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Building Design Portfolios by Sara Eisenman

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How do you define a nontraditional portfolio?
The most distinguishing feature is often an
unusual exterior—a record box, film can, or vin-
tage suitcase. But some nontraditional portfolios
don’t have a container at all, as you’ll see in this
chapter. The only time a nontraditional portfolio
is appropriate is when it fits the designer and
suits the design need. Don’t decide to be different
just for the sake of being different. The portfolio
should match the work, and never overpower or
upstage the design samples inside.
Nontraditional
Portfolios
/ Building Design Portfolios
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Louise Fili’s office is the perfect portfolio, because it’s
the best way to see her product designs. When you
open the door to Louise Fili Ltd, you’re greeted by
shelves of olive oil, wine, vinegar, cracker tins, and
original antique signs and toys. This parade of food
packaging, books, and restaurant signs continues into
Fili’s central office. If a client is willing to pay an office
visit, Fili says she is assured of getting the job.
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Christian Steurer
Designer Christian Steurer has worked all over
Germany, and in 2001, he printed a newspaper to show
his work and write about his personal habits, weaknesses
of character, and political thoughts, among other
things. The opening pages feature the answers to 250
questions that the designer posed to important associ-
ates and family members. As one might expect, the
answers reveal a great deal about Steurer.
Though he had no intention of going into newspaper
design, the format gave Steurer a way to communicate
quickly, simply, and effectively thoughts about his work.
As an original design solution, it offered him an edge
with employers by allowing his work to stand apart from
other designers. He mailed them as newspapers, rolled
and sealed with a special sticker that read, “Good
designers make trouble.”
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Job no:70268 Title : RP- Building Design Portfolios Client : Pro-Vision
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175 Size : 171.45(w)254(h)mm Co : M1 C0 O/P: CTP
Dept : DTP D/O : 26.01.06 (Job no:70268.C1 D/O : 08.02.06 Co: CM8)
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The newspaper is printed in offset, in a print run of 600.
The colors are black and a fluorescent green on 60 gsm
(grams per square meter) paper. As a portfolio, it is
unique, well designed, and original.
p143
The reaction to Steurer’s portfolio was quite positive.
Designers from Hamburg, Berlin, and Munich contact-
ed him to talk about design propositions. In addition,
the exercise gave him an overview of his work during
his first five years as a freelancer. The portfolio also
helped him land his current job at Fuenfwerken Design.
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Erin Diebboll
Cooper Union graduate Erin Diebboll’s clever sculp-
tural portfolio features a spinning wheel that brings
images into view in windows with the following
headings: input, interior, exterior, and output. The
designer wanted viewers to review her process in
relation to the finished art. Input is the problem as it
is presented to the artist, interior shows the artist
contemplating the problem visually, exterior
is the description of the final artwork, and output is
the artwork itself.
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Job no:70268 Title : RP- Building Design Portfolios Client : Pro-Vision
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Dept : DTP D/O : 26.01.06 (Job no:70268.C1 D/O : 08.02.06 Co: CM8)
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