One of the things that I got most excited about in my beginning design days was the day I got to go and pick out my portfolio. I did my research, saved up and got the portfolio book of my dreams. Aluminum cover, screw-post bindings, and at a large 11×14, I thought it was pretty impressive. Of course in those days, my book was almost entirely comprised of print work. Makes sense, right? To show print design in printed form. The problem came a few years into my career, when my work started shifting to include an ever-expanding collection of website designs and banners. Since I wasn’t designing these things to be printed, did it make sense to print them out and stick them in my portfolio? Not really. Printouts of something designed at 72 dpi looks pretty lackluster on paper, so how was I going to show it?
I bought my iPad last year for the sole purpose of using it as my portfolio. It has proven itself as useful in countless other ways, but I love using it as a showcase of my work when meeting with clients. I can show print work, just like I always did in my printed portfolio, and now I have the added bonus of my web work looking great in meetings as well.
Another advantage of an iPad portfolio vs. a printed one is that you can save different versions of your portfolio to appeal to different types of clients. When I was putting together my old book, the one thing that I heard over and over again was to not show the same work to everyone. Its important to put together a custom experience for each interview or meeting. That’s absolutely true, but it was always such a cumbersome and tedious task to rearrange everything for each viewing. Most iPad portfolio apps allow you to drag and drop portfolio pieces in different orders, and save different versions. I have about 10 different variations of my portfolio that I show, ranging from “corporate websites” to “creative logos.” And if I run into a situation where none of my current versions is quite right, I will make a new one, and save that for future use as well.
The one caveat is that since the iPad doesn’t support Flash, I can’t show any of my animated web banners or several of my sites that use Flash elements. But since we are kind of getting away from Flash more and more, it is becoming less of a problem.
Do you have any experience using your iPad as a portfolio? Or do you prefer the traditional printed kind?