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The Exact Number of Pieces You Should Have In Your Portfolio

2 min read

I'm Jeremy Carson, and this is everything I wish I knew about the advertising and creative industry when I got started. And everything I'm discovering as a Creative Director today.
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This is a quick one, because I want to make it clear. Because this is one of the most important portfolio tips that I can give. One that I hadn't been doing, myself, actually.

I'm often asked, "How many pieces should I have in my portfolio?" And I usually direct that person to my article about that. (Spoiler: about 10-15.) But the truth is, that's not a rule. It's just a guide. A way for you to avoid over-presenting in your portfolio.

The truth is, there's only one rule: be proud of every single piece in your portfolio, as if it were the only piece there. And if you're not, remove it.

Or, as I've been saying recently: your portfolio isn't a warehouse, it's a showroom.

It's Time To Show Off

If there's any place to curate who you are, to make it seem like you're the best version of you that you could possibly be, it's in your portfolio.

Your portfolio isn't a warehouse, it's a showroom.

As a creative, your work speaks for you. Every single piece in your book should be able to represent your skills. Every piece is an elevator pitch of your creativity. Every piece should be able to behave as if it's the only piece a creative director will ever see (because sometimes it is).

Just think of it this way: if a creative director went to your site and the first piece they clicked on was some random project that you weren't ecstatic about, but just put in there because you wanted to fatten up your book, then that would be your first impression.

There are plenty of places to put your work, so that you never lose it. But your portfolio is not one of them.

There Is No Magic Number

The biggest mistake you can make is putting work in your portfolio that you don't really think should be there. People would rather see 5 amazing pieces than 5 amazing ones, 5 okay ones, and 5 that are just there to hit a magic number.

Remember, your portfolio is you, before an agency even knows who you are. Make sure they think you're awesome.

Thanks for reading!

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