed and the Pretenders, as well as gum packages, lip
gloss, playing cards, a T-shirt, sheets of play stamps,
and various books of logos and designs spilled out of
the FedEx box (above and top). The effect is both outra-
geous and compelling.
ABOVE
Modern Dog created this custom-made portfolio for
Adidas. In fact, custom-made, targeted promotional
books, according to cofounder Robynne Raye, are
the studio’s single most successful means of attrac-
ting clients.
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When describing her tin box portfolios from Africa, Robin Lynch says they are “made
from cut-up coffee cans and lined in comics. When I need to present, I go shopping
in my samples. Over the years, I have bought subcontainers to both homogenize and
reign in the experience for the recipient. Sometimes, I include an annotated inventory.”
This approach offers her great flexibility in customizing presentations, which has
been important for her practice, given its wide variety of clientele.
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