4.7 International Portfolio and How to Share
More and more young Europeans are choosing to work in the cultural and creative sector and face problems such as the prevalence of project-based employment, lack of permanent contracts and part-time work, but also a wide range of digital, traditional, cross-cutting and specialised skills, due to the specificities of the creative sectors. The level of competition on the art market or in the creative sector makes the portfolio a tool of considerable importance: ‘to be or not to be’ is often true for an artist. The content of the portfolio should, on the one hand, be impressive and interesting; on the other hand, it should make the viewer/client want to get to know your work better (or maybe even you), commission you to make a project, invite you to participate in a concert, etc. For more information about the components which should form your portfolio, go to 🡪 Building the Portfolio at the International Level; here are a few additional hints:
- prepare a portfolio in several, somewhat ‘personalised’ versions for clients (galleries, institutions, individual clients, etc.), easy to send e.g. in .pdf format;
- focus on the quality of your work, not its quantity;
- do not be afraid of diversity: you can present your works of various kinds, but keeping in mind the principle that the whole should blend together well and sensibly into a coherent whole that identifies the character of your work;
- pay attention to the quality of all graphic elements used in the portfolio (especially those that are not your work), and if you do not have such skills, preparing the portfolio you can use professionals who will develop your portfolio graphically, build your website, etc. Everything that is on the web is very important for the reception of your works and yourself, and the style attracts specific audience groups;
- we have already written about updating the portfolio, but it is never too much to remind about it, so update your portfolio;
- we have also written about the clear structure of the portfolio, but it is worth adding that if your portfolio has grown to be large, maybe you should add a table of contents (menu) which will make it easier for users to find the information they care about the most;
- in addition to the work you should devote some time to the text (key words). Not only for potential readers, but also for search engines; and
- remember also about responsive web design when creating your portfolio, i.e. so that its appearance adapts to the screen size of the device on which the page is displayed.
Considering an international career or developing your creative business outside of local or national markets, you should think not only about preparing your online portfolio (you can use a number of platforms where you can develop your website for free), but also about being on a number of websites and platforms and linking your portfolio to them. Of course, remember about the English language version or the one that will be adequate to the market in which you plan to operate.
The fastest and easiest way is to create your portfolio using portals specially designed for this purpose (they are mostly blog sites, but they differ quite a lot from one another, so it is worth considering which one will be the best to create your portfolio); here are a few examples:
- wix.com: it offers a variety of different layouts, and each can be easily edited and changed in all details, which allows you to personalise and customise your portfolio to meet your individual needs. The basic package is free of charge, but it is worth investing a small amount of money to eliminate ads and personalise your domain address (the free version always includes wix.com);
- carbonmade.com:: portfolio building principles similar to the previous ones, but the basic (free) version has a limit of images;
- tumblr:/pineterest/instagram: discussed as one because they all follow similar principles; their advantages are ease of use and popularity, and their disadvantage is difficulty to personalise their appearance;
- Portfolio.adobe.com: a platform developed by Adobe;
To make your portfolio more attractive, you should think about using e.g. mock-ups which you can easily found in the web (and free of charge). (Professional mock-ups are usually prepared in Photoshop.) They allow you to visualise the projects so that they are as real as possible, illustrate and emphasise their physicality and give the impression of realism.
Remember not to post high-resolution files in your online portfolio because on the one hand it prevents the theft of the images (additionally, it is good to mark them with some kind of a symbol, an original mark identifying the image; on the other hand, you will ensure the speed of loading the site, which is not without significance in the era of users’ lack of time and patience. Musicians have to consider whether to upload full songs or their excerpts only.
As mentioned above, expanding into international markets you should consider creating your profile on websites dedicated to the presentation of artists and creators (often defined by sector). However, in such a case you need to remember not to create too many profiles because in the end you will not be able to update them regularly and they will serve the purpose which is contradictory to what was intended. Or you will spend all your time on updating profiles instead of creating. A few examples of such places in the web, which are worth considering:
- soundcloud.com : one of the biggest and fastest sources of getting to know new artists and sounds; a direct platform where a song is available for listening, reposting and sharing immediately, considered at present to be one of the fastest and most fashionable sources of searching for young, independent artists;
- youtube.com or vimeo.com: they do not have to be introduced to anyone;
- behance.net : very popular among graphic designers, operated by Adobe. The principle of the site is simple: everyone can create their own profile, add their own projects and present them to a wide audience of graphic designers, and the idea of the site is to be inspired by the work of others (recently developers have introduced additional paid options for searching for talented people, dedicated to companies looking for employees; there is also a Jobs tab, so you can use the site in job search). It is worth knowing that the Pro version of the site also provides the possibility to create your own personalised portfolio;
- dribbble.com : a website that allows you to add your works only after an invitation received from a registered and active user; but it also stands out for its open and helpful community. The website also offers adding and searching for jobs;
- logopond.com : a site with a limited theme (logos), but very interesting, very open to new users;
- bandcamp.com , www.deezer.com ,: a strimming platform; it is also worth visiting Apple Music, MixCloud, iTunes or Spotify;
- artstation.com : a website for game designers, drawing, matte painting and 3D enthusiasts, where you can find a lot of inspiring projects and add your own and receive comments and practise your technique;
- Hype Machine (hypem.com): it is one of the biggest and most popular collections of music blogs, which downloads songs published on the website and compiles rankings of new songs in different categories on their basis; it is a solution valued by musicians all over the world, and to be there is also a large honour for the authors. The site is particularly useful for artists creating in English who want to reach a wide audience. The website is regularly visited by musicians and columnists and has built an active community.
Another place where it is worth visiting and presenting your work is online galleries; it is also worth taking part in competitions, submitting your projects and works to various websites creating lists of the most interesting projects or project rankings, such as abduzeedo.com, awwwards.com or cssdesignawards.com. Other forms of reaching clients with your art, which are worth considering, are sale, e.g. through artbizsuccess.com, artsyshark.com, society6.com, artfinder.com or saatchiart.com. (It is worth remembering that online music sales in 2015 were for the first time higher than in more traditional forms.)