Every semester, students assemble a PDF version of their portfolio to print or email potential employers. I used to teach the basic features of Quark, then InDesign, just for this purpose. However, Adobe Illustrator’s relatively new capacity for multiple Artboards provides a much–appreciated alternative to learning a new application in order to accomplish this single, important task.
Taking Stock of Your Resources
Before starting, you should take stock of your resources. Resize and save all of your portfolio images into one folder. Maintaining consistent image sizes results in a continuous portfolio layout design. I recommend using a separate set of dimensions for horizontal and vertical images. Sometimes the smallest image size limits the dimensions within your portfolio. You can also stack images next to each other in order to use a larger amount of space on one page. Figure out how many pages you want to include in your portfolio and draw a general plan on paper. Some people recommend that portfolios only include your top ten pieces, while others encourage up to 20 images showing a diversity of samples. Most designers and employers will agree that you should put your best work and your second-best work on the first and last pages of your portfolio (though some reverse this order, where the second-best work is on page one, and the best piece is saved for last).