Design a portfolio magazine using InDesign

Along with a well-presented portfolio, a promotional magazine containing your work can be an invaluable item for any freelance designer or design company. Use it as a way of making a first contact with a prospective employer or client, or as a reminder of your work after a portfolio presentation. It's imperative that this type of item looks great and showcases your work well, because the recipient will regard this as the kind of work you're capable of. Attention to detail is crucial.

Designers are notorious for finding it hard to design these types of items for themselves, so our advice is to treat it as though it were a job for a client, by writing yourself a project brief with objectives, schedules and budgets. This will help you to be more objective about what it is you're producing.

We'll be working with an A2 poster-sized format that folds up into an A5 pamphlet, using a clever cut in the middle of the page. This format enables you to have a large A2 area inside to show off your work, which folds up into a magazine with a front and back A5 cover and three A5 double-page spreads. We'll be preparing the magazine for professional printing, but if you'd rather use an A3 home printer, the format can also be downsized to an A3 which then folds down to an A6 postcard-sized pamphlet.

We create the artwork for our pamphlet using InDesign CS2, because the program allows us great control of text and grid. InDesign files are also fast becoming the preferred choice for printers. Throughout the process of designing this magazine we show you how to create a page and grid, set text, import and arrange images, and touch on how to specify die-cuts, an extra colour and folds.

If you intend to use this magazine as a mailout, the final stage will be to decide on who you send it to. This will vary widely depending on what type of work or job you're going after, but one thing to remember is to always follow up with a telephone call to check if it has been received and whether a face-to-face meeting is possible.

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