Art in Print – 5 of the Most Impressive Graphic Design Portfolios


The slightly depressing look of a standard “faux leather” ring-binder case!

Do you remember the days of those black “faux leather” ring-binder portfolio cases with the shiny plastic sleeves? They became so common and so run-of-the-mill that serious creatives just stopped using them. The reason why they became so unpopular is because graphic design portfolios have to stand out to impress and the black portfolios just didn’t cut it anymore.  Nowadays, the black portfolio sample case has largely been replaced by a smart digital alternative. For many designers, presenting work is as easy as slinging a tablet in a bag! But is the smart digital device becoming  the modern equivalent of the black “faux leather” portfolio case? Are people already getting bored of seeing this presentation format?

I would argue that if you are only using digital platforms to present your work samples, you are selling yourself and your work short.  In a highly competitive industry, you have to distance yourself from the rest of the field in any way you can. The best way of doing this is by presenting the unexpected and doing something different.

The following graphic design portfolios and work samples are all excellent examples of what can be achieved when you put the effort into doing something imaginative and “cool” with your portfolio presentation. These print portfolios show work, design commitment, and serious creativity. These are portfolios to impress:

1. Nathan Hinz 

portfolio prints

US designer Nathan Hinz went uber-crafty on his print portfolio to create something of stand out quality. Each page is a project envelope that contains printed examples of his work that the viewer can pull out and share. The whole thing is ingenious and looks like a super expensive custom-bound item. You wouldn’t know it, but the spine is bound with duct tape!

This portfolio is a perfect reflection of the creativity and conceptual thinking of the designer who made it.


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2. Emre Ozbek


There’s nothing complicated about Turkish designer, Emre Ozbek’s print portfolio but there’s something absolutely brilliant about the execution of this booklet he created to display his stunning design work. His typography and composition is sublime. It just shows you what can be achieved through a simple booklet that has been custom-printed with your own artwork and design.

On a further note, if you work primarily in print then it’s important that you utilize this medium to show what you can do.


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3. Mario Gutierrez


This is another example of a do-it-yourself portfolio.  Mario Gutierrez bound his work himself and created an actual book to present. After printing out a series of booklets that displayed his work, he gathered them together and bound them himself. The results are amazing and his portfolio looks like it was expensively bound. More importantly,  it represents his creativity, resourcefulness, and skill as a designer.

What a fantastic talking point in interviews and meetings – to tell the viewer that this was something you designed and bound yourself!


Here’s how he did it: 


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4. Carlos Robledo


This highly personal portfolio by Carlos Robledo is a triumph of subtle design.  It’s cleverly split into sections that describe his experience and interests, his print work, and his branding design. All the sections are held in a manila box and are separately defined by different manila hues. The whole piece is so elegant and considered. The accuracy and attention to detail in the portfolio design is something that is mirrored in his portfolio work.

You can communicate a great deal to your viewer about yourself  in the choices you make for your print portfolio.


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5. Ethan Davis


San Fransisco designer, Ethan Davis has created a magazine-style portfolio to showcase his work. Filled with his own unique personality and exceptional design work, the large format style of his portfolio is a fascinating read that shows both his design style and his conceptual thinking.

A simple booklet print can be elevated to something artistic and visually compelling with the right content and design.


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