How Many Projects Should I Show in My Portfolio?

Question: I am hoping to get a job as a Jr. Art Director. I have a lot of projects and campaigns plus photography and illustration. How much work in my portfolio is too much?

At Portfolio Studio, we usually recommend 5 - 7 projects or campaigns in a portfolio. That is the feedback we get from many agencies as well. According to Kimberly Easley, Recruiter at VML, too much work is clutter. She says that even 4 fully rolled out, great campaigns can be enough to get you a spot for an internship. Then, the interview can do the rest. 

Tani Yasso shows 7 campaigns in her portfolio. She recently began working at Saatchi in LA as a Jr. Art Director.

Tani Yasso shows 7 campaigns in her portfolio. She recently began working at Saatchi in LA as a Jr. Art Director.

Show your process in at least one area and consider creating a short video case-study or two that demonstrates your understanding of the project challenge and effectiveness of your solution. Process is critically important in showing digital and web work too. 

Finally, remember some simple do's and don'ts that have stood the test of time. 

  • Don't let your portfolio get stale. You should update your portfolio continuously
  • Show the absolute best work that you can produce. A smaller portfolio with amazing work trumps a larger portfolio with average work every time. 
  • Know the work that is winning awards. Start your search with competitions and publications that show current, attention-getting work like Archive, One Club, Future Lions and the Webbys

San Diego Portfolio Studio and Portfolio Studio Online help aspiring graphic and web designers, copywriters, art directors and strategists build portfolios for the creative industries. See the impressive student work