Graphic designers may promote their work using online portfolios and advertising venues like Sortfolio. But what to do when approached by a client whose branding and graphic interests differ from the styles represented in your recent work?
Your client wants to know that you can apply your talent and capabilities to meet their needs. They want to know that as a graphic arts professional, you can communicate to an audience—any audience, in any industry—from rescue puppies to aerospace-shuttle manufacturers.
They want to know if you can transform their vision into a visual brand. You need to illustrate your flexibility, and demonstrate that you can develop ideas and style for the project they have in mind. In short, you must answer their question: “Can you handle this?”
To illustrate that “yes, indeed we can,” we will create an idea book.
This is a quick amalgamation of stock art, fonts, color, and other imagery to give an idea of possible directions we may propose. It’s a good way to float ideas without committing to a specific look, or spending a large amount of time. Here’s a recent example:
Take a look at the example in figure 1. In just a quick glance, an entire story is told through color, the choice of images, and how they all come together to form one overarching design concept. This is the first impression for your prospective client, and it's a good one.
Closer up, be sure to include captions and notes on the various ideas you're presenting, and make it fun by using different fonts or present them as handwritten notes. The style you choose will depend on the subject matter. Personalize it with the client's name, a project title, and don't forget to brand your page with your, or your firm's, name and logo. They may not hire you for this particular job, but something else may come up in the future. You want them to be able to find you again!
Another quick and simple way to show an idea book is to create one on Pinterest. Invite the client to view your page online, or better yet, make a screencap graphic so you can customize it to your liking, especially if you want to emphasize certain items.
While you’re curating this information, don’t forget to include your own PDFs, links to other websites you’ve created, and photos—in short, showcase your creativity. You never know what item may spark their interest and land you the job.