February 25, 2022

15 Best Portfolio Design Books

15 Best Portfolio Design Books

15 Best Portfolio Design Books

A portfolio is a digital space or print space where you showcase your work to get hired, placement, or the next projects. The inspiration to create a portfolio is endless including books. If you prefer to hold a physical book that you could carry around and take your time while flipping through each page with admiration, these 15 Best Portfolio Design Books could inspire you to create the kind of portfolio that you want.

1: The  Graphic Designer’s Guide to Portfolio Design

Chapters include:

  • Tailor the Portfolio to Your Area of Specialization
  • Career Development Checklist
  • Designing Your Self-Promotional Package
  • Portfolios for Different Design Disciplines
  • Building Your Brand Identity

Review on Amazon by Sam:

“Smart, practical advice for designers who want to maximize their impact in the job market. Graphic Design has become a very competitive field so it is essential that you market your talents wisely. While the book is geared to the graphics design professional, the solid advice on marketing applies to anyone in the visual arts field. Recommended."

2: Design: Portfolio: Self-promotion at its best 

Chapters include portfolio examples by :

  • Yurko Gutsulyak
  • Justin Speers
  • Lorenzo Petrantoni
  • Thomas Printers
  • Alex Trochut

Review on Amazon by James Thomas:

“Anyone serious about design should have this book in their collection. Awesome work by gifted designers. The best way to become a stronger designer is to be immersed in the work of strong designers, and this book delivers.”

3: That Portfolio Book

Chapters include:

  • The qualities of an effective portfolio
  • Common mistakes in portfolios
  • Common misconceptions of portfolios: True or False?
  • How to choose the projects you put in your portfolio
  • How to stand out, get noticed, and better your chances of landing that job

Review on Product Hunt by Bryanna Blackwell:

“This is such a need for creatives in the tech space. Thank you for putting in the time to create such a great resource!”

4: Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff they don't teach you in design school, but should

Chapters include:

  • Do What You Love; the Money Will Follow
  • I'm Not a Writer
  • It Is Never Too Late for a Better Idea
  • Filler Failures
  • Never Give Your Client Homework

Review on Barnes & Noble by Marc Siry:

“Do you want to supercharge your design career? Drop that Wacom pen and immediately pick up Burn Your Portfolio, and read it cover to cover. Michael Janda clearly outlines practical, actionable advice that will make your design business better, your clients happier, and your teams more productive. Even if you’re a freelancer just striking out on your own—no, especially if you are—the insights, truisms, and humor in this book will prove to be valuable tools in your design arsenal.”

5: Building Design Portfolios: Innovative Concepts for Presenting Your Work

Chapters include:

  • PART I: The components of a great portfolio
  • PART II: Gallery of Portfolios
  • PART III:  Resources

Review on Amazon by Jehan Sandra Salem Bidondo:

I started reading it and I can say it keeps a fast pace and covers very well the details that might make the difference for your portfolio. I'm very concerned with building my portfolio and I think it already made me feel confident on having the right information to get the job done in the most accurate way.”

6: Creating Your Digital Portfolio: The Essential Guide to Showcasing Your Design Work Online

Book Details:

  • A comprehensive manual to help graphic designers, illustrators, and other creative professionals create a digital portfolio; contains practical advice for getting work into a portable digital format ready to share on the web; discusses the thinking behind creating a portfolio, objectives, and communication strategy.

Review on Amazon by T.Johnson:

"This book is full of inspiration and so many great resources. It goes step by step to lead you to create a portfolio that potential clients or employers will respect. The process is full of planning and if you are a graphic designer you will enjoy the process. It also goes as far as providing professional sites where you can upload your portfolio to. I highly recommend this book if you have yet to create an online portfolio or if you would like some new ideas to your current one.”

7: Creating a Successful Graphic Design Portfolio

Chapters include:

  • How to photograph design work
  • Design Bootcamp: layouts, typography, and grids that work
  • Portfolio Clinic: Examples of good and bad portfolios with production notes and commentary from designers from a range of backgrounds and experiences.
  • Key factors to choosing your career path
  • My career path: traditional agency, digital agency, consultancy, design studio, in-house or startup

Review on Bloomsbury by Janet Fairbairn:

“This compelling collection of essays on what comes after one graduates with a degree in graphic design is told through numerous testimonials from recent graphic design graduates and professional designers. It offers numerous suggestions (helpful tips) on choosing a career path within a design, applying for a job, how to present a great portfolio, getting hired among others. An excellent book for any current graphic design student.”

8: How to Create a Portfolio & Get Hired Second Edition: A Guide for Graphic

Chapters include:

  • Making sense of the marketplace
  • Making yourself known in the marketplace
  • Research and Cold-calling
  • Presenting your portfolio digitally
  • Case Study

Review on Amazon by Janet CharliV:

“Chapters are well organized, the writing style is incredibly detailed but a nice comfortable read; no going back a few sentences because you have no idea what you just read moments! Images are a good size and of lovely quality. The print quality of the inside pages is beautiful.”

9: Winning Portfolios for Graphic Designers: Create Your Own Graphic Design Portfolio Online and in Print

Book Details:

  • This comprehensive guidebook presents hundreds of demonstrative color illustrations, lists of do's and don'ts, and a wealth of sound advice on how to create a portfolio that will get beginners their all-important first job at a design agency or studio. Each page of this book illustrates examples of effective portfolio design with captions that explain the thinking behind each design element.

Review on GoodReads by Daryl Mitz:

“I love how it covers a lot such as the size, material/medium, content and other attachments of an aesthetically pleasing and functional portfolio. This really helped me a lot with mine :)”.

10: No Plastic Sleeves: The Complete Portfolio and Self-Promotion Guide

Chapters include:

  • How to start: Describe yourself as a Creative.
  • Discovery: Reflect on your work, yourself, interests, and future.
  • Do you need a brand identity?
  • Brainstorming techniques
  • Creating Interplay and Image Relationships

Review on Amazon by M.V.W:

“Excellent resource. Has very detailed and practical suggestions on how to prepare the best design portfolios. Includes physical suggestions as well as information on editing and ordering images/projects.”

11: Designing a UX Portfolio: A Practical Guide for Designers, Researchers, Content Strategists, and Developers

(Currently unavailable, but be on the lookout!)

Chapters include:

  • Learn how to sell yourself effectively using a UX portfolio
  • Deal with issues such as a lack of work experience, non-disclosure agreements, and problem projects
  • Use UX portfolios to eliminate misunderstanding over what UX design is and isn't
  • Identify the best talent for interview by learning how to review UX portfolios

Review on GoodReads by Kimyunalesca:

I like that every chapter ends with a summary. I like how it’s broken down into series of steps/the process.”

12: Stand Out: Design a Personal Brand, Build a Killer Portfolio, Find a Great Design Job

Chapters include:

  • Portfolio Trends and Strategies
  • Choosing a Mentor and Advisory Board
  • Learning How to Present Your Work
  • Portfolio production
  • Choosing a portfolio type

Review on Amazon by Robin Landa:

"Anderson's guide to building your portfolio and developing your personal brand is outstanding. You will find practical information about how to build a portfolio that best represents your thinking, personal point of view, and design essence. This book is a comprehensive guide written in a very friendly voice as if Anderson were your personal portfolio trainer.”

13: Constructing the Persuasive Portfolio: The Only Primer You’ll Ever Need

Chapters include:

  • The Work before the work
  • Designing the portfolio systems
  • Designing the graphic layout
  • Determine Portfolio format
  • Case studies

Review on by Nigel Smith:

"Margaret Fletcher’s Constructing the Persuasive Portfolio is a truly impressive and comprehensive guide and checklist. This book takes you through the full process of creating portfolios – from the early planning, strategies, initiation, and concept development to content, design, and production. The fulsome detail and demonstrable examples make this an indispensable tool."

14: BREAKING IN: Over 100 Product Designers Reveal How to Build a Portfolio That Will Get You Hired Paperback

Chapters include:

  • Get specific advice from the exact people you want to work for. 
  • Learn what Creative Directors are looking for in your portfolio. 
  • Avoid the common traps that most portfolios fall into. 
  • Contains interviews with design experts

Review on Amazon by Alex:

“The interviews from design greats like Gadi Amit and Chris Bangle have so many tidbits for product designers and design admirers to use as they build their portfolio and career. Each interview is worth taking in and considering rather than rushing through each one. Breaking In is the perfect book to have by your desk to peek into when a moment of inspiration is needed. This much access to the thoughts of so many world-class designers is incredible.”

15: The Type Project Book: Typographic projects to sharpen your creative skills & diversify your portfolio

Chapters include:

  • Gift or Product Guide: Between structure and chaos
  • Type Patterns and Transformations: What letters do when they’re off duty
  • Interpret a Word or Phrase: Use a twist to enhance the meaning
  • Color Fonts: Explore the possibilities of chromatic type
  • Icons: Turn symbols into a working picture font

Review on Amazon by Bart Noir:

"At any level, this is a fine guide to the aesthetics and technical aspects of quality design work mixing text and graphics. The authors draw from their own extensive portfolios as well as classic examples of radical broadsides, album art, and advertising to illustrate what goes into making an effective visual statement.”

Read here on Creating a good UX Research Portfolio and the 3 common mistakes junior designers make on their portfolios.

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