When Armin emailed me asking if I would be interested in reading the PDF version of Flaunt for review I said sure. I’ve only read a couple pdf books before but I was curious about the experience of something visual and how it would translate on screen. I did eventually print the whole thing out but in hindsight I probably didn’t need to, though I did accidentally delete my only PDF copy and had to get a second download sent to me. With all that said I think the book is incredibly valuable for people in design school, whether as a first year or someone about to graduate. As I was reading it, I asked myself if I would find value in buying the book as someone that’s been designing for ten years. I tended to flip flop as I read it. The price wasn’t outrageous but as a lot of the examples in book show, they’re portfolios tended to be used in the earlier years of the designers respective careers.
Almost anticipating that question the authors did talk about some of the resistance they received from designers asking if they were interested in participating. I do think they considered that issue of the older design crowd with their survey questions that I found quite helpful. They asked both interviewees and interviewers a number of questions in terms of portfolio, contact and how a meeting might run and what each group was expecting. While some of the stats were hard to follow, their general response dissecting the data was strong. Other parts of the book included seasoned (and somewhat bitter sounding at times) designers responding to a question. While their responses were different at times it did show students that there wasn’t one perfect way to do things. Students tend to be quite impressionable, so to realize that people have different expectations was helpful. The soul of the book though was the examples that designers shared, both with how they made their book, the supplies and visual examples. Some responses were brief, others enlightening while all were pretty honest.
But maybe a sign of the times is how they’re weren’t that many purely digital versions. A couple years from now when there’s a second or third edition I’d be interested to see how things play out. Will the portfolio be as important as their blog, pdf of samples or reputation? Those are all things that most of the case studies missed in this book. As helpful as the book is for those just coming out (and I do think every student should read this book) I don’t know how helpful it would be for those mid career trying to make a jump.
Title: Flaunt: Designing effective, compelling and memorable portfolios of creative work
Authours: Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit