Whether you are just breaking into advertising or you are an art director with a decade of experience, you need to demonstrate you are an expert in this field to get a job. You can do this by creating a strong advertising portfolio that highlights your skills and shows prospective clients that you have what it takes to support their business.
So, how can you build an outstanding advertising portfolio? Below we detail the steps to make a portfolio that can help you start your career in advertising. We even included some examples for inspiration. Let’s dive in.
What Is Advertising?
Advertising refers to marketing communication that utilizes targeted messages to promote a service, idea, or product. An advertising expert will use skills and expertise in this field to help business owners promote their products or services. Unlike personal selling, advertising does not customize its message to a specific individual. It focuses on reaching a larger audience.
Advertising takes place through various mass media, including radio, television, direct mail, and new media such as blogs, websites, social media, and text messages. Advertising professionals design ads tailored for their specific channel and targeted towards an audience with specific interests and needs.
Do You Need an Advertising Portfolio?
Yes, you need an advertising portfolio to offer potential clients proof that you can generate results for them if they hire you. Your portfolio showcases your talent and gives potential clients and employers an idea of your level of skill and experience. A strong portfolio will help recruiters and clients make an informed decision about who to hire for their advertising needs.
Advertising creatives need to know how to design creative and attention-getting messages that can attract new users or clients. The best way to prove that you have the advertising skills necessary is to include examples of your best work in a portfolio.
Elements of a Strong Advertising Portfolio
- Theme. To create a strong advertising portfolio, you need to select a theme and use it consistently. You can begin by creating a logo and then choosing a color that reflects your personality to create a professional theme. This will be your brand in your advertising resume, cover letter, and samples.
- Accomplishments. Your dream advertising agency wants to see specific accomplishments in line with their company goals. If you are an aspiring copywriter for magazine ads, include collateral pieces and samples of your writing. You may also give precise explanations of how these accomplishments impacted your career.
- Statistics. Statistics help your employer estimate your accomplishments or results. For instance, you can say you were a content marketing manager, and you implemented certain measures that increased sales by 10 percent in two months. This will help your potential employer trust you more and confirm you can play the creative director role.
- Infographics. Infographics add a creative and professional touch to any portfolio. They help you present results in an easily digestible way. If you’re a graphic designer, you can create an infographic to tell your story or map out the results you’ve gotten for previous clients or in previous roles.
- Advertising samples. Make sure you compile your best ads, whatever format you used, and include them so prospective clients can see your skills in action. If you’re just getting started on your career, you can create some spec pieces to demonstrate your skills, and replace them with real pieces once you’ve worked on a few real-world projects.
How to Make an Advertising Portfolio
So you’re planning to apply for an advertising position but don’t know how to make a portfolio? Don’t worry, below are five steps that will help you build an outstanding portfolio that will prove you have the skills to attract a breadth of clients.
1. Explore Different Portfolio Examples
Before gathering your materials, you need to view other people’s portfolios, especially those from successful experts in the field. Take note of what works and what you like about them. This will help you get ideas to create an excellent portfolio, as well as identify the mistakes you need to avoid.
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2. Choose the Type of Portfolio
Once you have ideas to work with, decide which portfolio you should create. You can create a physical or online portfolio depending on different factors. For example, you can use an online portfolio to apply for a graphic design position with location flexibility. However, if it’s a job in town, you should prepare a physical portfolio as well.
3. Select Your Materials
The third step involves choosing samples in the wide-ranging or targeted category. When selecting your materials, you should ensure you don’t seem inexperienced or overwhelm the hiring manager with too many irrelevant samples. When selecting samples, make sure to pick quality over quantity. A few strong pieces will give better results than a bunch of mediocre ones.
4. Explain each project
After selecting your best samples, make sure you add context and complementary information to accompany each piece. You can print the materials on your physical portfolio or attach them to the website template. Ensure that your resume is well-written and attach it as well.
5. Customize Your Portfolio
Once you complete the draft, check through each element and adjust accordingly. For example, you may add a pocket in your physical portfolio to include a book or pamphlet. If you are using an online portfolio, you can add thumbnails to give a quick overview to potential clients on your previous work. Add details that show your personality and the traits that make you unique.
Advertising Portfolio Examples
Advertising portfolio examples give you ideas and inspire you to make an outstanding portfolio. Breaking into the creative industry can be competitive and challenging, so you want to make sure you highlight your skills. Below are some examples you can explore to create the ideal advertising portfolio.
Paddy Geraghty’s portfolio has amazing adverts for companies like Indeed, Barry’s Tea, NFL, and Guinness. The advertisements are high-quality and crystal clear with great visual elements. In addition, the presentation is simple and well-structured for easy navigation.
Best Parts of Paddy Geraghty’s Advertising Portfolio
- The portfolio has great visuals that are appealing to the audience. This showcases Paddy’s skills and abilities to produce effective ads.
- Paddy Geraghty’s portfolio has numerous samples in print and video form, offering variety to potential clients.
- The portfolio includes various previous advertising roles and contact information.
S. Brandon Burns’s portfolio is easy to navigate and displays ads for different advertising channels, including TV, radio, interactive, and print. It incorporates different samples in each of these, giving a quick overview of each project.
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Best Parts of S. Brandon Burns’s Advertising Portfolio
- S. Brandon Burns’ portfolio is easy to explore. Whether a potential client wants ads for radio, TV, or print, they just need to click on each and find out more.
- The samples are strong and relatable, making them ideal for an advertising portfolio.
- Besides covering all the advertising aspects, S. Brandon Burns provides contact information. This is essential to help potential clients reach you.
This art director offers you an excellent portfolio with innovative ideas, such as adverts on apartments. The samples are listed so the client can select and view them, depending on their needs. Whether the client needs print or video ads, they can check the Poppin and Moschino projects.
Best Parts of Max Palmer’s Advertising Portfolio
- Max Palmer presents a stunning theme by blending colors in the Poppin sample.
- The portfolio also offers ads done by well-recognized brands, making the content relatable.
- The website portfolio allows you to navigate Max Palmer’s skill set, contact info, and Instagram page.
Breauna Abiad’s portfolio has exceptional samples in print, video, and is a great example for advertising students. This copywriter adds samples connected to established brands such as Gucci and Amazon. This can give them an edge over the competition when applying for an advertising job.
Best Parts of Breauna Abiad’s Advertising Portfolio
- The portfolio is easy to navigate and is customized to respond to the client’s needs.
- Breauna Abiad’s portfolio comprises clear and high-quality visuals, appealing to the audience.
- This portfolio has an infographic that gives an overview of Breauna and shows their creativity.
Kevin Mills’ portfolio has a wide range of samples from B2C, B2B, radio, government, automotive, and financial jobs. It combines high-quality videos and print adverts that are visually appealing.
Best Parts of Kevin Mills’ Advertising Portfolio
- The portfolio has numerous samples that show Kevin has vast experience and is the ideal candidate for an advertising job.
- This creative copywriter also includes important information such as contact, resume, and previous work.
- The portfolio includes a CV that shows the skills and past positions of the candidate.
Best Advertising Portfolio Project Ideas
Advertising professionals might find it challenging to create outstanding portfolios, especially when kickstarting their careers. If you still don’t have a lot of great samples to add to your portfolio, here are some project ideas that you can take on to help you out.
- Create a brand guide. Employers are looking for candidates who are able to capture their brand voice and communicate with their target audience. Pick a brand you like and create a brand voice and tone guide. This will show prospective clients that you understand the importance of understanding their brand.
- Create a marketing campaign. Advertising roles involve marketing campaigns. Find an existing product or develop a theoretical one, then create digital and print campaigns for clients. Include Facebook ads, print posters, display banners, and Instagram ads. Add copy and a call to action that gives clear instructions to the audience.
- Create a magazine ad. Magazine ads are one of the oldest forms of advertising. Select a product you love, and create an old-fashioned magazine ad to promote it. Highlight the product benefits and use language that resonates with the target audience. This type of piece will strengthen your portfolio and show you are comfortable with print media as well as web media.
- Create an email funnel. Email advertising is highly popular in marketing and you’ll benefit from including an email funnel in your portfolio. Select a product or service and create a funnel of 5-8 emails. The first few should be devoted to adding value to the customer and creating brand awareness, and the last few should be dedicated to promoting a specific offer.
- Enhance existing ads. Have you worked on an ad that yielded low results? If yes, you need to evaluate it and identify your mistakes. Then create a new advert from scratch while incorporating the right elements, whether visuals, keywords, or theme; you should ensure they are top-quality.
Advertising Portfolio FAQ
The bulk of your portfolio should be your work samples. Additional sections you can add include an about me section, a blog if you have one, and of course, a contact section so prospective clients can reach you if they’re interested in working with you.
Yes, you can add other writing examples as long as they are relevant to your portfolio. For instance, if you wrote an excellent blog, you can copy the link to your portfolio. However, don’t replace your campaigns with writing samples.
Yes, you can get an advertising job or a job as a digital marketer without experience. Nevertheless, you will need to create an outstanding portfolio that showcases your skills and abilities to play the role efficiently.
Yes, to be eligible for the art director internship position, you need to showcase your skills and previous work. So, ensure you prepare a portfolio and submit it along with your resume. Writing a strong internship cover letter will increase your chances of landing the job.
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