Cyrill Kuhlmann is an art director. In the last ten years, he has worked for the magazines NEON & Nido, DB mobil of Deutsche Bahn and BOA, among others, focusing on editorial design. As AD ofCOPE Studio, he has been immersed in the world of creative coding since 2020. in 2021, he also took on a teaching position at FH Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts and teaches digital design.
As a warm-up for our portfolio slams, we asked Cyrill: What does a good portfolio look like? Here are his top 5 tips including some best practice examples from his own portfolio.
P.S.: On 27 March, the Portfolio Slam #4 Game Art will take place in cooperation with PAGE. Be there as a slammer and apply with your portfolio by 17 March. Would you like to be there as an audience member? No problem! Get your ticket here.
1. Create structure
"What I find most important - and this applies to all portfolios - is an orderly and consistent structure. Keep it simple and stupid! Start with a slide with your name on it. Then follow your work - two slides per project, one full-screen (A), one smaller (B). And so you lead through all the work in AB-AB-AB rhythm and close with a short(!) text and a nice, authentic photo of yourself. Keep your portfolio short and crisp with 15 to 30 slides
2. Steam text
"What I'm not particularly interested in are texts. Many people who apply to me write a huge text and tell why my studio is exactly right for them. Including a detailed CV and all references. A good portfolio is much better: not too tabular, not so academic. When people come to theconsultation with their portfolio, I usually advise them to tamp down the texts a lot. For me, it's about getting a feel for the person and their work. What area is the person specified for? How creative and avant-garde is he or she? This is primarily revealed to me visually. Texts should therefore be as short and informative as possible.
3. Make it readable
"I need to be able to read your portfolio on different devices. Sometimes I get great websites that are completely shot on the big screen. That's why your portfolio has to be responsive, i.e. compatible. I'm a big fan of PDF portfolios. I can easily look at them anywhere and click through. As I said, keep it simple!
4. Talk to me directly
"Don't just send a link to your website, but your portfolio as an attachment. Of course, that's not so easy for motion design. Here I would advise: Create a showreel as a subdomain of your website. Limiting the visibility of your portfolio a bit works like a psychological trick for me and gives me a feeling of 'something was personally put on my table here'."
5. Use social media
"Make an Instagram account right away if you don't already have one and post reels! Young designers are being scouted more and more on social media, so it's worth it - especially in motion design. Try to create a circle of people who share your content. Social media is all about being nice to each other, looking left and right and pushing your own stuff."