Design Portfolio Tips from Michael Rylander

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Every designer needs a portfolio. Fortunately, making and printing portfolios has gotten much easier and more economical with Blurb, the self-publishing platform of choice for creative professionals. Using Adobe InDesign, the tool designers know best, and Blurb, you can design a professional portfolio and have it printed in any quantity.

We looked to designer Michael Rylander (Apple, BMW, Lexus, Google) for three tips on portfolio design.

Design Portfolio Tips from Pro Michael Rylander

design portfolio

Details, details, details. The myth is that great designers and artists create masterpieces in an instant. But it rarely happens that quickly. The secret to any successful creative project—be it painting, writing or design—is obsessive attention to detail in the revision process. While the basic idea can come in a flash of inspiration, the real magic happens as the idea becomes more refined and better defined. Don’t shortchange the small stuff: tweaking font sizes, shifting colors, getting rid of red eye, etc. And don’t give up until you feel it’s perfect. The details are what will elevate your book design from the rest of the pack.

Proof, proof, proof. The sweet little secret about Blurb is that you can proof your book as many times as needed before publishing, for relatively little cost. In the old days of traditional publishing, each proof was wildly expensive, and it often took ages to turn around. With Blurb, I always build in several weeks to see proof books. There’s just no better way to improve your design than by holding the real thing in your hands.

Keep it simple. Unless you’re going for a scrapbook look, keep the basic design simple. Don’t go overboard with too many different fonts and page layouts. I prefer to let images and text provide diversity, while the basic design structure provides the reader with a consistent framework in which to view the material.


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