10 beautiful paper portfolios to inspire you

In this ever advancing digital age, there's something very special about a well put together paper portfolio, as these gorgeous examples show.

Sadly, paper portfolios appear to be a bit of a rarity these days. But, thankfully, there are many designers who still recognise the power of print. Done properly, a handheld, printed design portfolio can really make your work stand out and leave a long lasting impression.

Therefore, we scoured the web to find some brilliant examples of paper portfolios. Here are our 10 favourites...

01. Charlotte Allen

Charlotte Allen wanted a package that wouldn't end up in the bin

Feeling the need to stand out after finishing university, Charlotte Allen decided to reinvent the traditional CV and portfolio and instead created an informal package aimed at connecting with employers instead of the insides of a recycling bin. 

Her mail-out is designed to grab potential employers' attention from the start

Her deluxe mailer consisted of a 12-page printed portfolio in a tabloid format, along with self-branded business cards and a traditionally formatted CV, all produced to a high quality that she felt was needed to represent herself to design agencies.

The centrepiece of Charlotte's portfolio is a 12-page tabloid

The business cards are 600gsm, printed on Mohawk Superfine stock for a luxury, yet tactile finish. Inside the newspaper is a folded CV, printed on 160gsm white card, while the tabloid itself is 55gsm newsprint, sized at 229 x 280mm, for a full-scale view of her selected projects. 

02. Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones portfolio demonstrates his print experience

With a fairly common name shared with an 80s hair rocker and a British TV host, Stephen Jones needed a portfolio that would demonstrate his skills and resonate with audiences who truly appreciate and admire something beautifully crafted.

The spiral-bound book showcases his university projects

Having worked in print shops ever since he was in high school, Jones was able to test his print production knowledge in creating a die cut and scored package, containing a spiral-bound book showcasing his university work. The effort paid off, getting him an intern post at Chen Design Associates in San Francisco.

Attention to detail is key to this carefully crafted package

03. Dennis Fuentes

Dennis Fuentes sent out his portfolios in custom fabric envelopes

As well as wanting a portfolio to show off his work in a unique, Dennis Fuentes also wanted something that would display his attitude of patience, dedication and craftsmanship when tackling projects.

His portfolio is split into five sections

He tackled this with a handmade self-promo mailer consisting of five machine-stitched booklets covering a different category of work, as well as a printed resume, and then brought everything together in a custom fabric envelope, using iron-on transfers to personalise each one with its recipient's name.

Fuentes used iron-on transfers to customise each fabric envelope

04. TeYosh Studio

TeYosh's MA portfolio demonstrates the studio's two halves

Sofija Stanković and Teodora Stojković make up TeYosh, an animation, concepting and art direction studio in Amsterdam. Having worked together for four years they decided to apply for an MA in design and found themselves having to make a portfolio.

One part is all about brain, and the other is about heart

Realising that Sofija is the brain of TeYosh, while Teodora is its heart, they came up with the idea of creating a 132-page printed portfolio, divided into quite different BRAIN and HEART sections representing each of them. And to finish the package off they added an A3 poster pointing out the third element making up TeYosh: BALLS.

There's an all-important third part, too

05. Lisa Dino

Lisa Dino's portfolio is a gorgeous little package

On its own, Lisa Dino's printed portfolio is an impressive and attention-grabbing piece of work, split into three separate categories: illustration, design, and 3D and packaging, or as she prefers to put it, draw, design and do.

Its three parts focus on her three main skills

The icing on the cake, however, is the self-promo vehicle she designed to go alongside her portfolio. Made entirely out of cardboard and paper, her creative kit consists of 'The tiny book of big ideas', coloured pencils, an eraser, and a sharpener, all of them placed neatly into allocated slots in her cardboard packaging.

This accompanying self-promo vehicle is a brilliant touch

06. ALU

Italian graphic design studio Happycentro created this beautiful handheld portfolio for ALU

Italian graphic design studio Happycentro was behind this beautiful, handcrafted portfolio for modular merchandising systems company ALU. "All their products are mainly made in basic materials like aluminum," comments the team. "We then took inspiration from the material soul of these elements to develop ALU's ID. Starting from this basis, we chose to tell the brand through a series of keywords explaining their values."

The result was this gorgeous book containing illustrations and typography made with paper cuttings. Other pages feature photos, original sketches and moodboards, with a red thread connecting the identity and products through the entire project.

Intricate paper cuttings feature on many pages in this paper portfolio for ALU

Red thread runs throughout the portfolio, connecting the identity and products

07. Nathan Hinz

Nathan Hinz's paper portfolio features window envelopes on each page

US-based graphic designer Nathan Hinz developed this beautiful, handheld portfolio back in the days before everybody went online. Each page is a window envelope, which displays an image and info of a project.

Hinz comments on Behance: "It allowed for a quick overview and served as a rich presentation in one book. It's completely handmade, mostly with found materials, my favorite being the spine made from orange duct tape I have never been able to re-find, sadly."

Hinz created this beautiful design out of found materials

The designer carefully selected his best work and crafted it into these display envelopes

08. Dyla Rosli

Dyla Rosli developed this infographic paper portfolio to assist in her search for work

Dyla Rosli is an intern graphic designer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In order to assist in her search for work, she developed this cool paper, infographic portfolio.

Using matt laminated art paper, Rosli selected her best work and carefully placed images of each into this template, along with illustrations detailing her skills and personal information.

The intern graphic designer carefully selected images of her best work to go into her paper portfolio

Rosil's design folds up neatly into this small CD cover size

09. Emil Kozole

Designer Emil Kozole created this clever printed portfolio to support his CD of work

Working in both print and digital formats, designer Emil Kozole created this printed presentation to support the CD with his work on. Knowing that many discs are overlooked, Kozole made sure the print part of his portfolio stood out.

Covering different areas of expertise, the designer divided the page into different categories and then, using transportation systems as inspiration, illustrated the cover with different coloured lines, with projects being each stop. If lines meet, it means projects fall into more than one category. On the reverse, each project has a photo and description.

Transportation systems provided the inspiration for the cover of Kozole's print portfolio

Emil Kozole's paper portfolio featured a transport system design on one side and project images and details on the other side

10. Another day

This 227-page portfolio features a selection of work from designer Yorick de Vries over a seven-year period

Another day is the graphic design studio of Yorick de Vries. Last year, de Vries created this colourful paper portfolio featuring a selection of his best projects from 2005 to 2012. Printed on three different paper stocks, the book is made up of three parts.

The first features just information, the second showcases project images and the final section covering examples of the designer's custom made typefaces. More like a catalogue than a book, this gorgeous, handbound portfolio is 227 pages of full colour prints. Awesome.

The book is divided into three sections; information, images and type design

The last section of designer Yorick de Vries portfolio features examples of his custom made typefaces

Additional words: Creative Bloq staff

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim McCauley is a writer, editor and occasional podcaster, and is available for space parties.